I moved to New York a little over one month ago. So far, I love my job, I like my apartment, I enjoy the food and, despite the many warnings I received prior, I have already made some very, very snazzy friends. I don’t mind commuting and I’ve even been able to visit my parents in Central NY, more visits than I ever was able to manage in such a short timespan throughout my last five years on the West Coast. The only thing that has been really stressful, in all honesty, is the deep and unsettling feeling that I am not pretty enough to live here.
While I’ve always been a pretty self-conscious person, the last few years have seen me become stronger, more self-aware, happier and able to value the things that truly matter — my accomplishments, my integrity, my work ethic, my independence. Although I do not value others based on their looks, it takes a fair amount of effort not to base my own self-worth on that, especially since I moved here.
I have gained some weight over the past year and a half — a change I was actually pretty comfortable with prior to moving here. Due to my eating disorder and other health stuff, I’ve been bouncing between 115 and 155 for several years, so I wasn’t too upset about my weight increase. It was neither here nor there; it was just a fact of life, and I was okay with that because I was focused on finishing college, then trying to start a career, as well as friendships and familial relationships and relocating cross-country three times.
This weight gain experience started in California during my senior year of college in early 2012. At the time, I had friends surrounding me constantly, I was seeing a rather attractive ex of mine and there were excellent trips and celebrations to be had every weekend. I was fine with how I looked, and even when I wasn’t, it didn’t really bother me all that much.
When I migrated to Portland some months later, I was working from home and rarely saw anybody besides new friends. Plus, from my brief experience, Portland people don’t seem to emphasize looks as much. I literally never heard snarky comments about how other people looked from those I met there about friends, strangers or anybody else.
But then I moved to Manhattan and suddenly, I feel terrible about myself. Just…terrible. All the time.