Social media is a funny thing. I absolutely am so grateful for social media since it's allowed me to build up my blog and make money from it and being able to connect with my audience on Instagram is crazy cool. But, it has completely and utterly ruined the way I look at myself and has negatively impacted my mindset about my body. I'm twenty-one years old (fourth year of college) and I've been using social media pretty much since it came out, so around 2013-2014. As most of you know, I've grown my audience on Instagram to over 25,000 people and I have about 60,000 monthly views on Pinterest; so lots of eyeballs looking at me and my body constantly. After I moved out of my parents house about a year ago, that's when I started to see my body change. I wasn't getting those healthy, home cooked meals by my mom anymore and I wasn't playing high school sports anymore that had kept me active. I lost most of my muscle and started seeing rolls appear on my body when I slouched or bent over. This is how it all started.
Now, I'm going to acknowledge that I know most people would consider me skinny and I naturally have a slimmer build and I know a lot of people would get mad or frustrated with me for even thinking I was fat or overweight, but that doesn't change how I think about myself. This is part of the reason I've always felt scared to talk about this because people get frustrated with me when I say these things about myself since other people have naturally bigger bodies, but just because someone has it more difficult than you, doesn't mean your problems don't matter. They DO matter. I sit on Instagram and TikTok scrolling and scrolling seeing all of these perfect model bodies dancing and posing. I see millions of these videos. Why do I not look like these girls? My blog is named The BABE Abroad, I need to live up to the standard of what a BABE is! All of these thoughts are zooming in my head constantly. There was this new standard in my head that was socially "acceptable" since I've been seeing all of these beautiful, skinny, toned, muscular bodies. Obviously these thoughts are very wrong, a BABE can be any shape or sized body, but in my head, I held myself to this unreasonable standard of what I wanted my BABE body to look like.
Recently within the last few months, I noticed myself starting to hate photos of myself in bikinis or tight clothes because I didn't look like a "BABE." And I know this is so wrong and distorted of me to feel, but that was how I felt. I know in my brain that a BABE can be any shape or size or look, but my thoughts were so twisted, confused and just wrong. This was when I realized I needed help. I needed to learn to love myself again no matter how my body looks, and I couldn't figure out how to do that on my own. I couldn't even figure out why I felt like this.
I partnered with a new start up company called Dawn. Dawn matches individuals to therapists based on a number of factors such as how much you want to spend, what you want the therapist to have experience in, what type of therapy you think would work best for you, etc. I've seen therapists in the past when I was in high school and a few times through university, but sometimes you go to a session with a therapist and it doesn't work; the therapist doesn't match what you want. So what do you do next? Well, Dawn emails you with different therapists you match with and you can read about what they specialize in and how much they charge and most even offer a free 15 minute consultation to chat and see if it's a good match.
Since we're in a pandemic (thanks Covid-19), I decided I would rather do my therapy sessions from the comfort of my own home. This was my first time doing an online therapy session and I was happily surprised how much I loved it! I had my tissue box close and a warm cup of tea and started my session. The therapist I matched with was perfect for me, she was respectful, asked thought-provoking questions and helped me see certain connections I never saw before. I felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders after my first appointment because I felt like I hadn't told anyone about these feelings except for my close family, so this was big for me. It was my first step.
I'm still a work-in-progress with this issue, and I'll be continuing with the therapist I was matched with through Dawn and hopefully I'll be able to have this mindset restructured in a way that allows me to be happy with how my body looks no matter what I'm wearing. So moral of the story is, don't be like me. Comparing yourself to others was literally the death of me, but I'm working on it. I already feel more of an appreciation from my body after my first appointment; my body has supported me and been there with me through everything and I appreciate having a healthy body as well.
I'm so thankful I was able to find a therapist through Dawn so I can continue working through these obstacles.
If you want to learn more about Dawn and how it all works you can click HERE
Thanks for reading this very long post, if you're still here reading you deserve a medal or something! I've never gotten this personal and vulnerable on here with you guys, so thank you in advance for allowing me to talk about this very personal topic. Always remember you are not alone, you may think you're the only one experiencing something, but I can assure you, other people are experiencing it too and you are never alone.
Alexis • The Babe Abroad
This collaboration with Dawn was a gifted experience, but my opinions and thoughts are always my own.