I wish I had grown up with such an inspiring perspective on life: giving zero fucks about what people think. I’ve always felt restricted from doing stuff where people were going to watch: sports, dance, school plays. I even hated reading aloud in class. All those eyes on me. Yikes!

Growing into a woman, I failed to see this empowering perspective. Being chubby and being ridiculed for it for most of my younger years — up until freshman year in high school — not only made me want to “lay low,” it also led me to “aim low” and pursue the guy who, most likely, nobody wanted to be bothered with. I didn’t go for creeps or ugly dudes, I just went for the freaks and the misunderstood. I set my sight onto people who were emotionally challenged and had little experience with girls. Ya know, the dark, mysterious, brooding type; the kind of guy that I could “fix” and show him the beauty in life; someone I could share the experience of not, typically, being liked.

When my uncle would come for visits, he’d bring my brother, his Godson, a present, but never anything for me. I always wondered why don’t I get something? I assumed that I didn’t receive any gifts because I was a chunkster. And, if my uncle felt that way, surely everybody else did.

The thing is, I really wasn’t that fat. Chubby, yes. But obese or “oh shit, look at that fat little girl,” no. But it’s something that still sticks with me. So many girls and women experience this feeling and have that morphed view of themselves in the mirror. Some of us are willingly fed the colossal bullshit drilled into our heads, from every billboard and magazine cover, that we should look some certain way.

Man, fuck that!

Yet, even I am guilty of buying the bullshit sometimes. I complain about my thighs, my varicose veins, my loosening skin; I hate the feeling of the back fat from my bra; my arms need to be toner, my ass a little higher. It’s all so stupid. With the exception of being healthy and staying fit, the rest of these concerns seem to be a waste of time because, well, we’re lucky to be alive, really.

I’m lucky enough to have legs that are capable: I can walk, and run and skip and jump. I’m lucky enough to have arms to write, to lift my child, and to hug my loves. I’ve got a heart that beats, pumping my blood, and keeping me alive. I’ve got a family that loves me endlessly. These are the things that always help me shift gears in my head: I am perfectly fine and shit ain’t so bad. I don’t need any validation from a man, the man, or anyone.

But for a while, I did. I wanted a guy’s approval. Deep down, way below the feminist in me, there were all of those Daddy-issues: I wanted to feel liked by someone of the male sex. I wanted this imaginary guy to think that I was alright, that I was cool, man.

(Gif courtesy of Phadrus from http://www.imgur.com)