Self-esteem issues are not new to me. I was never the pretty girl, always more awkward than my sisters. Until seventh grade, I was tallest in my class (and really, taller than most others too), and I "blossomed" at 11, years before any of the other girls needed bras or pads. I stuck out, and the kids around me made sure I knew it.
High school wasn't much better than middle school, except that there were so many more students that I could fade into groups of others like me. Making friends wasn't a struggle, but keeping myself from constant comparison and feels of unworthiness was.
When I got to college, I finally started to feel like I could truly be myself - which is due mostly to some guy I met who made me feel like I was the most important woman in the world (you better believe I married that one!). But even still, I was never truly comfortable in my own skin.
For years, I've been looking in the mirror, wishing I could change this or that. You've probably never seen me in a bathing suit - I tell myself it's because I'm modest, but the real motivator is my embarrassment of my appearance; at 14, I chose to join my hot-tubbing friends fully clothed (jeans and all) rather than reveal my unshapeliness. The only time I've ever been truly comfortable with my shape was when I was pregnant - round is most acceptable when you're growing a person. But now, three children later, I find myself loathing the body I'm in. Sure, I could work hard and slowly begin the change it, but then I think, what's the point? If I'm going to keep having babies, I'm going to be right back here again sooner than I would be fit. So instead, I cover up my imperfections as best I can and continue to hide. But for how long? Years? Decades? Honestly, probably for the rest of my life. I've taught myself to hate what I look like, and that's not an easy lesson to unlearn.