When I was a little girl I had a dream of being a great dancer. By the time I was eight years old I had stopped dance lessons because I was afraid that I would look fat in a leotard.
Now, as an adult I wish I had pursued more of my interests as a young girl. Not only would dancing have helped me stay active and healthy, but it would also have given me a creative outlet for my pain. It would have given me a way to express the pain physically that did not require me to hurt myself. But I guess hindsight is a bitch and really who knows if I would have avoided self-harm if I’d been a dancer or not.
Today when I look at images like the one above I see power and strength which is in an of itself a beauty of sorts. Most of the time I equate beauty to thinness and strive to be as thin as I possibly can. But images like this help me realize that beauty is so much more than being skin and bones. The girl in this picture looks graceful and powerful and majestic all at once. She is not skeletal; she is muscular and solid. She emanates so much strength and exudes beauty despite the societal standards that women be stick thin and dainty.
Most importantly though, this girl looks healthy. Up until now I’ve found it really difficult to equate health to beauty. I’ve told myself that I have to be thin to be beautiful and for me that means being sick.
I don’t know that this will be enough to completely change the course of my recovery, but seeing images like this definitely helps me recognize that there is more than one face to beauty. I don’t need to starve myself to be beautiful.
Maybe strength can be my new beautiful.