Aerie sports bra and ribbed pants
Learning to love one’s own body unconditionally might be the hardest task of all, especially as a woman in today’s digital age, where we are force fed images of perfection on a daily basis. It’s a hard routine to escape. I do work both in social media and in fashion, so it’s inevitable that it’s imprint leaves a mark on me. A mark that I used to have to fight with all my might on the daily to keep from overcoming my confidence and self worth. The fight is now unconscious now, and it took the training of my brain to realize and understand that there is more beauty in me than other aspects than just the way my body looks. I’m more interested nowadays in the way my body feels. And when it starts to feel good, I realize that it looks good, too. There really is truth in the saying that beauty comes from within.
I want this post to correlate with Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which kicked off yesterday. Yesterday was also the kick off of a project I was a part of with PROJECT HEAL‘s #WhatMakesMeBeautiful campaign that celebrates body diversity and a healthy and positive body outlook. It’s a campaign that I strongly believe in because it’s working to promote an ideology that I have spent years trying to fully embrace, and I support any project that acts as a platform for women with the same struggles to share their stories with each other. I experienced a very low amount of self confidence with my body as a teenager, as a result from dipping into modeling at the age of 15 in Los Angeles. I went to NYC to meet with agencies, only to face rejection after rejection . . . “you’re too young looking” . . . “you’re too flat chested” . . . “you’re too Asian” . . . “you’re not Asian looking enough” . . . “you’re too thin” . . . “you’re actually not skinny enough”. I heard more than a 15 year old girl could take at the time and none were positive. Over time, it led to an eating disorder that took over much more than just my eating habits. It’s affected my relationships with my family and friends, my school work and my overall attitude towards life. I was hungry all the time, but I thrived off the feeling. It was like a goal to complete by the end of the day. I was perpetually exhausted and dehydrated . . . everything seemed harder to complete, but I kept at it because I didn’t know how to stop. My social life went down the drain because going out and hanging with friends meant not sticking to my routine. I lost my true self throughout it all. I was perpetually striving for a sort of perfection that just was not healthy nor attainable in a way that could ever truly make me happy.
It took a good year for my mind, and my body, to realize the abuse it was receiving. But my body wasn’t the only one taking the toll. I was also affecting the ones I loved around me. I realized that their pain was taking its toll on me the most, and it hurt me to watch them watch me go through something that they and myself felt was completely and totally out of control. It just hit me one day, and I dedicated my time to getting better and focusing on other things that I were passionate about. Slowly things got better. I decided to focus on school and writing more. I made a shift on my daily outlook in regards to food until it didn’t seem scary anymore. Once I started getting back to a healthy weight, I fell in love with the subtle curves my body created. I felt like a woman and it felt amazing. I experienced my first young love with my first real relationship, and even though it didn’t last too long, it kick started a whole new outlook on life. I also strived to get healthy to get my body ready for a major back surgery for my scoliosis (you can see the scar on my spine . . . my symbol of strength). My body needed it’s strength back, and that was when I understood how important that is. My body was capable of so many better things when it felt healthy. There were so many beautiful and exciting things to experience. There was no need and there was no time to keep obsessing about my body. It just took a major hump for me to experience to come to this realization. The hump was worth it, because there will be no going back for me. No regrets because I know that the same mistake will never be made again.
I wanted to share my little story and spread the meaning behind the #WhatMakesMeBeautiful campaign because I think it is so important. It’s easy for us women to forget that we were all born beautiful and strong and independent. If we keep believing this, it will continue to blossom and grow even grander. Our bodies are the mechanical foundations of the endless amount of amazing things we are capable of conjuring up and creating. Treating our bodies and minds with love is the most beautiful thing we can do for ourselves. This post is for all the women out there with negative body images and low self confidence. There is a way to recovery and it starts with talking to someone about it who understands and will support the process. Check out PROJECT HEAL and become a part of it 🙂