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You can’t leave your house or surf the internet without hearing conflicting messages about what your body should look like or how you should feel about it.
I’m 5-foot-3-inches tall, and my closet is filled with clothing between sizes 0 and 4. I work out four to five days a week, but mostly because it helps control my anxiety. I’m considered skinny, but my body is nowhere near perfect, and I don’t feel that true self-love so many women are shouting from the rooftops as they own their curves and so-called flaws.
When I moved to Los Angeles from New York several years ago, I started to notice other women’s bodies a lot more. This is probably because women in warmer climates tend to wear a lot less clothing. I would go to auditions or the beach, and all of the other women looked like they should be on the cover of a magazine. I became obsessed. I would weigh myself multiple times a day, and if the number wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I wouldn’t feel good about myself. In a world where I was constantly being judged and judging myself, the scale just added fuel to the fire.
Then suddenly, my scale stopped working. It wouldn’t surprise me if it broke from overuse, but more likely than not, it just ran out of batteries. Getting new batteries was on my to-do list for a few weeks, but I’d always forget to buy them. I noticed not being preoccupied with a number made me feel better about myself. So several months later, when I moved to a new apartment, I threw out my scale and never replaced it. If I wanted to know my weight, I could weigh myself at the gym. There was no need to torture myself daily.
Several years later, I realized something major: We’re all too busy idolizing bodies other than our own, whether they are skinny and fit (Gigi Hadid) or plus-size and owning it (Tess Holliday). When I threw out my scale, I thought it would tame some of my feelings of inadequacy. I was wrong.
More: A letter to the woman who weighs herself every day
When I see Lena Dunham on Girls running around in leggings and a sports bra, I admire her, but I would never feel comfortable doing that. If my abs were flatter, I wouldn’t hesitate to run around nearly naked. But to be realistic, neither one of those things are likely to happen.
So instead of striving for the impossible, I’ve embraced what I have and realized it’s much easier to work with it than it is to fight it. For years, I really wanted to wear crop tops, but I’m insecure about my lower stomach. Then one day, I realized if I wore high-waisted jeans, I could conceal that part of my body, and I became a crop-top person — not because I suddenly felt comfortable with my body, but because I learned how to work around my insecurity.
I’ll never be Hadid, Holliday or Dunham, and I no longer want to try to be. I don’t need a number or another person to dictate how I should feel about my body or what I should do with it. The only person I need to listen to is myself.