You are not your body.

By: Maddy Blaedow

Who are you? As humans we shift and mold into various personalities or lifestyles. It makes it nearly impossible to determine how to respond to the question with just one answer. Whether it was choosing a path for college or a quarter life crisis, I am sure the question has arisen and has gone either answered or unanswered. What I have come to know is that I was placed on this Earth for a reason. The reason (amongst others) is to laugh and love and fill time with joy and gratitude. It is to share a smile with a stranger or buy the person next in line’s cup of coffee.When my mind is clouded with anxiety or insecurity, my attention turns inward. I do not notice the sunsets or the eclectic display of clouds in the sky. Perhaps due to old habits or unhealed wounds, I focus on my self image. As selfish as it sounds, a part of me feels it is easier to control how I look instead of face reality. I am conscious of the unhealthy pattern it yields and am continuously trying to change.

When I am faltering in my self image, I remind myself what is next to come. I look in the mirror and look for ways I can love myself, instead of reasons to hate what I see. These small actions help me to ground my self confidence and my identity in things that are not “body-centered”. I ask myself in times of doubt, “Is my goal to take up the least amount of space possible?”. There was a time where I might have considered that as an option, but I feel far removed from that former-self. The answer I proudly boast now is a resounding “no”.
I have found that my insecurities are a product of an outside source. They flourish when I am struggling. They nitpick the way my legs look in a certain pair of pants or tell me I am not good enough. Instead of investing my time in a destructive habit, I have intentionally stopped everything to identify where the ugly voice inside my head is coming from. Certainly, I would never tell myself that. Someone that I love and who has carried me near and far. Someone who has felt the loving embrace of grandparents, mothers and friends. Someone who has cried tears of joy and wiped away the sadness of a dear friend. Someone who worked as hard as she could to hold down a job, sport and full time school. Someone who represents strength and advocates for strength and justice for others. Someone who I am proud to identify myself with. Do all these insurmountable qualities boil down to how I appear in the mirror?
I am much more and so are you.

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