Let’s get one thing clear: I think I’m awesome, and worth taking care of. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t really love myself. I want to, I really, really do. But I don’t yet.

I’ve always grown up hearing about how girls from my generation have a lot of pressure to feel thin and beautiful, and I’ve always kind of understood that that was wrong, but it never made me feel any better about myself. Now, I haven’t always hated how I look. I can often distract myself with something else to forget about it momentarily, and I definitely have days where I feel awesome without even needing a distraction. But that’s definitely not the norm.

I don’t know if it’s internalized from growing up around all of these photoshopped ads of super models or being preached to about miracle diet fads, I just know how I feel now. I’ve tried so hard to like how I look, but maybe I haven’t really been trying that hard at all. My round stomach, my bingo wings, my cellulite thighs, it all needs to go. And I can tell myself that I’m working out to be healthy, and yeah, sure, being healthy would be great, but it’s a lie. It’s the one lie I tell myself, because I just can’t claim I’m trying to work out to be healthy and love myself enough to mean it.

To be clear, I don’t have a problem with bigger girls. Sure, if we’re talking societal hive mind, I do often see a picture of a woman and instantly pick apart each and every way that she isn’t conventionally attractive. I don’t mean to, I just do it without thinking. I now catch myself when I do this, though, and try to change my mindset into thinking of why this woman is beautiful regardless of her “flaws”. I can do that, and I believe it. Every girl has something beautiful about her, even me.

I try that exercise that body confident people tell you to do, where you stand in front of the mirror and list out loud five things you like about yourself. I can do it, and I might feel better momentarily, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not good enough for me to have a pretty face, to have nice hair, to have proportionate curves in the right places. It doesn’t change any of the things I don’t like, the things I can’t accept. I want to accept them. I mean in reality, I am nowhere at the end of the spectrum, and even if I was, why would it matter? Why does this matter so much to me???

I know that intelligence is more important. I know that honor and dignity and bravery are what matters. I know that I have so much more going for me. I don’t care. I would never give up my intelligence, but I also don’t want to hate myself, and if I can’t love myself as I am, then I have to work hard enough to be someone I can love. I can’t…

I can’t stay the way I am. Physically or mentally. Only I know my one big flaw in my plan (and that’s not that I’m horrible at losing weight): if I can’t love myself enough now, why would I love myself any more if I lose weight? I’m still going to be picking apart my flaws. The problem is within, so that’s where the change has to happen, because beauty truly isn’t just skin deep.

So, if you’re struggling out there with loving who you are physically, now you for sure know you’re not alone. It’s kind of embarrassing for me to admit something so personal like this, but it’s been weighing on my mind lately and I needed to let someone know that I’m trying, but it’s not easy. I honestly don’t know where this story will go. Hopefully it has a happy ending. I’ll let you know.