Somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15, I started to notice my body changing. I noticed the way my face was filling out, how my thighs were bigger than my friends, and my stomach was no longer flat as a board. I desperately wanted to fit into a size 0 or 2; instead, everyday I reluctantly pulled on my size 6 jeans. It was from then on that I began to compare my body to every girl I saw, diet and exercise like mad, and wonder why I wasn’t skinny.

It was May of my senior year of high school, and my annual dance recital was a few weeks away. The costume for one of my dances was a nude two-piece ensemble that prominently displayed my stomach. When everyone in the class was first shown the costume, I didn’t think anything of it. However when it came time to actually try it on and dance, I couldn’t do it. All the other girls rushed to the dressing room to put their costume on, and I froze.

My teacher pulled me into a separate room and I started sobbing. I confessed how uncomfortable the idea of wearing that costume on stage made me feel. I told her how I felt fat and thought there was no possible way I could wear that costume. The thought of having to face an entire auditorium of people with my fat stomach visible for all to see was enough to make me fall into hysterics all over again. That night I went home from dance class and had my first proper panic attack.

Fast-forward a year to when I met a cute, red haired boy at a party my freshman year of college. What started off as a drunken one-night stand quickly developed into a budding relationship. He was funny, charming, and sat through all of the 80’s movies I insisted we had to watch together. One night he asked if he could give me a back massage, and I reluctantly agreed. I took my shirt off, but kept my sports bra on, leaving him to find a way to work around it.

I hadn’t felt that uncomfortable in a long time. In fact, it may have been a year ago, sobbing to my dance teacher about my fat stomach. I kept my arms firmly folded across my stomach as he massaged my shoulders, and the second he was done I pulled my shirt back on. I couldn’t bare the thought of him seeing so much bare skin. If I didn’t want to look at it, why would he?

From that night on though, and largely due to my now boyfriend, I began to love and appreciate my body. I ended up switching birth controls, dropping 25 pounds, and learning to respect the one body I’ve been given. I began weight lifting with my boyfriend, and loving it! The gym was a place I had been going for a while, but it was my time there was mostly occupied by cardio. Lifting weights made me feel strong and provided me with a sense of confidence I had never felt before. Every time I lifted a heavier weight than last time was cause for celebration, and we celebrated together.

[Related Reading: How Birth Control Impacted My Life]

Each time that red haired boy called me beautiful I believed him a little bit more. He made me see my body what it was: strong, capable, beautiful, and even just a little bit sexy. Knowing that someone else loved me so much made me realize that maybe I should start loving myself as well.

That was when I was 18, and at 22, I still can’t say that I don’t compare myself to others. But when I see a girl who has thinner legs than I do, I think about my muscular back from countless workouts, my flexible muscles thanks to yoga and all those years of dance, and my abs that are (almost) visible 😉 It is exhausting to constantly compare yourself to others. We are all built differently, with different body shapes, compositions, and metabolisms. While it can be easy to think about what your body isn’t, or cannot do, it’s so much more rewarding to recognize what it is and what it’s capable of.

Now, I have a feeling my boyfriend regrets giving me that first massage, because I ask for one every time I see him. I’ve stopped counting calories (too hard to keep track of) and am consistently making personal gains at the gym. I can confidently step onto the beach in a bikini and often catch myself looking in the mirror, thinking about how good my legs look. Whether or not I’d be at this point without my boyfriend is hard to say, but having him around has certainly helped. I’ve only got one body, so I’m going to appreciate it for all that it has to offer.

I owe my body confidence to a guy.

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Audrey Knizek

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18 comments

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That’s an amazing story! I couldn’t agree more that we only have one body, and we need to treat it well!

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Mhmm, definitely an interesting story girl! Body positivity rocks

– xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com

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Wow, it’s so great your boyfriend helped you to gain love and confidence for your body. As women we get so much external pressure about how we SHOULD look, I think everyone struggles at times. The story about your dance costumes was heart breaking, I am so glad you found your confidence and self love <3

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Body positivity is an awesome thing! What a brave story to tell too, and I can totally relate to the dance costume part. I used to dance in middle school and I was always terrified of what costumes they would pick and if they would make me look bad. But I’ve found my confidence and am so glad you found yours as well!

xo
Sami
The Classic Brunette

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I have a similar situation with my husband. He definitely helps me see beauty in myself when I can’t see it.

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This was such a cute story, and really inspiring too! I’m guilty of always comparing myself to others too. But my boyfriend has made a world of difference in the way I see my own body.

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So proud that you were able to accept your body and how you’re confident in it now! That’s so amazing!

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I can relate to your post and agree with you! We’ve got one body…let’s enjoy it!

xo,
Stephanie
Diary of a Debutante
http://www.thediaryofadebutante.com

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I love this story sososoooo much! I’ve always had a rocky relationship with my body as well but my boyfriend does a great job helping me see the beauty when I can’t.

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Aww this story made me smile. It’s so so beautiful 🙂 I’m glad you learnt to love your body again and your boyfriend sounds like an amazing guy! Ps: You remind me of Rose from Doctor Who haha!

http://www.wildfirecharm.com

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It’s hard to believe that you experience body confidence issues when you are so beautiful! I know we try to put the best versions of ourselves online, but you still seem like a smart, pretty, fun woman. But it’s this kind of vulnerability that might help readers realize they aren’t alone, and inspire their growth into themselves.
I hope you don’t experience these feelings as much anymore, because you don’t need to! And I’d love to say that you don’t need guys or anyone else’s reinforcement that you are beautiful and worthy, but it for sure doesn’t hurt, it just shouldn’t be what makes or breaks how you view yourself!

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It’s such a great feeling when you love your body! It’s almost a relief!
-Nicholle
http://www.nichollesophia.com

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How ever you find it, it’s so important to have. Loving yourself and your body is so key! Thanks for sharing your story.

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Going to the gym and focusing on strength is such a game changer! Who case about “skinny”, I want strong. It makes women more powerful to see what they are capable beyond looking “sexy”. Thanks for the post and the reminder that being happy is the most important.

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Yes! I love the sense of achievement I feel after a great workout. Seeing new muscles develop and grow doesn’t hurt either haha!

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So glad that you were able to get past the body negativity and that he showed you that you are beautiful. This is such an important message that we all need to hear!!

Kristen | http://www.sophisticatedgal.com

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It’s lovely to hear that your bf helped you in your body confidence but what I like even more is that you’ve taken ownership of your own body and health and are making healthy choices in your life for yourself and not for your bf! Good for you!!

http://www.elleisforlove.com

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What a great story! I’m so glad you were able to start loving your body again.

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