As a young girl, I never liked what I saw in the mirror. My ears stuck out (and still do), I had uneven skin, was under developed and had a mid section that giggled when I wasn’t moving. I was insanely insecure and desperately wished I could be any one of my skinny friends. Even the really mean ones that cut class and would make fun of me in front of everyone. Not only did this snowball into a bigger issue and go beyond weight and a few pimples. It turned into a life long struggle and when social media started to become the hot new way to communicate, my inadequacies went viral, so to speak. But I’m not the only one and unfortunately, I’m not the worst case scenario. We have girls and boys growing up in an era where Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are not only telling them what the ideal way to look is, but what the benefits and obvious pitfalls are of being one way over another. Fat girls and chubby boys that don’t look like this new “norm” (skinny waist, a thigh gap, white skin, long hair, perfect facial hair, abs, etc) have it significantly ‘rougher’ than their ‘ideal’ counterparts. And in there lies the beast, roaring in our psyches, giving us the worst pep talks and preparing us for a life of misery and constant self doubt. Television brought us entertainment to enjoy from the comfort of our own homes and allowed us to tap into worlds that took us out of our own and explore the possibilities. Now we are over saturated, over worked and over fed with images of what we should be and need to be in order to thrive in our current world. We are loaded with fantasies, air brushed photos and cropped lives that don’t exist but we want so desperately to have. We are spoon fed lives and in turn, make us so afraid to live ourselves via technology that has not only made it faster to access but also easier to slip into our own personal hells.

We love to hate how attractive every single person we see on social media is and we fail to realize how much it’s all a lie. We secretly want to live their lives and this makes us more disengaged with our own. Our bodies, our hair and the things that we are blessed with become curses and we are obsessed with nipping, tucking and hiding away the unique qualities that make us, us. We are brainwashed into looking like the status quo because it seems to be more attractive to the opposite sex, gross more money, turn more heads and gain more fame and, what I think is the most important reason why we want to leap out of our skin, is love. We expect that if we look a certain way, reach a certain weight, tan our skin the perfect tone, change our hair and eye colour, we will be loved and gain a sense of belonging. We are plagued with a lack of love and because of this, there is an obese spiritual deficit in our society. It’s a disease that no longer affects just affects little girls in their mother’s pearls, it also affect the single mother that can’t see her kids because she works 2 jobs. The mixed race little boy that has no idea who he is but thinks that if he had a 6 pack and expensive jewelry, the world would seem less cruel. It affects the overweight high school kid that just can’t escape her demons and bullies but when she looks at a magazine or sees her Instagram feed or watches her favourite artist, she is transported to a world where none of that exists.

Instead she is floating around in a world where if she just loses 5 more pounds, or dyes her hair or wears a top that exposes a little bit more she can turn those 5 bullies with their harsh comments and complete lack of respect and tolerance to believers and earn their likes, their oh-so-important approval. That maybe on some planet, her and all of her cohorts that feel similarly can finally put to rest the mess in their heads and be loved. But we fail to mention in the fine print that the world does not work like that. That you do not get love and acceptance and respect and loyalty from an outside source, from other people that are trying to tell you otherwise. And especially not from social media and the machine that is made to churn out messages of hatred and inadequacy disguised as self love and acceptance.

I am not the person I am today because I chose to sink deeper into the world that isn’t there. These models, people, skins that have nothing to do with my journey and I didn’t lose over 100 lbs because I opened up a magazine and bought that outfit or that cream or those diet pills. I did it because I chose myself over anyone else. I stopped looking on the other side and chose to water my own grass. I still look at my Instagram and wish my butt was a little tighter and my skin was a little bit tanner, that my hair was a bit longer and my arms were a bit more toned and the list goes on but to connect with what’s real, I have to disconnect with that world. I have to give myself time and room to breathe and ask myself, is that how I want to live my life?

Do I want to constantly look outside for approval and a sense of belonging or do I want to put in the work and know that I belong and love and accept myself for who I am, regardless of my size? I think I’ll take option B.

I’m Seema Kapoor and I use my difference to make a difference by using my gifts, experiences and passion to help people realize and find their own.