Growing up, I had no clue that I was supposed to be self-conscious about my looks. Only until other people began to point out my flaws, did I become weary of my own body. I remember being put on diets and having to wear the worst clothes, but no one told me to love myself. I remember overhearing a boy in my class say "Qiana is pretty, but she's fat." Frankly, I was shocked that me being fat mattered to anyone at all. That was when my ideas about my body changed. I became very aware of my body and what space I occupied with it. I was extremely uncomfortable participating in basic school activities, because I thought everyone would be aware of how I looked and would have an opinion on it.
I stopped wearing tank tops because I thought the stretch marks on my arms should have been hidden from the world. Up until a few years ago, you would not have caught me wearing a sleeveless anything without a T-shirt under it ( even in 100 degree weather). I always thought I had a pretty face, but life would be easier if I had a small body to match. I constantly compared myself to everyone around me, which was emotionally draining. I put on a confident front because I did not want other people to play on my lack of self confidence.
Currently, I'm absolutely in love with myself. I have learned the hard way, that not loving me is probably the worst thing I could do to myself. I no longer lose sleep on the opinions of others, because at the end of the day I'm the only person that is stuck with me forever. With the help of body positive people and other fat girls on social media, I have learned to love myself without boundaries. I'm no longer afraid to refer to myself as fat, because it is literally just an adjective that describes a body type. Learning to love myself has gotten me to a much better place in every single aspect of my life. I have done things that I never imagined I would be able to accomplish. I wear tank tops all the time now and you can even catch me wearing a cropped top or some booty shorts. The biggest thing I have learned about when someone has a problem with me or how I look: it's really their problem and not mine!