A Story about my body & me
BY HANNAH REVELLO
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENISE SCHRAUDER
January 08, 2021
Writing this is not easy for me. But I’ll try anyways.
It all started when I was about 10 years old and in 4th grade. I started seeing my body as something more than just a body. My boobs were getting bigger than the ones of the other girls and I remember them talking about it. I remember them being happy about it. But I wasn’t so happy about it. Why? I cannot really say. But that was the very first moment when my body became more than just a body. My outer appearance became more and more important. Puberty started, my body changed. And that was sure something very scary for me. When I turned 13 I was not happy about how my body looked like. Because of it growing and developing curves, I felt unproportional. Especially my legs bothered me a lot.
Even though I was very thin, I still felt like my legs were too thick. I did not like the shape of my hip and my legs. I did not like my belly, neither did I like my breasts. The boys and girls in my class were talking about my boobs and calling me a ‚slut‘ for having bigger boobs. The boys probably liked it and the girls were somehow jealous. But I felt so bad at this time, I even googled for breast reduction surgery. Not knowing that my body was 100% fine and just changing.
Over the time my body-image issues remained. A constant problem for me at this time: my thighs. I remember myself, standing in front of the mirror, holding onto the back of my thighs so they would appear thinner. This was how I wanted to look like, how I wanted to be.
Social media slowly found its way into my life. And with it came the constant comparison to skinny and pretty girls on Instagram. That surely sounds very cliché, but I know now, that it had a huge impact on my body-image. I wanted to be thinner, to have a thigh gap. I thought I would be happy if I just looked prettier. Well, it took some years to realize that some people simply cannot reach some beauty-standards because their body might be built different and it would not make me happy to constantly try to be like somebody else.
Around the age of 15, I was more satisfied with my own body. I cannot really say how this happened but in general I started to understand that I was unique and my body was just built this way. Nevertheless, I started having huge problems with my mental health. My fear of losing a loved one was irrational, still a reality for me. I feared losing my family, my friends and my then boyfriend. This anxiety was a battle for me, which I constantly fought in. I lost myself in this relationship. Making my worth depend on the love I get from my partner. And I can tell you, when it came to the end of my very first relationship, my self-worth was basically non-existent. I punished myself by not eating. I did not even do this because I did not like my body or anything. This was very subconscious. I simply had no appetite and no energy to get up and eat something. I also started having problems with my stomach. I suffered severe cramps and other problems. My weight dropped. I could not keep up with sport, I was constantly cold and in a bad mood. This was probably the worst period in my life (for now haha).
But I recovered, I pulled myself out of this dark hole. Achieving this was not easy and it definitely took its time. But with the help of my therapist, my parents and my very supporting friends I found my way back. I reinvented myself, found reasons to love my body and myself. I found out, how easy your life becomes if you are patient with yourself and how happy you become when you accept yourself, no matter how bad your day, your week, or maybe your month might be.
Still, at 19 years old I am not always happy about my body. I have problems with perceiving my body. I honestly cannot tell you if I am pretty or not. I just can’t. Being pretty is a constantly changing concept, influenced by the people you spend time with, the movies you watch, the Instagram pages you follow. And as these things are changing in my life, so is my body-image changing. Just as everyone I have times in my life when I just don’t feel enough. Everyone appears prettier than me, worthier than me. But what is it, that makes me feel unworthy, just because I don’t have the same characteristics of this girl I just found on Instagram? She can be pretty, I can be pretty. Sounds so easy.
Nevertheless, I still measure my worth by comparing myself to others, to beauty-standards. And then I have times, when I simply don’t care. Just as simple as that. And sometimes I even feel like the prettiest girl on world. All of these feelings are normal, all of these will come and go, probably my whole life long.
But you know what is far more important?
What your body does for you. Think about it, your body makes you breathe, run, cook, dance, think, laugh, kiss and so much more. Your body keeps you alive. And how do I thank my body for doing all this for me? By constantly treating it badly, just because I might not think that my body looks pretty enough. This can’t be it. I only have this body for my whole life, regardless of how it looks. I should start thanking my body more. Starting now.
Thank you for keeping me alive. I will love you because I love myself.