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note to self: i’ll be there for you, always

written june 6, 2021. Photo by Kristine Cinate on Unsplash I have always looked for myself in other people. I think the idea was that they would somehow hold the pieces of me that I felt were missing. That maybe, if I wrapped my identity up in theirs enough, we would somehow make a whole person. It's not healthy to live like this, but I did it anyway — burning through relationships and searching for something I couldn't quite name. It was never enough, not to be myself, but it was never enough to latch my identity to other people, either. I got close, several times — I thought I had reached the pinnacle of self discovery. I thought I had completed myself. But in the end, relying on other people to help build yourself is never a viable way to do things. It's only recently that I've started to become comfortable with the idea of being enough, as I am, on my own. Several years ago, in this same position, I would have searched for another person to attach my identity onto,

Giving Up on Self-Hate

By Ashley Strawser

I'm going to be brutally, 100% honest with you right now. This isn't something that I'd normally do, but it's taking a lot for me to actually write this post.

I'm overweight. Most of my life, I have been. "Morbidly obese" according to the BMI scales and any website that you'd look on. Fat, in "less kind," but true, terms.

I have a lot of friends who are into fitness. There was a time when I was. I was exercising 5 days a week and I went from being roughly 250 pounds all the way down to 118 pounds. I was about as close to anorexia as you can get without actually being anorexic. I ate about 1200 calories a day and burned off a whole bunch of those exercising.

I wanted to be skinny. I wanted the world to look at me differently - not just as the "fat girl" who eats too much and doesn't know how to be healthy.

And maybe they did when I was a size 2 and looked like I was a walking skeleton. Maybe I looked good by the world's standards. Maybe they looked at me and thought, "Wow, she's got it all together."

But the truth of the matter is, I didn't. I wasn't any happier with myself at a size 2 than I was at a size 16. In fact, pretty much all I cared about when I was thinner was staying thin. I cared about exercising and making sure I didn't eat over my calorie allotment every single day.

When I got myself out of that mindset, I put on weight. I went back up to practically the same size I was when I started. I look in the mirror, and I'm unhappy. I want to get fitter, but I'm scared to fall into the same rut I was in before where I was obsessive about it and that was all I thought about.

But...let's be honest. Is skinny really all that matters? Is exercise the only thing in life that we should worry about? Shouldn't we worry more about our families? Our friends? The people we love? They're not going to care if you're skinny, overweight, if you eat right, or if you don't.

Sure, for health reasons, we should be trying to eat better. We should be trying to get healthy and stay healthy. We should be not eating all the cake and ice cream in the world (although, that'd be fun to try!)

But in the grand scheme of things, there are a lot more important things in life than being skinny. When you're thin, there's always going to be someone thinner.

I guess the moral of the story is: be happy in who you are. Don't overthink it. Don't obsess over being beautiful by the world's standards because they're skewed.

Even those models don't look like they do in magazines.

Be you.

So, I have given up on self-hate. I have given up on looking in the mirror and being mad at what I see. I'm who I am. My pants size doesn't matter. My mind does. My heart does. My life does.

Ashley Strawser is a 20-something writer, Disney fanatic, wine lover, and foodie. You can find her at Ashley Aspires, where she occasionally finds the time to post about Disney, teen girl self-help, and sometimes even a good recipe. But don't expect too many posts - Ashley is busy working a full-time job, and hanging out with her family!


  1. Ashley, thank you so much for sharing! This is something all women struggle with to an extent, whether we speak out about it or not.

    There's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, but there is something wrong with letting your size and weight become a point of anxiety in your life that takes precedence over things like family, friends, and the impact we have on this world.

    In the end people don't remember what you looked like, what you did or said, as much as they remember how you make them feel and the beauty of your character.

    Much love,
    Dani xoxo
    a vapor in the wind

  2. Ashley,
    Wowza girl, you got the whole thing in a nutshell. It's convicting and inspiring. Thank you. :)

  3. Thank you for sharing your story with readers because sometimes all it takes is to know that the person is not alone. I struggle with body image my whole life and I totally agree with you that it doesn't matter what size person is. We are our own worst critics and most of the time we forget that we will stay with ourselves our whole life so why not be our best friend? :)

  4. Wow, that's really powerful to #1 even be able to say that. MOst people can't admit that they are overweight AND THAT'S OKAY. I hear people say, "Do I look fat?" And someone will respond, "Yeah, but you still look good!" There should be no BUT. It should be, "Yes, and you're beautiful." Society has taught us that DESPITE our flaws, we can look good, but I want my children to know that BECAUSE of their flaws and because of who they are as a person, they are beautiful. #2 I think it's awesome that you were able to post this. People should be able to know that they aren't alone in their insecurities, and when they see people like them overcoming insecurities and self-image issues, it can help them over it as well. #3 I am healthy, I am fit-ish, but by society's standards, I am still not skinny enough. Honestly, I gave up (after years of trying to be "enough") pressuring myself to be the "perfect" body type. I am me, and THAT is enough.

  5. You are wonderful. I struggle with body image as well, and you're right: no matter how thin you are, there will always be someone thinner. And thinness doesn't equal happiness. Only Jesus can bring true joy and contentment. I love how you ended the post -- focusing on what matters. Health is one thing, but obsession is another. It's time for me to live life.

    Thank you for sharing this!!

  6. Thank you for your honesty. I've struggled with self-hate too. *hugs*

  7. That was beautiful, thanks for sharing.


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