I’ve started this series because through my own self acceptance search/journey I’ve realized that we, as humans, all have problems with our skin suit no matter what it looks like. The point of this series is to confront our flaws AND to highlight our excellence. I hope one day we’ll all be able to wake up and that voice in our mind which lists all our faults on repeat will be much quieter if not silent. The mirror will be less scary. We’ll smile as we pass our gorgeous selves. We’ll have a bounce in our steps. One day we’ll love our bodies exactly as they are right now. We might have bad days . We might have bad weeks. Yet once we unlock that key, that key of self love we’ll know we can get back to a sanctuary within our bodies. Our bodies and our selves are waiting for that love, waiting for that permission to just be.
So, alas! We have found ourselves at the end of the month. For 30 days I featured brave souls who opened up and shared their inner most thoughts with me. I couldn’t be more proud, and as I write this tears are forming in my eyes. I am in awe. Since I started this series, I have learned so much, and changed in ways I could not have imagined. For the first time in my life I have reached a level of body acceptance that I have never felt before. I don’t count calories. I work out because I enjoy it–because it makes me feel beautiful and powerful. I surround myself with people that make me feel comfortable, and have realized that beauty doesn’t only come from my appearance. I feel beautiful hiking. I feel beautiful laughing. I feel beautiful eating thai food and laughing with friends. That is the magic of body positivity while it’s a positive journey, other people and their experiences can inspire, empower and make you feel connected. If I have communicated anything to you, I hope it’s the absolute urgency to write yourself, your body, and your own experience. I ask you to fight against your own disappearance. To all my followers, who are treading the same waters, you will not master or learn all there is to know about self acceptance and self love in a week, month, or year. Self acceptance and self love is a journey. Constant reflection, education, searching, conversations, and most importantly listening is required to continue your never finished journey. It also requires a lot of being uncomfortable and thinking about how YOU can be better.
As I have said to all previous spotlight, and now I say to myself, dear Tari, be gentle with yourself. You are meeting parts of yourself you have been at war with.
1. What makes you feel beautiful?
I feel the most beautiful after I wake up. Especially when there are no anxieties, my hair is pulled back, and it’s my bare face starring back at me in the mirror. Each morning brings a new adventure, and I feel beautiful in those experiences.
Along with that, I also feel beautiful when I am wearing lipstick, when my hair looks good, my toes are painted, and my teeth are brushed.
2. What makes you feel powerful?
3. What would you tell your past self about beauty and bodies?
I’d tell my past self, that her self worth lies in her own hands. I’d tell her to believe in her own beauty (not just when she’s told) but in-between those movements. I’d tell my past self to never be afraid of taking up space, and to take note of all the beautiful things in life that have nothing to do with appearance.
4. How does your skin color make you feel?
I wouldn’t want to be any other color. I love the way it sparkles in the sunlight. I love my earthly resemblance to mother nature. I love how it compliments all the colors of the rainbow and the sky.
However, I get sad knowing that there are those that don’t think black/brown is beautiful. Those that deem my skin color as a curse–or as a death sentence.
There is always beauty in darkness.
5. How have you struggled with your body?
From a young age I have always been very aware of the amount of space I took up. I remember when I weighed in at 100 pounds for the first time in 7th grade and spend half the day crying in the bathroom. My 7th grade teacher (bless her soul) found me, and together she sat with me for 3o minutes in the bathroom while another teacher watched her classroom.
I actively started trying to lose weight in the 8th grade. I joined the cross country team, along with the tennis team and lost 15 pounds. High school was a difficult time for me. Body parts started protruding. My hips were forming, boobs were appearing, and I didn’t look like my white female peers who were all size zero’s. I wasn’t fat–I was a healthy 130 pounds. My body structure was just completely different.
I could go on and on, about the body issues I have faced since then. I have spent a lot of time hating my body. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to shrink, and at times actually shrinking extensively. I’ve battled a lot with under-eating and over exercising. I still remember the day I passed out (and threw up) at my local Walgreens due to not eating for 36 hours, and over exercising. I lost 40 pounds in 2014/2015 by way of not eating and over exercising Instead of concern, I received excessive applause, and congratulations. I’ve been the girl that’s worked out 3 times a day. I’ve survived on water and saltines for 4 days. I’ve done it all in the name of beauty and perfection.
From Tari, with love.