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Your Voice, Your Choice

Lately, I've come to find out one very important fact about myself:

I am NOT indecisive.

I know, I know. This coming from the same person who stands in the make up aisle deciding on "Pink Blush" or "Pink Paradise" for a solid ten minutes before moving on to a completely different set of two. Or three. Or four. This coming from the same person who rounds up money from recycling just so she doesn't have to choose between those two pairs of sunglasses at the mall. This from the same person who always scoured the ENTIRE rack of stuffed animals as a child to see which one had the "cutest face" and to ensure she saw all of her options. The truth is, I've never been the best decision maker. On the big things, I've had very little issue. I leaped at different auditions, opportunities, college, high school...but when it came down to my everyday life, and decisions that really were entirely my own, my backbone was about as sturdy as an overcooked asparagus.

Growing up, I never thought it would be a problem. Sure, I always have to double check that something is okay, suitable, or satisfactory to the most amount of people, but what of it? That's where My problems really began. I quickly stopped listening to my voice altogether. First in little decisions, then in ideals. My impressionable mind became a playing ground for an eating disorder to begin instilling in me the opinions, beliefs, and ideals that would lead me to what I was told would be my best chance at happiness. Slowly, I started to realize that it wast that I couldn't make a decision on my own, it was that I placed absolutely no power in my own opinion. I gave it no attention. Sometimes, I still struggle to listen to my own voice because I've been conditioned to believe that it doesn't have weight and it doesn't make a difference no matter how hard I try. Let me give you some of the real-life examples of things that started to get pounded in my head by Ed at age 13 and reinforced by the media:

"I only feel pretty when I'm hungry"

"Only skinny girls are beautiful"

"There's something wrong with me that makes me less lovable by nature"

"If I were thinner, I'd be happier"

"I can't be happy when I look like this"

"I'd rather be starving than fat"

"I will never be enough for anyone"

Completely bonkers, right? Well, back when I wasn't using my own voice to decide how I felt about these things, my sustainability as a human being was dependent on these phrases, which I held to be fundamental truths. That is a sad, sad reality for many people, whether you have struggled, are struggling, or have never struggled with an eating disorder. So why don't we question these ideals more? You can look around a room and notice how different everyone looks. That's proof right there that you can be happy at any size cause while about 91% of women in the U.S. dislike their appearance, there ARE many who have found total peace with themselves and are bigger or smaller than you. So why? Why is it so hard for us to unhinge from these toxic beliefs that we store in our subconscious?

First off, humans are social animals. We more or less crave companionship, love, and acceptance. The problem is, as a society, we've ventured in to mostly going about obtaining those things through external means. Because we've been conditioned to think that that's exactly how we receive those things. Take the word "skinny" for example. In reality, fat and skinny are just descriptors. But in our culture, media romanticization creates an invisible but very powerful line between the word "skinny" and social acceptance, beauty, success, and happiness. A large majority of us have bought into this manipulated idea. More specifically, about 91% of women have apparently bought into the idea. That's a lot of power that we're all surrendering to other voices of influence on a daily basis. I'm here to tell you that there are other, much happier, much more rewarding, and much more fulfilling options.

Start listening to your voice more. Identify what YOUR opinion is. The media will largely tell you, in such few words, thin is in. Skinny is better. You need to look like this in order to be admired. With admiration comes power.

What's your opinion?

Don't forget that in this sea of confusion, you have a voice. You have a choice. Don't let an eating disorder, a media ideal, or even someone in your life write your story. We each have our own conscious minds for a reason. We were never meant to be these blind followers taking everything we hear and see with a grain of salt. So why are we acting like them?

Write your own definition of beauty. Give your opinion a fighting chance. Breathe life into it and then watch it grow. Let it resonate with you and pretty soon, you'll find that those toxic ideals no loner have as much power over you as they once did. Pretty soon, you're free.

So my definition is that every single person is worthy of love exactly as they are. All bodies, all races are magnificently made and made as they are intentionally. They're incredible works of art. Not one is like the other. There is no such thing as one kind of beautiful.

What's your definition?

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