It’s a Friday night, but I feel the need to reflect on my horoscope today: “In life, you may not have complete control, Sagittarius, but you are the author of your own story.”
It’s been an anxious and stressful semester with overwhelming exams, internship applications and rent money fizzling out of my bank account. It’s been hard to say the least. Life gets hard whether you can keep up with it or not.
Today I paused in the gym, realized I am graduating in May and thought of this blog. I was required to start it my sophomore year in a features writing class. With it, I made it my message to the world that I did it; I accomplished a goal that drastically changed my life.
I stepped back and realized I have kept off my 70 pound weight loss for three years now. Now, I don’t think of this every time I’m at the gym critiquing my cellulite or thick thighs or stomach flab that just won’t disappear. I don’t think of this when I gain two to three pounds while forgetting to exercise for a few days when I’m busy with school.
I called in to speak with a counselor this week about the anxiety I’ve been facing. It’s an interesting feeling to have your chest tighten up and hands go clammy to a point where stress isn’t just stress anymore.
During this call, I thought about bringing up body image for a split second when it crossed me: wait, do I really have body image issues?
It might not be normal to feel guilty every time you miss a workout session or drink too many calories during a night out, but it feels normal to me.
It might not be normal to skip social functions because you don’t feel like you deserve it due to the way your body looks, but it feels normal to me.
It might not be normal to not let someone touch you because of what you ate, but it feels normal to me.
I’m writing to remind you, and myself, that you are in charge of your life. Whether it be weight loss, seeking out help for mental health or reevaluating priorities, you are the decision maker.
I’m writing to remind you that even I, someone who advocates for healthy living, have issues with body image.
I’m writing to note that one drastic life change can lead to the need for another drastic life change, and that’s okay.
You have the power to take a moment and decide what parts of your life are detrimental to your mental health. You have the power to remove them and access help.
I want to encourage anyone with anxiety or depression to think of it as an illness that can be. Not an illness that is hindering, but one that deserves a place in your story.