I wonder how many times a day I hear the phrase, “I am fat.” Whether I’m saying it or another female in my life is saying it, I hear it far too frequently. The mind frame that our bodies aren’t good enough is literally everywhere in society. It’s a nasty disease that every girl in the USA has fallen ill with. It seems to start the moment we realize our sexuality and continues if unchecked, our entire lives.
I wish I could have cured my “fat illness” a lot sooner than I did. I spent years not eating, until my family noticed I wasn’t eating, and then I started puking after eating, just to keep the calories away. Just because I wanted to be model thin…Just because I wanted to be different. Just because for whatever reason, the way my body was made wasn’t good enough for me. Not only did my physical health go down hill, my mental health took a beating as well and I still struggle to keep it in line.
It took me a LONG time struggling with my self-image before I finally woke up and realized, “What the hell are you doing, Caiti? You are wasting so much time focusing on what your body will never look like that you are losing precious moments in your life.” I never want to be that miserable again. I never want to feel like I’m not good enough because my friend wears two sizes smaller than me. I will NEVER allow myself to feel inferior again because society has plastered a misconception of beauty across our country.
The hardest concept for me to grasp was that true beauty comes from within. It doesn’t matter how skinny I got, how I wore my hair, how clear my skin was, or how tiny my waist size was. If I remained so unhappy with myself that I loathed the person in the mirror, I looked as miserable as I felt. Was there some magical cure that I found to make it all go away? No flipping way. If there were a cure, I’d be popping that happy pill every day. My point is that I discovered who I am on the inside and decided that if I couldn’t love myself, I would never be able to grow as a person and love other people.
I remember points in my life (in the past couple years) when I realized that my mind was starting to re-train the way it thought about my body. One major point was during the first half-marathon I ran. My heart kept telling my head, “Look at what your body can do! Look how hard you can work and the goals you can achieve! This is a beautiful thing!” Another time was when Jake, my husband, took my face in his hands and told me, “I would love you, Caiti Schuler, if you were in any other body. Don’t you get it? I love YOU.” That made a huge impact on my little brain. Another time, just recently, I looked in the mirror at my ever-changing pregnant body and realized, “I can’t believe my body is capable of GROWING another human being. It’s just adapting like crazy and I am still able to function at an incredibly efficient rate! How awesome is my body???”
I still have days when the fat illness creeps up my back and makes feel like I’m an inadequate, pathetic excuse for a member of society. I still have to fight the thoughts that tell me I need to be a little bit skinnier to be pretty. But with every passing year I grow up a little more, and I realize to take those days for what they are: bad days, and then let them go. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a brand new day, with no mistakes in it. It never fails. I want to celebrate my body for what it can DO, not how it can look. I want to give hope to the girls who have grown up feeling the way I have because I know that there is a better way to live. I want to give back to this community of women I live with by saying, “Your body is beautiful for the way it was made and the amazing feats it is capable of doing.” Join me in celebrating our bodies for the beautiful things they are today. There are too few women who don’t realize what a gift they truly possess.