buy the crop top

I was never the skinny girl growing up, but body positivity wasn’t something I was really familiar with until fairly recently. Accepting myself as I am was something that took years, and it’s something that I have to work on everyday.

I was never the skinny girl. But for a really long time, I wanted to be.

Beginning in middle school, I would tell myself that I was fat and ugly while obsessing over every roll and stretch mark I could find. My evenings were spent in front of a mirror, playing “I Spy” with my flaws: I had inherited wide, “child-bearing hips” that may never carry children. I don’t think that there was ever a time where my thighs didn’t touch, but “chub rub” is SO REAL and wearing shorts was frustrating and sometimes painful. My stomach never laid flat, and it would often bulge out of my clothes in weird places because I could never find jeans that fit me just right. Standing at 5’ 2”, I remember comparing my likeness to that of a teapot—short and stout.

Like most girls who grew up with body issues, the way I treated and talked about myself left me extremely unhappy and unconfident. Looking back, it’s upsetting how much I resented myself for things that weren’t entirely within my control. Society constantly feeds us images of what they deem as pretty and what should be emulated by the masses, but they also feed us terrible images of which imperfections are ugly and should be “fixed.” I constantly found myself identifying with the images of what wasn’t beautiful or attractive, and it wasn’t until college that I realized how shitty I was to myself.

I loved every minute of my four years at the University of Georgia but I am most thankful for the amazing people I met while I was there. The college town of Athens introduced me to several strong and beautiful women, and I will cherish those friendships forever. It was these same ladies who helped me start loving myself more.

Surrounded by women of all different shades and shapes, I was able to witness firsthand what beauty and confidence looked like, and how having a supportive group of girls that you can lean on can change everything. I always loved crop tops, but I was usually too self-conscious to wear them. My girls reminded me that anyone can wear a crop top, you just have to walk with your head high and own it.

I used to cry in dressing rooms because clothes wouldn’t fit me correctly. My girls reminded me that several clothing stores haven’t embraced different body types yet and exposed me to several body-inclusive boutiques we could get lost in. I used to get anxious when getting ready for big events because I felt like everything would go wrong and I’d hate how I’d look. My girls helped me do my makeup and hair, and they would hoot and holler when I came down the stairs ready to go. They would always make me feel flawless and beautiful and damn did I need that.

Supportive family and friends helped me further my self love journey, but they couldn’t go on and complete the journey for me. The biggest thing I’ve learned in this journey of body positivity is that, while the people in your life can compliment you and gas you up everyday, the biggest difference comes when you start doing it yourself.  

No one can love you like you can love yourself, and everyone shows themselves love differently. It’s not realistic to say that your body positivity journey can be completed overnight, but any progress is a step in the right direction. Not everyday is going to be a good day but I believe that it’s important to show yourself some love at least once a day because I promise you it makes a difference.

So go out there and love yourself! Buy the fucking crop top. Embrace the stretch marks that make you you. Tell yourself how amazing your ass looks in those jeans. Treat yourself to that burger tonight. Lean on the important people in your life when you need a reminder of how amazing and beautiful you are. Do whatever it takes to feel comfortable in your own skin.

Above all, let yourself be happy.

You deserve it.