Writing by Lani Shinkarsky // Photograph by Stephanie Massaro
You are a majestic Unicorn. And don’t let anyone else, let alone yourself, tell you otherwise.
If there is one thing about my teenage years that I regret the most, it wouldn’t be going to that party that mum told me I shouldn’t go to, or not studying for an exam as much as I should have (although both of those things I could have done much better). My biggest regret would be spending so many of my teenage years counting calories, scrutinising myself in front of the mirror, and allowing negative thoughts to invade my mind and my life to a point I was scared I wouldn’t be able to escape.
I am one of the lucky ones, who had amazing family and friends to help fill my mind with positive words, when my own mind was doing the complete opposite. If there is one thing that I could of told my 16 year old self, it’s that when I look back at the years that have passed, I will realise that I was truly unhappiest when I weighed the least, and that no number on a scale should ever determine the amount of joy and happiness I allow into my life.
A few years on, I can now say that I do love my body. I have two legs that take me to all the hidden corners of the earth, I have two arms that allow me to hold close those I love, I have two eyes that allow me to see the beauty of the world, I have two ears that let me listen to my favourite songs and I have one heart that pumps blood through my body and fills me with life and love. My body does everything it is suppose to do, and I cannot love it enough for that.
I think it is often easy to lose oneself in the search for ‘the perfect body’, and while not denying that everyone wants to feel beautiful, I do think it is up to us to determine what exactly society deems as ‘beautiful.’ Nothing good stems from hate, and hating your body will never do any good to it, nor will it ever amount to anything ‘beautiful.’ It is when you love yourself, give your body the food and nutrients it needs, and fill your mind with positivity that true beauty can shine through.
The change starts here, and it starts with us. No longer are the days when we would allow people to compliment us by putting down someone else; that is a competition none of us signed up for. No longer are the days of self-hate in the hope for happiness; it will never come that way. No longer are the days of skipped meals and turning taps on to drown out the sound; trust me when I say that does much, much more harm to your body than good. Now is the time of friends supporting friends with words of positivity. Now is the time of self-love, and self-acceptance. Now is the time that we come together and deny what the media is feeding us and create our own standards of beauty.[share]