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Body Image – Voices

“It’s important for people to feel confident in their own body, but be careful of not being hyper focused on it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.”
Boston, MA
I love my eyebrows! They make me feel powerful, which is something I think I need because other parts of my body do not make me feel powerful, like my arms.

Especially when I was growing up, I thought my arms were too skinny, like twigs. It was great because I was a dancer, so I was supposed to be small, but it got to the point where people would ask me if I was eating enough and were constantly checking in about my weight and commenting on how I looked like a stick.

That started to get really tough to deal with because it made me very conscious of avoiding eating disorders. It was also difficult when people were checking on me because I would get angry or defensive, saying, ‘I know I’m healthy, it just doesn’t look like it because I dance so much and work so much, so I am naturally this way.’

I also started to feel guilty because in the dance world I have seen my fair share of eating disorders. I see the same thing in the media—all these dancers who have to try to watch their weight. And I see TV shows where the dancers are in the bathroom puking up their meals because they need to look a certain way.

I think I’ve been able to cope with body image issues by making sure that I know what I am eating and keeping an eye on being healthy. If I have a less healthy day, I counteract that by thinking ‘how can I make this healthier’ the next day.

I notice that if I stop dancing for a while, that’s when I feel worse about my body because I’m not moving as much, so I start gaining weight and then I get scared, not as much because I look fat but more of ‘oh no, I’m not healthy.’

For me, it’s about finding that balance of exercise, diet, and just accepting my body for what it is. It does whatever it wants, and I can help guide it, but I can’t micromanage it.

It’s important for people to feel confident in their own body, but be careful of not being hyper focused on it. Growing up, worrying about it so much didn’t make a difference. In the end, it just had a greater effect on my mental health and became stressful and tiring to constantly think about.

Not putting as much pressure on yourself is some advice I would give. Go out there and find the things that make you happy about yourself. Like I love my eyebrows and I’m proud of my eyebrows, and yeah, that’s a really small part of me, but if I can focus on that, that’s great.

Recognize there are parts you do like and parts you don’t like, and love yourself despite the things you don’t like. I recognize that some days, I’m not as happy with my stomach or my legs, but I remember that it’s all getting there. As long as I’m eating healthy and exercising and taking care of myself, it’s okay.

I think everyone is going through something different and has a different view of what the ideal body image is, so find what you want to do for yourself and don’t let others define what your image should be because we all have different bodies.

We’re all born with different bodies off the bat, so we all require different things to maintain those bodies.

It’s okay to not feel okay every day. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be happy with how you look at all times because we’re constantly changing and improving ourselves just by going through life.

Just remember we’re all on different paths and we will all get there in the end. Do what makes you happy and love yourself!

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