Leigha is a married mother of two young girls and a Toronto blogger. To read more from Leigha, you can check it out here WWW.LIVINGLAVIDALEIGHA.COM
Never enough....that phrase haunted me everyday as I tortured myself with these thoughts. Every mirror I passed felt like heartbreak at such a young age. I was only ten years old and I started feeling so awful about my body image. I have always been very short and skinny and the fact that I was small, had me always feeling inferior to all the kids towering over me. I always felt like this trait was such a curse. Then puberty hit and I felt like I missed the train for that one. The difference between the other girls and I was drastic and I just couldn't cope feeling so different. Magazines, tv shows and movie stars all had women on a pedestal that were perfection in every sense of the word. Everything I felt I wasn't. My self esteem was low and it was beginning to affect me deeply.
Grade nine finally came and entering high school was like entering yourself into a popularity contest that you had no chance at winning. It felt like Every guy judged you openly and spoke candidly about the other girls and their assets and also the females who lacked the same qualities. The daily critiques would stick in my brain and I would go home everyday psychoanalyzing myself. It was becoming unhealthy to have this hate overwhelming me everyday.
By about grade 11 or 12 I learned how to do my makeup and dress a bit more feminine and I was great at doing my hair. I started getting tons of compliments but in my head I could never accept them. I kept thinking everyone is lying to me or they are just being nice because they're my friends. I still hated my image and people started to notice how awkward I would get when they would try to compliment me. I could never just say thank you, I would always say “no no I am definitely not beautiful but thank you for trying to be nice”. People would get frustrated with me and not understand why I acted so strange about such a nice compliment.
I stayed in a very abusive relationship from the age of 15 to 19 all because I was so insecure and I felt that no one else would love me. He would call me awful things and tell me I was not beautiful and that he was embarrassed of me. I agreed with him every time and even sickly appreciated his honesty. It wasn't until I went to college that I got the strength to break up with him and finally start a journey to loving myself. It was incredibly hard to let myself feel good about my body image but I knew this body was one that God gave me, it functions, I'm healthy and other people do not have that luxury. I started feeling so mad at myself for spending years hating a body that lived and worked for me. This body was perfect, it has never failed me and here I was hating it. It was so wrong. I started appreciating that I could get up and walk out of the house and live everyday. I stopped focusing on image and what others thought of me. I started realizing that me hating myself and hating my looks was a waste of time. On the other hand, me loving myself benefited everyone because I was genuinely a happier person and that made me so beautiful in everyone's eyes, especially in my own. I will never again live that way, because that was no way to live.
We are all beautiful because we each have a light in us that we can choose to shine on others. Beauty is overrated and I hope that body dysmorphic disorder becomes a thing of the past. It deserves to be addressed and put in its place. Young girls need to be taught that photoshop does wonders and that in reality no woman is perfect. Pictures lie, make up artists are talented and padded bras and plastic surgery are on the rise. Love every inch of your true authentic self and focus on living your life both mentally and physically healthy and happy!
By Leigha Benson