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THAT WAS THEN.

Fat, hairy, and spotted. It seemed like everything that could possibly be wrong with a body was wrong with mine. Everyone else had lost their baby fat; why hadn’t I? I had fat chubby cheeks, monster thighs that shook when I walked, calves that would not fit into any size of skinny jeans, not to mention stretch marks, and stomach rolls. My entire body felt heavy, flabby, lethargic, like I was always dragging around extra baggage that weighed every part of me down. My face was blotchy, acne-ridden, peeling and oily, no matter how many treatments or creams I tried. My hair was too thick, littered with split ends, dull black, and dandruff-y. It also grew everywhere and persisted in waging war against all my razors. I dreaded gym, the only place I would wear shorts until well into high school. I took pictures only with my sunglasses on, mouth closed to avoid showing my braces, and I could not imagine a day when I would feel entitled to wear a bikini.

THIS IS NOW.

I am hourglass shaped, with wide hips and a high waistline defining my curves. I wear high-waisted skirts to accent them. I have rosy apple cheeks, big bright eyes, near-perfect teeth, and full lips. My legs are firm from dancing and running, and I’ve stopped bothering to shave their resilient hairs. Curiously, they have stopped trying to resist me and only poke out half-heartedly every now and then. My hair is shorter, framing my face instead of hiding it. I wear tank tops and even ran in a sports bra the other day when I forgot my gym shirt. I don’t hide in pictures or shudder at my reflection, and for the first time in my life, my body feels more worthy of love than that of any Barbie I’ve ever owned.

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