I’ll never forget the feeling when my crush in my Spanish class my sophomore year of high school said.
“Wow, your friends are all so hot. Why do you hang out with them?”
I’ll never forget the feeling when I sped down Vista Del Mar, tears streaming down my face, because my dad told me I should exercise more.
That was the only comment he had ever made about my weight.
Countless times I’d cry in bars because guys that I found attractive sat down next to my friends and offered to buy them drinks.
There were so many times when my drunk self would blame them.
Tequila would definitely tell me I’m right. The next morning when my messages would pour out apologies, I immediately knew I was wrong.
My friends are loyal, as well as ridiculously fun. They knew how to separate drunk, insecure Kayla, from the seemingly confident secure sober Kayla.
That’s where some people just don’t understand. Some can’t grasp multi-faceted feelings.
This dichotomy over:
“Wow, I am so cute. I don’t care how I look. Guys should like me for me.”
With 16-year-old minded me, “I look terrible in all these pictures from Costa Rica. I’m going to delete all of them.”
Looking back at the Costa Rica pictures that were remaining, I looked beautiful.
You are the world’s worst critic.
When you look at other people’s Instagram photos, wow, they’re super models, gorgeous, amazing. You look at your own and you see a glimpse into your own insecurities. It’s never reality.
But for me, it was a reality when my health began to decline. My mental health told me I wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t skinny enough.
I complained and stirred up commotion in my house before Halloween because the tight skirt I wanted to wear didn’t look good on me.
Clearly, I didn’t want to be complacent about how I looked. So, I needed to find a way to lose weight.
One day, I ate a biscotti in the waiting room as a snack, waiting to see the doctor because I felt woozy at work. It turned out to be vertigo. But the doctor also added in the fun fact I had pre-diabetes. It turned into diabetes 2, that turned into potentially having diabetes 1, that turned into no diabetes at all.
I’m still a lab rat. It’s still undetermined.
Now, I eat fruit for a snack, or a yogurt, or a granola bar.
I’ve learned that eating well is not just a ploy to be skinny. It’s a ploy to be healthy. It’s a method of survival.
Accepting your body, now that was another hurdle I had to face.
I began to work out and gaze at my body in the mirror. I found the more confident I became in these exercises the more confident I became in my own skin.
We are always more than the sum of our parts.
Our personality can still shine through.
But health should always come first. In this corona time, it’s especially important. Eating well, exercising, and allowing yourself to have a cheat once in a while, is integral to a healthy mind.
Now, I feel like all those critics in high school were just insecure boys + my anxiety + complacency + not feeling safe in my skin.
There’s so much to the equation.
Feeling safe in your skin begins and ends with health. Drinking less, stretching more, breathing more, feeling more, and becoming a better version of you.
Sometimes the weight on your shoulders doesn’t feel as heavy if you simply accept the situation and strive to change it.