Beauty: It isn’t just skin deep

By Maura Wery

What is it about the beginning of the year that inspires people to quit their smoking habit, be happier or lose obnoxious amounts of weight? Is it the freshness of a new year…a new beginning, one that isn’t scarred with our failures?

I’ve never bought into the idea personally. At any point of the year we can make a change; it all depends on how much a certain person will want something.

One of the most popular goals is the weight-loss goal. Many gyms get an influx of members in the first months. They come in with the hopes of getting into shape. Some will do so, but most will not. I would know. I’ve battled with my weight since I was 13 years old. Puberty wasn’t exactly my friend in that area but I was lucky. I came from a family of mainly stocky/overweight people who weren’t very judgmental and supported a teenager trying to be social while also being overweight. I fit in well at school. I was semi-popular with the people I was with and was never really bullied for my looks. That’s minus a few immature boys I tried to ask out over the four years who had wonderful words to say to me about my appearance.

Even through my very non-bullied high school days, my body was always a source of contention. After gaining the most weight I ever did during my freshman year of college, I tipped the scale at more than 250 pounds. I hated my body more than ever but lacked the skills to deal with it.

So it would be easy to see how surprised I was when I transferred back to Kansas State and lost almost all the weight I had gained. My secret? Well, I wish I could figure that out and use it to my advantage now. I walked to class a lot. I had very few friends at that point so I would walk around campus and explore where things were and lose weight at the same time. I dropped down to around 175, the lowest I’ve ever been and where I have hovered up until now.

Even with the weight loss, though, I’ve always kind of hated the vessel that held me. Recently, I started exploring what’s known as the “Body Positivity” movement. It is made up of women who were fed up with society’s western standards of beauty. What are those, you might ask? White, skinny, flawless. That’s it.

It seems a bit ridiculous to try to mold ourselves into a pattern most could never fit in naturally. So the movement is asking women to stop trying to and instead embrace the naturalness of their bodies. I bought into it instantly, mainly because seeing people with similar bodies being happy with them made me want to be proud of my own.

Do I realize that being overweight c

ould cause major health issues? Of course and I take that very seriously, but there is a stigma that follows someone who is overweight as being lazy and unhealthy, neither of which I am. One of the biggest points of the movement is taking back your body from society and making it your own. For so long in my life I based my worth on what the scale told me, not on my intelligence, my love for other people, my communication skills, my sense of fashion or, most importantly, what I wanted my body to be to me.

Now, I’m not so worried about getting on that treadmill every day. I’m not worried about being unnaturally skinny.

I haven’t bought a fashion magazine in more than a year. I subscribe to my own sense of beauty, one that doesn’t come from looking into a mirror.

Some days are harder than others and I get discouraged as much as everyone else, but for me, my new year’s resolution is to just be me and love myself, not what society “thinks” I should be.

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