“Do you even own a pair of jeans?”

I used to get asked this a lot by my friends. It was a running joke, honestly – one that I laughed at and took part in too. I thrive in leggings and dresses, skirts and shorts, but I refused to wear jeans. I always made the excuse that it just didn’t “go along” with whatever look I wanted or that I didn’t have a pair that I liked.

Honestly, I think I believed those excuses too. Most of the time, at least.

But recently, I’ve beginning to realize that it’s so much more than that. The truth is this: I’ve sworn off an entire form of clothing due to my own insecurities and unhealthy relationship with my body.

The more I think about it, the more I can now tell that it’s because of the way that I look in jeans that I don’t wear them. I feel like I look shorter than I actually am. I feel like I look heavier than I am in other clothing, too. They look amazing on other people. But on myself, the only thing that I’m fixated on is how my thighs and stomach jut out.

If I wear crop tops on jeans, they show my stomach in a way that I don’t like. But if I wear t-shirts, they end up looking baggy and awkward. And when that happens, I can’t stop thinking about what others might be thinking about me or my body and if I’m being judged. So I keep thinking of these different flaws and constantly run them in my head to the point where, even when I try to love an outfit, I will eventually give in and wear something else that I’m more used to.

There’s something so complex and often confusing about the relationships that we have with our bodies.

Of course, we all want to love them. Right? After all, my body is the thing that is keeping me alive – the way I function, the way I live, is all thanks to it. My body is strong and fierce. And yet, I can’t get myself to be kind to it because all I can focus on is how it looks.

It’s not all just random and unconnected, though.

There are a lot of things that we like to repress in our memories. This is often to protect ourselves from the bad feelings that come with it: the sadness and guilt, the embarrassment and anger. I recently forced myself back into therapy, and after years of withholding it, began to unpack things that I never thought I’d really be able to talk about. That’s where it finally dawned on me: the different experiences I’ve had through the years that have led me to have this unhealthy relationship with my own body. While acknowledging that is a big step, it’s only one step, though. There’s so much more in terms of healing that I know I still have to do.

Truth be told, I’m not even sure what the point in me writing all of this is right now.

I just decided it was something I wanted to talk about, and something tells me that someone out there might relate. Too many of us dislike our bodies; we see perfection in others with the exact traits that we see as flaws in ourselves. I think that’s human nature. That dress looks better on someone else, or we think another person’s skin is better. In reality, while we’ve all got imperfections, every single one of us also has things we should love and appreciate.

More than anything, though, I’m talking about this because it’s something that I’ve finally admitted to myself. For a long time, it’s been a small but harmful notion that I’ve had about myself. And it’s not about to disappear overnight, either. But I’m going to overcome this. I’m going to understand and work through how to love my body more. I’m going to see it the way that others do. Of course, we all have off days. We don’t always love every single thing about ourselves (or about others), but I’m going to try my best to be better about it.

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