All my life, I've been big... or bigger than most people.
I'm not obese, but I've never been skinny. I grew up taking a lot of dance classes, and when you went to them, your weight was constantly something to talk about.
The struggle was real. I was surrounded by people talking about their weight and rumors of people with eating disorders. But somehow, I never got too attached.
Sure, I felt terrible a lot of the time because I was bigger. I would even wear my pants too high because I felt like this covered up my tummy. I got ridiculed for it, but luckily, I had enough love for myself to not let the hate knock me down.
I just knew this was the body I was given. My dad was a bigger guy, so I always assumed I had his body type.
My sister, though, was always skinny. Sure, it sucked for me, but my sister got most of the good genes. I got the bad ones, and I've learned to live with them.
My body will never be perfect. I could diet, work out more and probably reach my goal weight. But if it's not my weight, there will be something else I want to change.
I'll focus on the cellulite, my nose, the acne scars, my weird “bald spot,” or even my surgery scars. There will always be something to hate about my body, which is why I've worked hard to turn that hate around. I want to mold it into love... or at least, acceptance.
This is who I am. I'm not perfect: I'll never be a model.
BUT I can learn to take what I've been given and make it work. Over the years, I've learned how to understand my flaws and make them work for me.
Here are four ways you can make your "flaws" work for you:
1. Dress for your body type.
I'm still trying to figure this one out, and it's something you'll constantly be learning.
But you have to figure out what looks good on you. You have to figure out what works best for your body type.
For example, all pants were not created equally. I know friends who exclusively shop at Ann Taylor Loft for their pants, while others shop at Target.
There is no right way to make pants, but there is a perfect pair of pants out there for you.
Shop around. Once you figure out what looks good on you, you'll dress better and start to feel more confident.
2. Drink more water.
You don't have to diet: This is literally just about drinking more water every day.
You wouldn't believe what a difference being hydrated makes. Your skin will be healthier, and you'll feel better.
I motivate myself by investing in a good water bottle to carry around. When I'm excited about the water bottle, I'm more likely to remember it and use it.
3. Embrace your differences.
I have moles, beauty marks and scars.... just like I'm sure everyone else has. But I used to be embarrassed by some of them.
I have a beauty mark right next to my right eye. I would try to cover it up with bangs, but there was a moment when I stopped seeing it as a "flaw." Instead, I saw it as something unique about me.
I'm special because I have that mark. I don't know anyone else with a similar mark.
I also have a scar on my belly from mole removal when I was a little girl. I used to be embarrassed by it, and I tried to cover it up whenever I wore a bathing suit or a dance costume that exposed my bare midriff.
I hated it... until the day I started to love it. The scar has perfectly healed. So now, it looks like a tiny cute bug.
I used to hate my belly scar until I started seeing it as my cute bug mark. Now, I don't care who sees it because I love it.
Once you flip the script on your “flaws” and see them as things that make you unique, you'll start to love and embrace them. They then stop becoming red flags of insecurity.
4. Remember, people like you for who you are on the inside.
If you had the option to trade all your friends in order to be the most beautiful person in the world, would you do it? Probably not.
And if you would, you most likely need new friends. I have to remind myself my friends are my friends because of my personality. A friendship based solely on looks is so shallow, it'll never last.
You can date someone who's beautiful, sure. But looks fade. Once they're gone, do you really want to be with the person underneath?
You could be a hideous-looking troll living under a bridge, but I'm sure if you're super fun to hang out with, people will be hanging out under that bridge with you.
Sure, I still have so many insecurities. When I look in the mirror, I still hear those demons screaming. But I've learned to turn down the volume on my demons.
In the wise words of my queen, RuPaul, “If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen up in here?”