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Short Story: "Hiding in plain sight"

Do you dread clothes shopping as much as I do?

If you have ever struggled with body image issues, you may understand how difficult shopping for clothes can be. Trying on outfit after outfit, fixating on the mirror that’s reflecting an image back to you that you don’t like to see. It feels impossible to find clothes that you like when you hate how you look without them.

Growing up, I remember my mom taking me to Kmart to pick out clothes that fit the guidelines of the school uniform that I absolutely despised. Our uniform consisted of skirts and skorts for girls or khaki pants for boys, with the typical school logo collared shirt.

Every year I would pick out khaki pants that were so big I needed a belt, paired with a baggy shirt and a zip-up hoodie that I wore no matter how hot it was outside. I was always the only girl that chose to wear khaki pants.

I did this each year because, for the majority of my young life, my self-esteem was non-existent. I suffered from body dysmorphia and took every measure possible to make my body as invisible as I could. I compared myself to all the girls smaller than me in school and how they looked in their plaid school skirts. I thought I couldn’t be like them because I was too big, too round, and just all around not pretty enough. I was 10, 11, 12, and I hated myself.

Growing up in the early 2000’s didn’t help either when low-rise jeans and waif-like figures were all the rage. I wasn’t just comparing myself to other girls in my school but also to all of the women I saw on TV and in Seventeen Magazine.

I didn’t know so many other people felt the same way I did about myself.

There was no body positivity movement, no resources, and no help.

I suffered in silence for years.

It wasn’t until I found White Pine Center for Healing that I finally got some of the help I desperately needed. Their awareness programs opened my eyes to what was really going on within myself and gave me the tools I needed to change my way of thinking and start to get better.

Thanks to White Pine, I realize that my body is not the problem. I know now that the problem is society’s viewpoint on what bodies “should” look like and how often it is drilled into our heads that we’re not good enough. White Pine taught me how to challenge those messages I see on a daily basis and I don’t let them dictate my happiness anymore.

If I would have been exposed to White Pine’s prevention programming when I was in elementary or middle school, it would have made a world of difference for me. That’s why I will always advocate for early intervention and prevention programs today. I know there are so many young people today that feel like I did when I was their age. They don’t have to go through what I did, or worse.

Please consider supporting the outreach prevention programs that White Pine Center provides to schools, businesses, and families. Your support saves lives.

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