#MyBodyStory is a series of reader submitted pieces about what it’s like to live in your body. The opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory articles are the writer’s own.

Do you have a story to share? Send it to [email protected]

Because every body has a story. And every story deserves to be heard.

And now, without further ado, here is Sam’s Body Story:

Trigger Warning : Abuse

When I was a young child I used to see my body as damaged goods.

I would look in the mirror and absolutely hate my reflection, and I never understood why I looked at my body like it was the root of all my issues and pain. It seemed like the one connection to the miserable life I was living, the link to it all, was my body. I’d examine each part of myself and compare it to every other girl around me. My smile wasn’t as nice, or my breasts were too small. My belly was too big and my hips were child bearing. People even told me my complexion was too light. I didn’t see others with acne, an my thighs touched and rubbed in my always too tight jeans.

I spent a lot of my energy finding new ways to bring myself down despite my bubbly attitude to friends or strangers. Because I was always so eager to please everyone, even if it meant hurting myself.

I didn’t want to disappoint another person with my body.

I didn’t realize it then, but as an adult, I see where those feelings came from. Abuse changes you. It changes your mind, your heart, your soul. It is toxic to every inch of your body, and some people can’t move past it. Some dive into drugs or alcohol and they lose themselves because of the abuse they endured. Especially if you went through it all alone and never told a soul for so long, like I did.

While I never fell into the dark world of substance abuse, I willingly got into all the wrong relationships growing up. Seeing your mother beaten and staying with all the wrong men, I was subconsciously drawn to the cruel cycle of a dysfunctional life. So many parents underestimate how their life choices will affect their children, whether you see it happening to your children or not.

I spent my most innocent years of my life being violated. I was told that my body was not my own and I slept in a constant state of fear. Maybe it began to feel normal so it got easier for me to cope. It was routine. It was my routine. It was my life. Sometimes I remember leaving my body and I would feel. Not only from the abuse, but from my own judgments because I had become my own worst enemy. Everything that was happening to me was my fault. Every part of my body was responsible for every action done to it.

I wasn’t numb to the world…I was very much alive. Just not alive enough to be aware of the pain my body was subjected to.  

But eventually life did get better.

I made a lot of poor choices during that time of my life. And I own them all while also understanding that the abuse shaped who I am today. I am 26 years old, and in my life the relationships I’ve sought after have only offered me the same abuse I endured in my childhood. It was only after I became pregnant with the man I married who then mentally, verbally and physically abused me, that I knew I had to break the cycle I was trapped in.

Three months after finding out I was going to be a mother, I left him.  

I was granted an order of protection after the constant stalking and an incident of him trying to break into my home. I felt free again even though my anxiety was at an all time high. I was free and my child would now not have to live the same life I did. I’ve always said that my child saved me. I was weak, I was distracted, and my heart was terrified of being alone, but the minute I felt those first kicks and the moment I heard my child’s heartbeat, I knew they deserved better and that I would do anything in my power to give them a better life.

The journey to loving myself has not been an easy one. In fact, I have had way more bad days than good ones, but I’m always trying and I’m always making an effort to prove to myself that I’m worth so much more than hate.

I know I’ll never be a size two. When I decided to create an Instagram for my poetry and to spread body positivity, it was a scary moment for me. I had flashbacks of my junior high school days being called an elephant because I was the biggest and tallest girl in class. Or being made fun of because I wore all black with baggy pants and heavy dark eyeliner.

The journey to loving myself has not been an easy one. In fact, I have had way more bad days than good ones, but I’m always trying and I’m always making an effort to prove to myself that I’m worth so much more than hate.

I was called fat, ugly and weird so many times that those three words became dirty and triggering to me. As if those qualities were the worst things someone could be. But regardless, they stuck with me throughout my school years in the back of my mind. I could never accept a compliment without believing it was a lie, or that someone had a hidden agenda.

My mind has never fully been at rest, and sometimes even today the insecurities eat me up. But sharing my work online has been an even bigger motivational force. It has pushed me out of my protective bubble because I’d never shared my poetry before, not even with my family.

I always thought the worst and prepared for the worst, but the response to my vulnerability and story has been amazing. There are so many supportive and encouraging people out there, that it has been a breath of fresh air. I do my best in every image or poem I share. I am completely open because in my truth is the only place I want want to be, and knowing I can help others cope with their trauma and body image issues, has been one of the best rewards of doing the work I do, and it’s been one of the biggest factors in my journey towards self love.

Because while we’re all built differently and live different lives, we share one very common thing: at some point in our lives, our insecurities make us question our self worth, and it will hold us back.  

For me, admitting that perfection doesn’t exist but I’m perfect the way I am, means something that 18 year old me would never have believed. I am beautiful and society’s view on beauty shouldn’t be so linear after all.

Thank you,


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