I was once asked this question by a friend of mine. She was struggling to see her self-worth and value as a human being, and was judging her life to mine. So, let’s stack it up like she did for me:
Her: thin, tall, blonde, blue eyes, big boobs, lots of friends, lots of male attention.
Me: Average height, over weight, red hair (like ORANGE), green eyes, glasses, just got rid of my braces, only a handful of friends, and no male attention.
Apparently to her, she didn’t understand why at 15, she was the one struggling with her self-worth and resorting to self-harm and I was not. Instead of looking at herself and what she was expecting out of life, which was probably the main reason she was feeling unloved and unworthy, she focused her attention elsewhere. She wanted to know what I had that she didn’t.
I honestly couldn’t tell you. And when I think back onto that conversation, and the consequences for my own emotional health, sometimes I wonder to myself “why wasn’t I depressed?” Here I was, this high school student who at 5’7 was over 200lbs and I had no concept of feeling unloved or unwanted. Of course I went through the normal teenage thinking of “why don’t boys like me?” and “when will I get a boyfriend?” but I never once considered going the route of self-harm.
I have a few theories why:
1st: my mom was forever judging herself against other women. Growing up she had been an average sized person. She wasn’t THIN and she wasn’t FAT. She was a happy middle – even though her peers made her feel fat. She met my dad, and got married. Then after having kids she started to put on weight. When we were out, she would see other women who she though were fatter or uglier than her and lean over to my dad and quietly whisper “I’m not that fat am I?” “I don’t look that bad do I?” She was in this constant need of validation. I have never really felt the need to judge other women like that. Yes, I see thinner or prettier women but I never place my self-worth in their appearance.
2nd: I had great friends! I only had a few friends growing up. This girl I considered to be one of the closest, until this conversation of course. Read my last post and you’ll get a few more details on her. The few friends that I did have, were GREAT friends. I didn’t need to be friends with the whole school or with the popular kids. I had a few friends who supported me and helped me navigate through those really rough years called “high school”. I’m so grateful I had them there with me, even if we all lost touch after high school. Thank-you to all those wonderful ladies and gents who showed me that my value as a person was not based on what was on the outside but the inside.
3rd: She had not so great friends. Before she hit high school, this friend of mine had only a small group of friends. Maybe one or two that she would constantly be around at school. Then she hit high school and puberty and became a “popular girl”. With her new group of friends, her self-esteem and self-worth took a nose dive. All she cared about was being sexy and having boys notice her.
Now I’m not sure if any of those things really did make a difference on why I wasn’t depressed or hated myself. But I’d like to think they did. I have never considered self-harm, nor do I ever think I will. I’ve always had a love for my body and my shape. I may not like it some days, but I love myself and can see that I am not just a number on a scale. Which, at 28 is 265 lbs actually. Sure life might be “easier” if I was smaller. Guys might be interested more, clothes shopping would be easier. I could wear cute knee high boots!! But would it make me a better person? No. I actually might be more conceded…some people right now think that I am vain and self-centered because I call myself fabulous and beautiful. It’s not conceit, it’s pride. In who I am and who I have turned out to be! I’ve struggled to find out who I am, and once I found that out, I’m not letting it go just because society tells me I need to hate how my body fills out clothes or how much space it takes up.