What does it mean to be “normal”? Who gets to define what “normal” means? Society defines its beauty standards and what it means to be a “normal” size girl in today’s society. It is time to lose the weight (and I don’t mean the pounds) and transform societal standards – size does not matter. We are all normal, we are all unique, so why do we conform ourselves to societal standards?
I was always the “big girl” growing up. I was bullied for my size, being called names like Missy Piggy, while they made pig noises. I was called fat and fatty. I always said I did not let it bother me, but when I was in middle school my confidence changed. I began to diet and lose weight in seventh grade and people started noticing a difference. The summer between seventh and eighth grade I lost a lot of weight and the classmates who teased me about my size said I looked beautiful. I finally felt like I fit in with my friends because I could wear brand names like American Eagle and Aeropostale. I finally felt normal.
I let societal standards, social media, and the name-calling win. I was fixated on wearing a size nine and weighing one-hundred and fifty pounds.
How is this normal?
I am 5’9” and I should weigh between 185 and190 pounds. Those numbers are what my doctors tell me are healthy. I support a healthy lifestyle, but focusing on a number and a clothing size while eating a strict diet is not physically, psychologically, or emotionally healthy.
I am now 24 years old, a graduate student, and still considered overweight for my height and age, but I am happy. I am happy to share my story and admit that I let society win, but I am on a journey of self-rediscovery as I am focusing my work on empowering young girls and women. I have learned from my experience that I can either lose weight to feel and look better, or choose to lose weight to be healthy. It is about finding a balance between your own inner critic and society’s definition of what is normal. I disagree with the saying that inner beauty matters more than outer beauty. I believe inner and outer beauty complement each other, and to let your inner passions and perspectives shine and reflect how you feel and how you represent yourself to your peers. Allow your self-esteem to positively impact your confidence.
Visualize self-esteem as an emotional cup inside of you. We have all felt low self-esteem and those bad feelings fill our emotional cups to full or even overflowing from all the pressures made by ourselves, society, and social media. Imagine being confident enough to shed that excess weight of negativity and how our self-esteem will be positively impacted. That emotional cup will be emptied as we learn to redefine what is normal.
Learning to be resilient is an attribute that is important to learn at a young age because unfortunately we live in society that defines what is normal, and focuses on clothing size and weight. Challenge yourself and put yourself out there to do the things you want to do, and don’t feel limited because you feel underweight, overweight, too tall or too short.
You are normal.
You are unique.
And together it is time to empower young woman to redefine societal standards of normal.