Life Over Looks: A Journey Beyond the Mirror
Standing in front of the mirror, I sighed heavily. With slumped shoulders, I said, "You're disgusting" and then I started to cry, as if someone had just been incredibly cruel to me. Because someone had been incredibly cruel to me. We can be our own best ally or our own resident villain. Our relationship with ourselves shapes how we experience this world and for years, I waged a war on my body. Growing up with friends who were classically "small and pretty" and with certain family members who placed importance on women’s looks, I learned that my tall and heavy-set stature was different but not in the "right way". By 20, I would grow to be 6'1.5", a size that I was uncomfortable with at the time.
It wasn’t until I was 27, that I realized I was sick of making myself cry, of repeating the hurts and shames that had been brought into my life, and of acting the very same way that my external bullies had treated me in the past. I didn't know what I could do in order to change things, but I knew something had to be done. I wanted to break free from the false beliefs I held about weight, and from the comments I had listened to over the years about the "perfect woman". I no longer wanted to slump as I passed a mirror, or stand in a contorted position to look smaller next to friends. I no longer wanted to assume that I was unworthy of being loved. I wanted to see myself as I was, and truly ACCEPT and LOVE myself. I knew I wanted to be happy and I knew I was not going to get there by focusing on scales and numbers and body parts. Instead I had to focus on the person inside and acknowledge all that that person was capable of.
This is how my @HonorCurves Instagram account began. I discovered a beautiful and amazing online community of body-positive people of all different shapes and sizes, cultures and backgrounds, living all over the world. These people were posting photos of themselves looking happy and feeling GOOD. I was so inspired. They taught me that there are many ways to be beautiful. I started recognizing the negative media images that I had been looking at, the negative friendships I was maintaining, the negative behaviours I was engaging in, and their connection to my body-shaming. I was immersed in a cycle of self-doubt and self-hatred because I was practicing a way of life that constantly incorporated negativity.
When we start to move beyond our appearances, and place focus on the joy we can find in the day-to-day, life opens up for us. We are here to enjoy laughter, to enjoy playing, to enjoy things as simple as taking a deep breath. We take these things for granted when we plant ourselves in front of the mirror to examine, prod, and poke. The #HonorMyCurves community has taught me that, in those moments trapped at the mirror, we are not living. Each and every beautiful and vulnerable soul who has posted their expressions of self-love has helped me see those parts of myself that I had once rejected, as beautiful and acceptable.
My journey to self-acceptance also led to my second online movement, #HealthOnMyTerms. It's a space where individuals can share behaviours that are healthy for them, whether that's a nap or a cookie or a workout. I am not about strict routines; I am all about taking the path that is right for you. When we concentrate on what we want to do in life, rather than how we want our body to look in life, the real answers start to come. This will lead to a more authentic form of happiness than fitting into a certain pant size ever will.
So, how can we start?
1. Cut out negative media sources (like, really cut them out)
2. Distance yourself from negative relationships in your life. (This one can be very tricky, hard, and sad, but it is one of the most important steps)
3. Try a new activity that feels good to you. For me, it was hot yoga. For someone else it may be drinking tea and sitting on a park bench. Explore and find that thing that creates peace in your soul.
4. Be kind to others. This is one of the fastest ways to feeling a sense of love within ourselves.
5. Find positive role models. This could be a friend, family member, coworker or social media personality. This is one of the best ways to stay on the self-love course.
Love you now! Don't wait until tomorrow. Don't waste more time frowning in the mirror when you could be smiling. There is life beyond the scale, beyond the diet, beyond the mirror. That is how I have learned to #HonorMyCurves.
Honor Curves is a proud Canadian who earned her Bachelor's Degree in General Management and specializes in Communications. She is a Self-Love Advocate, focused on body positivity, self-kindness, and anti-bullying, who spreads good vibes to over 104,000 people via her Instagram account: www.instagram.com/honorcurves. Honor firmly believes that by sharing our stories, within a safe and loving community, we move closer to love and further beyond the things that have damaged us. She is honoured to be a part of that sharing.