My favorite movie right now is Frances Ha, a film about a 28-year-old woman who has a little trouble growing up and finding someone she truly loves. The movie could very easily be turned into a movie all about a landing a guy, but instead it’s about friendship and taking your time to develop into the woman you dream of being.
I bring this movie up because when I think of what I have learned this semester as the intern for I Will Not Diet, it’s that friends are so important. It’s easy to pretend that I love myself all by myself, but that’s not the truth. The truth is we all have good and bad days, and there is something that keeps a lot of us going even on the bad days.
Some of the people I have talked with while working on The Real You Project have told me stories about how they grew to love themselves. Many of the stories and advice they give reinforce the importance of friendship.
Regardless of the importance of having a positive body-image, I have been not so nice to my own self-esteem lately. It is easy to tell others how beautiful they are and be completely honest about it. It’s not so easy to tell yourself that. That is where I am in life. I can say a hundred mirror mantras, wear the cutest clothes, and take a million selfies but something is still missing. Part of it is loneliness and that goes hand in hand with the fear of never finding someone who loves curvy bodies as much as I want to love my own. Part of it is isolation as well as separating myself from the people and things that make me feel pretty and happy.
After being down for a while I just got out of the apartment. I went to a few parties. I talked with wonderful people.
It was like magic.
I still am not in the best mood about how I look, but the change that took place was drastic. For the first time in my life I was having conversations with people I barely knew, and I was smiling authentically.
The medicine that got me to that point was friendship.
It sounds clichéd, but at the end of the day returning home to an empty house with mirrors everywhere and nobody to talk to can get exhausting. Whenever there is someone there who is willing to watch silly horror movies on Netflix and eat cheese-sticks and fried mushrooms, it can turn a bad day into something great.
I have learned that sometimes a good friend is the best antidote to a low self-esteem, and a best friend is the only thing that can boost a Monday.
—By Leah Railey