Shanghai: The Next Step on our Journey

So there I was, post-Thanksgiving, happily 15 pounds heavier and ready to brave the Christmas season, when I decided, in a moment of temporary insanity, to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show. Or, as my friends and I called it, a Harry Styles concert with random girls walking around in their underpants.

I didn’t watch last year’s show. I was sitting out on account of moral reasons. Maybe I was feeling attacked that these models were wearing underwear that cost more than my college tuition, while I wear control-briefs that come in a pack of 5 at Walmart. Who knows.

Over the past year, I have come so far in my journey to true, real self-acceptance and love for the body that I have, and, while I’ve had some blips along the way, I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of myself.

But sitting there, watching Bella Hadid and her comrades storm the runway, hair-blown out and shiny, faces glowing with excitement, I was honestly questioning it all. Watching these models in their luxurious lingerie strut down the Shanghai runway? I was affected, I tell you.

As I watched these stunning young women, most of whom were my age (or younger), walk past Harry Styles and Miguel, beaming, I was painfully aware of my unwashed hair. And my stomach rolls. And the stretch marks on my thighs.

And I couldn’t stop thinking: these girls are the most beautiful in the world, right? And I don’t look at all like them. I jiggle. Like, a lot. My cellulite has been chilling on the backs of my thighs and my ass since I was about thirteen. I have an irrational fear of waxing (okay, let’s be real, this is a VERY rational fear, people. Hot wax ripping off body hair is a terrifying concept), so my rogue hair situation can get out of control.

Not like these girls. Taut stomachs, endless legs, bouncy hair, and straight, white teeth were making me question the body-positive journey that I’m on. Watching the show, crunching away on my Cheetos and sipping cheap beer, I was distressed.

But, see, that’s okay. I’m not going to write about how “everyone is beautiful in their own way” or how “there is no wrong way to be a woman”. Even though these sentiments are not untrue.

No, what I want to say is that all of that doubt? Those moments of insecurity, where you look at yourself and wonder if you can get past your body hang-ups and keep moving forward? It’s normal.

The road to self-acceptance and true self-love is seemingly never-ending, and we are constantly faced with challenges that test our resolve. But we are women, and we are strong. And every moment of insecurity that we overcome makes us all the stronger. So don’t be ashamed if you’re questioning your progress on the journey: it doesn’t make you weak. It makes you a fighter. And you’ll get past it.

I promise.