How to Love your Body - Just as it is!
Strong is the New Beautiful is a series of articles written by Akushla Emma De Silva showcasing her strides sport and education. Her journey to success is one to be inspired by. This is the last of the five series articles. Read the first, second, third, and fourth.
As a young girl, insecurities can dominate your life and take control of the things you love to do. Sports is a big activity that gets impacted from insecurity and social pressures such as, “I am too small/weak to do sports” or the opposite, “Sports are making me look big and hefty and less feminine.” These thoughts are sad and disheartening, but are very common to girls and woman all over the world. Any activity we choose to do should not be confined to a box of social norms. Sports, especially, should give strength and inspiration throughout your life and shouldn’t be something that makes you doubt yourself and your body.
For me, I was accustomed to the joy of sports from a very young age. Being thrown into various types of sports gave me a lot of tools at such a young age from friendships to creating team goals and to develop a competitive edge. I discovered that what you do out there in your sport is strong and empowering, not masculine and diminishing. I tried out multiple sports until I found one that fit, but throughout this journey I found out a lot about myself that I would not have known if it wasn’t for the sports I had done. I found out that it was hard for me to physically focus my body and mind together and that I would need to concentrate, both physically and mentally, to do what I needed to do. I also found out that I am a natural leader and finding this out through sports gave me confidence to be able to use it in the real world. Finding myself made me own my strengths and own the woman that I am destined to be. Owning the bits and parts of yourself that make you who you are and help with what you do is the ultimate peace you can attain with your body. Insecurities and self-doubt can rule your world, but choosing to own them and accept them for what they do for you let the strong beautiful woman that you are, shine.
Throughout my sports journey, I have looked for inspiration to help guide me through my journey. One of my biggest sports inspirations is Carissa Moore, a professional surfer who is a 6 time World Tour Champ. The professional surfing industry is filled with women who are very beautiful and sexy and wear revealing swimwear and what not. This also makes it a huge target for people to comment on their bodies and not see them as the strong athletes they are. Carissa decided to accept her body and ignore the negative comments, focusing on using her body as her tool for competition. I feel similarly to Carissa with track and field. Most of the runners and jumpers are very tiny and fit-looking and it can be intimidating to be on the same team as people much smaller than you. But like Carissa, I’ve learned to own my body and the things it does for me. If not for my bigger frame, I would not have been able to accomplish the things that I have done in throwing. I am thankful for my frame and long levers, along with the confidence I have found to be able to own and thank them for all that they've done for me. I know that none of the runners on my team are able to do what I do out there and vice versa and that in itself is something everyone on my team can be proud of. When people start to compare and stereotype you, it begins to take a toll. Sometimes I would think, if I stopped working out and eating in the matter I do, then I could be very lean and skinny. But I know that this isn’t what my body was made for and I have learned to appreciate rather than denounce that. Body positivity has never been more important than right now and I encourage for everyone to seek out this acceptance with yourself and see the changes it can make in your life. Accepting your body’s capabilities is the first step towards a healthier and more fulfilling future.