I remember feeling uncomfortable with my body when I was as young as six years old. I was bigger and taller than my friends. I was bullied relentlessly throughout elementary school; it got so bad that I had to switch schools every year. I was always "dieting." I dreaded sports and didn't learn how to swim because more than anything I feared people noticing how fat I was. I was in a constant state of anxiety and always worried that people wouldn't like me based off how I looked. I felt inferior and ugly and worthless.

I have spent the greater part of my twenty years in this world hating the body that nurtures and houses me because it does not always match up to cultural standards.

It's exhausting. And in my experience, hating my body never led me to actually care for it. I would starve myself so often that I felt more alive when I didn't eat than when I did.

But these days, I no longer see my body as the only vehicle for self-expression and worth. I try not to compare myself. I try to love my body. And this gives me time and mental energy to focus on the things that really matter to me. I do have off days, and sometimes I am exhausted and sad. But I am so much happier than I used to be.

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