My Body and I


Zach Darby, Writer

Growing up, I was never a skinny kid. By the time I was 13, I weighed in at 150 pounds, and 180 by the time I was 15. It was always the norm for me. When my friends weighed in at 80 or 90, I thought they were the ones out of place. When I saw more and more kids their size, I soon started to realize that maybe I was the one out of place. Eventually, I joined the world of social media. I saw all these perfect celebrities and TikTok stars with lean bodies and sculpted muscles. When I got into things like Marvel, I saw all these heroes in skin-tight suits without any imperfections in sight.

As my worldview expanded, I felt more and more out of place. Like there was something “wrong” or “off” about me. At the pool, I would wear swim shirts that gave me rashes just so I didn’t have to show my body to anyone. I wore baggy clothes to avoid revealing my shape. But those feelings didn’t stop there. When I entered high school, I tried many different activities. One of those was sports such as cross country. I thought it to be a way to improve my mental health, along with my physical health. When I saw how mediocre I was compared to the athletes, I felt worse and worse about myself. While everyone else was comfortable running with shirts off, I kept mine on no matter how excruciatingly hot it got. I could barely run half a mile, while all the other guys could run five or six miles with no effort. 

Instead of keeping at it, I gave up. I was unaware that things took time because I saw stories of celebrities losing 20, maybe 30 pounds in weeks using these miracle methods. As I heard of these methods, I felt like a failure for not having what it takes to eat barely anything, to work out until I drop, to make my life horrible simply for the sake of having the “perfect” body. I blamed my missed opportunities on my looks, “maybe I could’ve gotten this part if I was a little thinner,” or, “maybe if I were more muscular, I would’ve gotten a partner by now.”

In reality, while I thought the exact opposite, these standards are unrealistic, and it took me a very long time to come to terms with that. Sometimes I still struggle with body positivity, but I remind myself that any progress is good progress, any food is better than not eating at all, and to be thankful for what my body does, instead of what it doesn’t. I may not be able to run six miles, but I can get myself up and around school all day every day. I may not be able to climb three flights of stairs without getting tired, but I can climb up and down the school stairs every day no matter how tired I get. I may not be able to climb hills for long periods of time, but I can still sit and watch the sunset. There are many things I can’t do, but I just have to remember what I can do.