Hi! My name is Stephanie Newrones. I am 23 and a recent college graduate. I remember reading Michelle Leahy’s post for ReelChat back in April and being in awe of her vulnerability. She is a good friend of mine and I was inspired by her story to share my own.
I want to take you back to high school. Aren’t those years so difficult? I remember it being a time of many highs and lows. I did not have much confidence, especially with dating. There was a time when I was super into this one guy. Things seemed to be going well until one night I received a text late at night from him, calling me ugly, fat, and a few other vulgar words. He then told me he wanted nothing to do with me. I remember being in shock and having to hold it together because I was in the car with my parents. I didn’t want to show how upset I was and them ask questions. Being young and naïve, I believed and hung on to every word he said. These words haunted me. In my mind I clearly needed to change my physical appearance in order to find love. Fast forward to college. It was wonderful to have a fresh start with new people from different areas away from my ex, however the negative thoughts surrounding my body would continue to creep in over the next 4 years. There would be days when I would look in the mirror and hate myself. I’d immediately go to the gym or go for a run in the surrounding neighborhood. Other days, I would eat salads or low carb foods before going out, knowing full well I’d be drinking. I saw many other girls getting plenty of attention from practically starving themselves on the weekends so why not give it a try? I unknowingly was using these bad habits as coping mechanisms for the immense insecurity I felt about myself. I did not consistently have this mindset, but when it came creeping back, it lasted for some time. I didn’t date a lot in college and when I thought I was going to be finally locked down with one person, he said school had to be his main priority. I later found out there was another girl. This made my confidence plummet. The silver lining was I had such incredible friends and housemates who saw me for me and really helped to lift me up. They helped me change my way of thinking. COVID hit during my last year of college so I made the decision to move home once my lease was up in May 2020. I felt this was the best way to finally clear my mind of all the toxic thoughts I could not seem to get past.
Turns out moving home is exactly what I needed! My toxic and destructive thoughts started fading and becoming rare. February 2021 was when everything clicked. I remember having a conversation with a guy I had known for a few years. I remember telling him that he never compliments me. He then proceeded to compliment me on everything physical, like my eyes, chest, waist, smile, white teeth, etc. I made a comment along the lines of, “I am also funny!” He laughed. This was when everything clicked. There is way more to me than just what meets the eye. I am funny, adventurous, outgoing, helpful, and motivated. We as women do not need others only commenting on our physical appearance and acting as if that is the greatest compliment we can receive. If someone does not see you for who you are as a human being, you do not need to waste your time and energy trying to teach them your worth. After that moment, my confidence soared. I would wake up every morning and look in the mirror, reminding myself that I am a queen. It truly has changed my entire outlook. I am now not afraid to eat a whole meal before going out in fear that I will be bloated, nor do I worry about what someone might think of my clothes. I stopped comparing myself to other girls and instead started loving the way I looked. I started owning who I am and what I did and never looked back. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I start feeling insecure, but I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am capable of anything and everything. I never liked sharing my feelings because I felt people didn’t care. However, writing has always been an outlet for me and a place where I could be honest and vulnerable. Thank you ReelChatters for listening and remember you are all queens!