A. Crouse

Ava Crouse.jpg

After quitting ballet and gaining weight, I began to literally hate myself. My body confidence was at an all time low. I felt uncomfortable at the beach, probably my favorite place and I think that’s the part that made me the most sad. I didn’t want to wear the clothes I thought were cute because I felt like I didn’t have the body for it. I would judge my body in the mirror every single night. I did not feel comfortable in public and thought everyone was looking at me and thinking how fat I was. And I felt like my old friends and loved ones thought I was fat and were talking behind my back. The hardest part of this experience has been not being able to accept and love yourself , meaning closing your heart to anyone’s love. I felt alone, hideous, and unworthy.

As far as how I’ve handled it, my situation is a little funny. Ironically, some of the people I followed on social media helped me the most, such as Ashley Graham (@theashleygraham), Kate Was (@katewas_), Iskra (@iskra), and @any.body_co. Also opening up to my friends, especially my friend Audrey Cardinal, and having them tell me that I was beautiful helped me so much. Sometimes I just had to throw myself into a situation and find confidence along the way. For example, getting into a bikini and going to the beach.

When it came to sharing this on social media on my personal account, I didn’t want my family to know and I didn’t want to be that “annoying girl” who rants on social media. News flash, those girls aren’t annoying; they are amazing and courageous and inspirational. I think people just don’t think they care, but if your followers don’t care, they don't deserve to be following you. I am trying to subtly share my newfound and growing self confidence, and I’m definitely not the person to post a picture and be like “hey this is me and this is what I’m going through” I just post pictures that I feel confident in even if my stomach doesn’t look perfectly flat or if there is cellulite. It’s natural and it’s beautiful. I think that being subtle about it feels safe, but can be overlooked.

During my hardest time of low self-confidence, most of my pictures were throwbacks to when I was still dancing. I also began posting way less because I didn’t have any new pictures that I felt pretty enough in. I used to post at least once a week and it went to once a month or less. And I actually have shared my story on social media and the pictures that I have been posting have been receiving so much love that I was never expecting.

If I had the opportunity to talk to someone going through a similar experience, I would tell them three main things: You are worthy. You are beautiful. Confidence doesn’t happen overnight but don’t give up.

Ava C-IG.jpg
Asia Croson