My Lifelong Journey to Me
by Madelyn Dorta
As long as I can remember…I’ve hated my body. I started to develop before most of my friends — my classmates, friends, family and nearly everyone I knew had an opinion on my body as if they had that right. Having a bigger build and being plus size, the societal shame was everywhere I turned. Middle school was especially rough…with the popularity of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie…a size 2 was the envy and beauty standard. Tall, skinny, white, and blonde. I was none of those things. Being a plus-size Latina, representation of anyone who looked like me was nonexistent. My insecurities continued and morph into unhealthy relationships with my body and with food. Whether you are a size 2 or 22, your body still needs food and substance…food isn’t something you should have to earn, it is a necessity. Looking back — hating myself was incredibly easy due to the fact most women in my life were the same way and still are. They nearly always have an opinion on what someone looks like or how they dress and to this day…I’ve never heard them say a single nice thing about themselves. So, naturally…I was the same way. Hating nearly everything I wore, the color of my skin, the width of hips, the circumference of my thighs. I thought I could change all of those things if I tried hard enough. I looked up ways to lose weight on the library computer at school. I would steal my aunt’s old Cosmo magazines and clip articles on How to Look Thinner, What Men Really Like, 3 Things to Drop 10 lbs. I began taping them to my mirror in my bedroom along with photos of women I wanted to look like and never would. Although I am the most comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been, there are still days that I struggle to love myself. Days where the first thing I want to say to myself is filled with hate and criticism.
I’ve learned to love myself and appreciate my beauty both inside and outside by encouraging other girls and women to do the same.
“One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.” — Gabourey Sidibe
Since I was a teenager, my biggest goal in life was to lose weight and be skinny. I know that I am not alone in this. Millions of dollars every year are spent on advertising to make me feel this exact way and I have fallen for it every year except this one. For the first time since 6th grade…my life’s goal isn’t to lose weight or to change how I look. Not because it doesn’t matter but because loving and caring for myself matters MORE.
This article was written by Madelyn Dorta for LOVE Girls Magazine and has been archived onto our Medium for easier online reading. Please consider supporting the magazine through financial or volunteer donations.