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The struggle with myself starts at about 6:13 every morning. My feet shuffle against the rug in my room, then glide across the hardwood in the hall, before grazing over the cold tile, reaching my leg out to touch the mat in front of the sink where an indention of my footprints are from standing there so often. I look up above the counter to see a face I do not think I like. Some mornings I stare, soaking in every detail of my face, other mornings I only glance, knowing I will not like what I see. I brush my teeth and wash my face and graze, glide, shuffle until I am in front of my closet. I pull out my selected leggings and t-shirt for the day, glancing down at my stomach as I bend over to get the leggings on. I find myself paralyzed by this view. I just stare and stare, losing track of time.

Now I am late. I finish pulling up the leggings, fight the tightness of a sports bra that I pull over my awkwardly sized boobs, and tug the t-shirt over my head, surely messing up my hair that never seems to be naturally cute the way the other girls’ at school hair is.

The next seven hours is quick glances in the bathroom mirror as I come out of the stall; I don’t want to be “that girl” that stands in front of the shared mirror for too long, she’s annoying.

I work after school until 5:30, so at about 6:10 I get to the gym. I walk the long row of cardio machines with soccer moms getting some alone time and that group of friends training for the marathon. I pick the one machine that doesn’t give you a view of yourself in the mirror. It’s right in the corner. That is my machine. I feel safe there knowing no one is watching me, not even myself. But the strength training gets me, and soon I am watching every movement of my legs and the curve of my back and the position of my arms. I can’t hide forever.

My last and hardest struggle of the day comes a little after 7:30. I wiggle side to side as I peel off my sweaty clothes sticking to my clammy skin. I look in the mirror between removal of every item, each time I feel worse than I did the look before. Eventually I am naked and I stare at myself, evaluating every inch I can see from the mirror above the bathroom counter. I grab and tug at different parts, imagining what I would look like if all this work I did in the gym actually paid off visibly. The thoughts consume my brain and put me in a trance until a noise from the world outside that locked bathroom door breaks my concentration from my body. I turn and take a few steps to the shower, turning the handle until steaming hot water gushes from the head, and step in.

This is a normal day for me.

But not anymore. 2016 will be different. I believe in effecting change at anytime during the year, but now is my time. A new year means a fresh start with the relationship between my body and me. I know it will be hard, I know some days I may slip and stare, I know I still may not wear a bathing suit this summer, but I also know that I can do it. I can end this war within my mind that keeps me from being satisfied with the beautiful body and appearance I (and you!!!) have been given. But don’t let me do this alone, grrls. Let’s make 2016 our year to love ourselves because we sure as hell deserve it.

With love my beautiful humans,

Colleen