“I was picked on by two boys in 4th grade, they told me I was fat and teased me with cookies. That really turned me upside down. I was very outgoing, social, always talking in classes. I was just me. Then that happened with those two boys and I wasn’t “me” anymore. I was shy, quiet and reserved. I started to have feelings of unworthiness and I got depressed and lonely,” says Emily Vogt.
Emily is a junior at BHS. You might know her as the quiet girl in your class, always the last to be called on by substitute asking if she is here, due to her last name starts with a V. You might also know her as a high school journalist that has many stories in the Hoofprint, as well being an editor on the Hoofprint. You might never know that Emily has dealt with a body image issue for 7 years.
“I’ve dealt with this since I was in 4th grade, I was 10. I’ve always kind of felt shame from the media, ad campaigns, clothing stores, and celebrities. Whether we like it or not those are the people we look up to, we see and we model after them. There have been times I’ve thought about suicide and cutting, and stuff like that, but it’s never gotten that far.
“I think people have this idea in their head that if you work out more and eat healthier you’re going to lose weight, but it’s so much more than that. Our bodies are just so different and for me I’ve always struggled with losing weight. Working out by myself, I’ve never seen results as fast as my friends have. Results don’t come as quick for me for some reason. I haven’t given up to lose weight, but I just have no desire to work out. I don’t snack on junk food all the time and I’m not a couch potato, I do do things. For me it’s just I am who I am. If I have to give up chocolate or bread then life just isn’t worth living.
“I was kind of on the edge for awhile. I was always self conscious of what people thought of me, how I looked. I’d really pay attention to how people would react towards me. I’d over analyze everything and still do sometimes. Someone could give me a certain look, and I would think like, ‘What did I do? Is it what I’m wearing?’ Like everyone was always judging me. A lot of my body issues have stemmed from me just over analyzing and just thinking people see my body first then who I am as a person. So, I do hurt myself sometimes when I over analyze and make myself hold back on things I want to do.
“I have to say that my faith has gotten me through those dark times and my church family too. Each have been critical in my healing process. It’s so cool that He [God] says we were created in His image and it says in the Psalms that He knitted our innermost being in our mother’s womb. That is just so mind boggling to me and it’s such a beautiful reminder for me all the time, that He did make us. I could lose weight and could change, but it doesn’t really matter because He sees me and says, ‘You’re so beautiful and you’re so perfect! And I love you to bits and pieces.’’ I know that I would not be sitting here now if I didn’t know Jesus. Nobody can tell me differently! Nobody can change my mind! I am so thankful for a Father God who’s loves carries us through our own emotional earthquakes, who takes our messes and makes them beautiful messes. I do have my bad days though, where I give into my insecurities. I let them overtake at times, but God is so gracious. His mercies just shower me when I have those days.
“For me talking with my friends and people that have, or had similar issues helps me so much. It shows me I’m not alone, I’m not the only one who deals with these issues. Even though I haven’t gotten to that place that most people I’ve talked to are at, we can still relate. It’s super encouraging for me too because I can just affirm the healing I’ve gotten from Jesus everytime I’m with them. I can only hope they get encouraged every time.
“Finding a support group, or friends that feel the same way as you do, I think helps too. I have a friend who is overweight and I’ve been able to connect with her on so many more levels than I have with anybody. Totally a God thing right there. We’re like sisters, we talk everyday and we see each all the time. Another friend, that I’m so close with, was the last person I thought would start to cut herself and would develop an eating disorder. It’s made me think about how diverse this issue is, it’s an assortment of people of all shapes and sizes.
“I think bigger people in general are more criticized in the media, in society, in the work place. Now there are campaigns that are fighting for equality in the modeling world and fighting for department stores to broaden their sizes for plus size women. Lane Bryant has this campaign saying ‘We’re not angels.’ It’s kind of like a jab at Victoria Secret’s ‘The Perfect Body’ ad campaign. Lane Bryant’s campaign is basically saying we’re not angels, we don’t have perfect bodies, but plus size women are still beautiful women.
“Just having campaigns that support plus sized women, I totally support and I totally love seeing. Issues like this aren’t very in the open, a lot of it is very controversial so we don’t like to talk about it. Although you might not talk about it in the open, it’s still there.
If you need help with depression/anxiety or an eating disorder/body image issue or someone you know needs help visit these websites/hotlines for help: