Self Love

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Acosta (@fromabolivian)

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Acosta (@fromabolivian)

Good afternoon champs! I am currently on my lunch break jamming some salt and vinegar chips down my throat, and I thought to myself what better time to discuss self-love than the present.

I've spoken about my issues with my body briefly on social media and to close friends and family. As far I know I haven't shown the nitty gritty details of it on my blog, rather I've briefly touched the surface of self-love. Honestly, I've always been a little bit hesitant about discussing this part of my life so publicly as it showcases a part of myself I often hide from the world around me. I don't know, I think it makes me human. Additionally, I think it's important to share a story that transcends a good chunk of my life.

I am going to go back to the beginning. 

I was 10 the first time someone called me chubby. I remember walking into class with a really punny shirt on and feeling hilariously awesome when a boy told me I shouldn't be wearing shirts that tight. My 23-year-old self is saying, fuck that dude he doesn't know shit, do you boo boo, yet my 10-year-old self grabbed at her clothes and tried to hide the parts this little nugget didn't deem acceptable. 

Fast forward a couple years and I'm 14, healthy and feeling great. I'm running cross country, playing volleyball and eating whatever I want because my ass is in the gym more times than not. While my body isn't perfectly toned, it's good enough for me. To be real, I've always had a little gut. I call it my rice belly because I eat a lot of rice and it looks like a bag of rice you pick up from the Asian market. Not the point though, the point is I was healthy. Yet little boys kept trying me. I remember being referred to as the chubby twin throughout high school. As much as you try to brush past it, stuff like that starts to seep into your brain when you've heard it enough times.

Photo courtesy of Leah Robson (@leahbakesapplepie)

Photo courtesy of Leah Robson (@leahbakesapplepie)

Somewhere during my senior year of high school, I became obsessive and fell off the deep end. I worked out twice a day, burning double the calories I was consuming. I calorie counted everything to a point that I knew how many calories every stick of gum and a mint had. I stepped on the scale multiple times throughout the day and allowed it to be the deciding factor of my meals. If the number wasn't something I felt comfortable with, I simply didn't eat. I must have dropped 4-5 pants sizes in about a month, which equated to 30-40 lbs. I stopped going out with friends because I was tired of the constant questions. My menstrual cycle stopped for 9 months, which is insane and I later figured out it was my body slowly starting to shut down on itself. I lost a majority of the muscle mass I had attained through years of working out and I still wasn't satisfied... there was always more weight to be lost, more inches to be shaved off.  

I don't even really know what pulled me out of it the first time, but I do remember it lasted about two years. I eventually found a little self-love and started eating again with a normal workout regime. I put on about 10 lbs and while it destroyed me internally at first, I refused to let my life be dictated by the scale again.  I sat at this weight for another year or so, feeling healthy and somewhat happy, but there were always short bursts of time where I fell back into the rabbit's hole. Bursts where I would pinch and pull at my fat and skin and wonder why I wasn't beautiful. 

My weight dropped again in 2015 as I used extreme dieting as a way to take control. There were some days when all I ate was a handful of banana chips because I worked 12-hour shifts. On days when I wasn't working, I consumed just enough to power through strenuous hikes and runs. I wouldn't say I was unhappy with my body, rather I was unhappy with the current state of my life as it felt like chaos consumed the air around me. I remained at this weight until I April of 2016 when I left for Indonesia. 

Photo courtesy of  Nicolette Daskalakis Photography (@iconicostyle)

Photo courtesy of  Nicolette Daskalakis Photography (@iconicostyle)

Throughout my time in Indonesia, I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and my only consistent workout was morning yoga. All of the stresses I felt in L.A and Atlanta didn't exist in Bali. I focused a lot on self-love, meditation, and mindfulness.  I low key spent two months eat, pray, loving like there was no tomorrow. Yet when I returned to L.A. none of my clothes fit. It turns out eating gelato and fried rice every day tends to make the ole waistline expand. Devastation and frustration consumed my body for a few weeks and I combatted both feelings with morning affirmations.

Fast forward a couple months and I am in Joshua Tree with my friend Vanessa. With a strong urge to run naked through the desert, I stripped down as she took photos of me. At first, I felt awkward. I didn't know how to pose my body in a way that showcased my best features. Yet over the next 48 hours, I would slowly fall in love with my body. The photographs and being naked in the desert with a bad ass lady empowered me! 

Since then I've participated in a handful of nude photoshoots and I spend whatever time I can naked with mother earth. I don't know, there's just a simplicity to being at my rawest form and there's also something incredibly empowering about finally loving the skin you're in. I wake up feeling like a goddess. How fucking incredible is that? My little tiny rolls and cellulite don't bother me and that's such a weight lifted off my shoulders. I celebrate that shit now because it's a part of my physical being, but it does not define me or my beauty. 

My first year in L.A. has been a lot of things, but the journey to loving the skin I'm in has been the greatest one thus far. 

So yeah, that's my story of self-love in a nutshell. The story isn't as light and airy as I made it seem. If anything, it was an exhausting journey filled to the rim with self-deprecation and hate. I internally carried around so much negativity I don't know how I formed an authentic smile on my face. All I know is I'm in a better place now and my journey has taught me a lot. 

Keep on keepin' on champs!

Casha DoemlandComment