Body Issue Has Always Been An Issue
"Body image has always been an issue for me growing up.
Society teaches us as females we should be feminine. I grew up a swimmer and then a kayaker. This meant I considered my shoulders and arms to be big. More that a few times they were the subject of conversation that made me feel uncomfortable.
I wish 30 year old me could have a conversation with 15 year old me and say: own it! Enjoy what your body can do for you, the moment and freedom it gives. Love what your shoulders can do and you will love your body for who it is, not what it looks like.
I love my shoulders now and it saddens me that for so many years I was ashamed of them. Now instead of running away from masculine features, I chase being strong.
Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community has helped me so much, in seeing that there is worth in however you are, if I'm female I do not have to always be feminine, there is sexiness in masculine features on a female body. And actually, you can go one step further and say fuck that, the features we give to each gender, actually belong to no gender and just be happy in your human form.
15 year old me would see extra weight on my belly, thick thighs as a negative, boobs that are partly pecs, shoulders and arms that cause attention and should be hidden.
When I look at pictures of me now, I see strength, my body has gone through a lot and continues to go through trials for me. I have polycystic ovaries, an excess testosterone level causing acne, a knee and shoulder that has continued to pop out of place. I have been told by doctors I'm naturally inclined to put on weight, so the struggle with food and exercise continues as much for my mental health and body love as the outcome itself.
I see change and fluctuation in the mirror but also thankful for what my body allows me to do each day. Keep on fighting.
Side note, should have mentioned earlier: Where did my childhood ideals come from: So much did I want the body of the feminine girls, amble boobs and small waist and no belly, no cartoon as a kid ever had females with a belly. Curves is what I wanted when I was straight up and down with a soft bulge in the middle."