Choosing a Lifestyle of Body Positivity
BY: NICOLE ZYGADLO
Warning: If you are triggered in any way by disordered eating, body dysmorphia or depressing stories, I would please advise you to close this tab and protect your own energy. I love you, just trying to keep you happy! (This story does have a happy ending, promise.)
Five years ago I wanted to die. I was not suicidal, just done carrying the weight of my soul. I was far from God, yet still held in His grace. Recently, I was looking through my old Tumblr and journals from 2012-2015 — and it breaks my heart. I wish I could go back in time and give that girl a hug and let her know one day life will be better and it will be okay.
Journal entries from October 2012:
"It’s not that I feel alone. I just feel lost... almost scared of the future and everything my life will be... [it] starts now. Even though being a teenager is almost nothing of my life, I'm still scared. Walls around me built so high up with each lie, a new brick added, inside I hide from people, behind a fake smile, but people are so ignorant they would never realize the difference between my smile and tears — as long as I hid behind the stupid facade of a happy girl. Have you ever just felt so alone while surrounded by people? Have you ever hurt so much that crawling into a fetal position was the only option? Have you ever just been yourself... I mean truly yourself?"
"Have you ever just hated yourself? Everything about yourself? The uneven curves, the thighs, baby fat... no not even that but just fat. How wonderful it must be to be beautiful. Imagine... life would be so much more wonderful."
"....It's almost painful because I’m telling myself I’m okay but really I am not. I’m not okay, inside I’m screaming and crying out because I can’t function, all I want is everything I can’t have."
I can remember looking into the mirror saying the most mean things to myself. I truly felt unworthy of love. I felt alone, friendless, ugly and trapped in my own body. Disorders do NOT have a look. I did not look unhealthy, or unhappy. I looked fine. I acted fine. I did not look like I was starving my body of nutrients or binging late at night because I was so hungry. I did not look like I was sad. I became the master of "I’m fine."
SO MANY YEARS TRYING TO BREAK HABITS. SO MANY. SO MANY NIGHTS THAT I CRIED. SO MANY HIGHS, LOWS AND RELAPSES into the hell hole my brain would trap me into. I even had a “thinspo” Tumblr where I would post pictures of women with thigh gaps, beautiful faces and smiles.
It is long deleted and gone.
Three years later, September of 2015, even though I was still in the depth of the darkness, I knew I needed to change. I started posting more positivity on Instagram and Twitter. It felt good, I liked that. Renee reintroduced God into my life through Redemption Church in Gilbert. I felt new-ish. I felt hope, something that was not there before.
I battled, lost some, and won the overall war — otherwise, I wouldn't be here sharing this with you. I take body positivity VERY seriously. IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY and SPIRITUALLY.
I had people come into my life that actually cared for me and loved me. I started praying more, writing again. I fought my darkness with love — and light. I made a vow in 2016 to change my life, and oh, did life change. I was thrown upside down, tousled, turned, and made beautiful.
There is no way to fall in love with yourself if you set your worth on others’ validations. YOU ARE A RAY OF SUNSHINE, SO OWN IT.
There is a process God is taking you through. He is holding you in His hand. He has so much love for you. You are a creation of His. He knows all the good, bad, ugly and still welcomes you home.
Body positivity is not just a movement for me, it is a lifestyle. It is an everyday thought process to be kind to myself and others. Body positivity makes me a better person. Loving my vessel for what it is — stretch marks, crooked nose, lazy eye, cellulite, varicose veins and all. I love this home that houses my soul. It takes daily practice to be kind. It took a lot of notes on my mirror to remind myself my worth and value is not based on the numbers on the scale. I no longer weigh myself on the relationship I have with gravity, partially because it is a trigger for me — and secondly, the way I feel is so much more important.
I share this with you from the bottom of my heart, with watery eyes and a hope-filled soul, that I can always help at least one person with my words. I pray daily God is using me for the good in the world, spreading His light with my story.
If you're struggling and read this, I hope you know you can always message me on Instagram, email me, PM me, DM me, anything. I am always willing to listen and share the little tips and tricks I have learned over the last couple of years.
Nicole is a full-time Patient Care Tech at a hospital in the lovely town of Flagstaff, Arizona. She loves a good cup of tea and spending time outdoors breathing in the mountain air. You can find her cuddling her cat, spending time with Jesus, and running her Instagram blog.