This started out as a quick twitter rant. I was going through old photos with my best friend, all in the hopes of finding a single photo for a specific memory. It is in this process that the demons came out to play. I found myself looking over lost friends, distant memories, and a version of myself that I did not recognize.

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14.

As my friend and I put together, this was a time when we simply weren’t ourselves. Here, at 14, I was surrounded by friends with a resistance to eating, the pursuit of a model figure, and crazily fluctuating metabolisms through puberty. Granted, we were exercising constantly (forced), but there was something else at play. If I float back to my mindset here, I truly believed I was obese. I did not see myself in the mirror as I am watching my younger self now. My arms and legs were tree trunks, my torso a whale’s head. I can’t help but think it was the influences around us, and specifically the people I kept around, that caused this mental framework. But I’m in no rush to blame anyone..

15.

These same thoughts ran with me through my high school years. As “posing” as my nature has seemed to friends and family all this time, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. Somebody was always telling me something or showing me something that made me feel inadequate. At most, I weighed around 120 lbs, and this was not enough. I always wanted to be smaller, daintier — more beautiful.

16 – 17

Fast forward through my senior years. Oddly enough, I got even smaller, or filled out where I wanted to.

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I can actually recall on the night that the picture on the right was taken, one of my closest friends (ABOVE, HI HAYLEY) said “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GIRL THINKS SHE’S A WHALE? WHERE?” and I giggled. Humorous, but discomforted. This was actually when I felt my LARGEST. In hindsight, my arms were toned as were my legs, I was running every day, my chest was an ideal size, my hair was long… you name it, I didn’t feel or see it. I was at a place of constant nitpicking at myself — again, a lot of which I can attribute to my social environment. An emotionally toxic relationship caused a spike here, and after, and so you will begin to see a change that I also never noticed — until it was too far gone.

18 – 19

Years I + II of university where I found myself at my peak of depression and anxiety. A lot of emotional and physical changes happened here, and where it happened internally I can now begin to see it physically. I stopped caring, and my body reflected it. My friend groups cycled hectically and I would gain and lose them as if my life had a revolving door. Cellulite, food binges, and drinking without regard took a toll that I tried to blame on everything else. However, while I acknowledge we make our own decisions and choices and reap the consequences, you have to wonder why those that love and support you around you stood by?

This brings us to the present.

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20

 

So what’s my point?

I am surrounded by what I believe to finally be pure love, honesty, and the goodness of the world. I have accepted so much about myself, and where I can grow from here and it is COMPLETELY due to the support system that I have built, rebuilt, and renovated for what I hope is a final time. I know that I can get back to where I was, but I am also becoming happy in the skin that I am in. It is nowhere near I was, and potentially never will be. But I am who I am today, and who I am is more than good enough for the world.

We are all a flux and flow of emotions, ideas, and intricacies that the universe isn’t ready to explain yet. You are perfect in your own existence and I cannot stress that enough.

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21

This is a lesson.

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22

Be mindful of those you keep around you, as they are a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Be aware that it is rare for others to truly want better for you than themselves and they WILL step on you to get what they want. Greater perspective and positive influences are E S S E N T I A L to your well-being. The effects of toxicity and negative energy (and people) are devastating to your mind, body, and soul. Please take this as a lesson of experience from my life, and as a caution for your current state:

I have taken a solid look around me lately, have you?

Spring cleaning is right around the corner. If you don’t have the supplies, I’d be happy to lend a hand, and remember that it is never too early or too late to get started.

* a special thank you to my newest friends, particularly my work friends. I have become so close with many of you and it has made my life more positive in so many ways. I love you! *

* To all reading: don’t take it personally if there isn’t a photo of you. this isn’t about you. this is about positive healing for all, and what it means to take care of YOURSELF. your vibe attracts your tribe n’ all that~ *

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