My name is Fanchon. I’m 17 years old and I am at a constant battle with what society tells me I should be doing and being at this point in my life and where I feel I should be. While the adults in my environment are stressing the importance of selling our souls to gain admittance to an expensive 4-year university and locking ourselves into any number of unfulfilling and/or unpromising careers before we are legally old enough to use a deli-meat slicer, I am worried more about my immediate and future happiness. Happiness comes from many things. The people around you, your experiences, that bird that eats cheetos out of your palm when you sit still enough in your front yard. Most importantly, happiness ought to come from yourself and that’s the hard part.
That is the issue I am having at the moment. My societal battle not only lies in academics, but as well as many other women both young and old, within my image. I’m not “fat”, whatever that word really means. I’m thick. No, really! I am quite short (5’1”) and I weigh 140lbs. I’m not shy about that. I have awkward proportions. That generally is the leader of my insecurities. I can literally buy my bras at Justice for girls. I don’t, but I could… I wear small shirts. Pants are a different story. I have a double-wide butt with thunder thighs for support and a hip measurement wider than my shoulders. My calves are large. My feet are even wide. Most designers don’t even cater to my body type. That causes me to be incredibly discouraged when shopping, as NOTHING seems to fit.
I live in Florida. Everybody here is naked. Well, not really. But you do see a lot more skin here than in many other states. It has taken me a long time to come to semi-terms with my body. I haven’t done much in the ways of dieting, I’ll admit. I’m also lazy. As I go to the beach, I see women who I wish I looked like. Bodies who are toned, tan… “Skinny”. I have to tell myself over and over that I am thin for what my body type is, but it never really helps. I end up covering up my stomach and complaining to my friends/boyfriend/parents/boyfriends parents/my dog that I will never look like those girls.
Well it’s time to STOP. One of the biggest things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, though I’m still very young, is that as you age, nobody really cares. Who’s fat, who’s skinny, who’s got dentures. Nobody honestly cares. If somebody says something negative about you, just know they’re going to say it again. And they’re going to say it about somebody else. You can’t change that. You can only be you. Be beautiful you, no matter who you are.
But still, the more I come into this thinking, the more I realize: If I’m going to pick superficial things to dislike about myself, they better be important and something I will care about in 10 years. My thought is that if you aren’t going to care in 10 years, don’t stress about it now. Because in 10 years, you’ll probably care about the frown lines you’ve given yourself and then you’ll stress some more. It’s a big, weird circle.
I’ve picked health. I eat like crap. I drink a LOT of coffee. I don’t drink enough water. And I stopped exercising when I quit Colorguard (though my leave is temporary, I won’t be marching for another few months) and I need to keep myself in shape! Not for my boyfriend, not for my friends, not for my parents, not for my bank account which is constantly being drained for pointless junk like boiled peanuts, but for myself. Though I’m sure those people will appreciate it too.
I’m going to start taking care of myself now. While I still have my chance. That means exercising, eating healthier, and encouraging the people around me to do the same (unless they don’t want to, I’m not the type to push people to do things they don’t want to do.) Maybe through getting healthier I will find the image of myself that makes me happy and that I end up really liking. I’m hopeful.
Hello, 2014. Hello, a healthier me!