Finding My Strength | Teen Ink

Finding My Strength

December 15, 2017
By ShastaH GOLD, Olympia, Washington
ShastaH GOLD, Olympia, Washington
17 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Being a woman. It often means thousands of different things. Yes, there are certain physical traits that are often associated with being a “female”, but I challenge you to look past those initial features, and instead delve deeper into the true emotional and spiritual power that we women possess.

Time and time again, I hear young women and girls talk about how they would change their bodies, and the different measures that they would take to achieve that perfect and beautiful body that would somehow carry them to success. I know - it sounds pretty ridiculous. However, this extremely unhealthy way of thinking is something that I see continuously repeated again and again in women and girls throughout the world.

I, as a young woman who has experienced some of theses exact struggles, understand the mindset that can overcome people. I know what it feels like to compare yourself to the girls around you and be one hundred percent certain that you despise what you look like. I know the feeling of disgust, you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror, and the eye of your own scrutiny that you subject yourself to.

For years and years, throughout all of middle school, and partially into highschool, this struggle with my body image has plagued me. It is like a shadow that arises whenever I start to doubt myself. Never once have I thought that it was a bad thing, in fact I saw it as something that motivated me to maintain my fit build. Now, looking back on it, I realize the unhealthy and emotionally draining actions that I took to ensure that I was the “best” physical version of myself. There are so many regrets that I have, and it hurts to think that women and girls continue to go through that everyday.

For me, my saving grace was running. As soon as I joined cross - country I realized that I could not be selfish and deprive my body of the nutrients that it needs. When I run, I feel powerful, and I know that I am truly helping not just my body - but my soul. There is almost a euphoric feeling that in my mind, is associated with running. At first, I must admit running created huge obstacles that I had to overcome. In fact, my first state meet as a freshman, I passed out due to the choices I had made all season. In that moment, when I felt myself being shaken, but couldn’t move or even open my eyes, that was when I knew I had to make a change.

I remember for the first time, being scared for my health. Before that, I had never thought that my eating decisions would lead to something as drastic as blacking out. But every minute since then, I have been obsessed with getting strong. Truly strong. The feeling of complete power and happiness that I now feel when I run is the closest describable thing to heaven. It forces me to embrace who I am and instead of worrying about how I look, I go deeper and try to understand what I feel.

There is so much more to people, and more specifically women, than their physical appearance, and my only hope is that each and every woman and girl out there can discover their inner strength to thrive in the life that they lead.

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