Sometimes I think of insecurity like an appendix. It's something every human being has, but no one seems to know what purpose it serves. It sits inside us, ever-present but generally ignored. Only when it swells with inflammation do we pay attention. If left untreated, this tiny piece of us will burst and flood the body with poison. An appendix can kill you if you don't take it out.
That's where my metaphor falls apart. Unless there's some hot new neurosurgery I haven't heard about, there is just no excising insecurity. We are all prone to self-doubt of some kind, and if left unchecked, it can take over our lives and become a true impediment. Insecurity is a chronic part of the human condition, and there is no cure. So, how about this:
Let's stop trying to get rid of insecurity and start getting good and comfortable with it.
I asked six people to share their physical insecurities on camera and in interviews — showing off the parts they've always hidden. Of course, insecurity isn't limited to body shame; it plagues us all in different ways. We all have something that we'd like to hide or that we wish was different. The grass is always greener on someone else's ass, if I may use another imperfect metaphor.
But the funny thing (or, maybe the tragic thing) is that when we actually say it out loud, the thing we're so ashamed of seems ridiculous — or at least not so important. And more often than not, we're the only ones who see it. The people in these photos spoke of deep humiliation and hurt over bits and pieces of themselves, but when I see them, I see only them. And, when interviewed about the arms and legs and bellies that brought them such shame, each of these people laughed at least once, well aware of the innate ridiculousness of insecurity. But, there were some tears as well. That's insecurity's double-edged magic.
Perhaps we can't choose to stop being insecure, but we can choose to stop hiding. That's what I mean when I say: Let's get good and comfortable with this discomfort. Like these six brave and ordinary people, let's stop hiding behind closed curtains and get out there in the daylight — arms and legs and bellies and all. Let's tell the big secret we've all been keeping. It will still be there, a part of us forever. But, it won't be a secret anymore.
The Anti-Diet Project is an ongoing series about intuitive eating, rational fitness, and body positivity. You can follow my journey on Twitter and Instagram at @mskelseymiller or #antidietproject (hashtag your own Anti-Diet moments, too!). Got a question — or your own Anti-Diet story to tell? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.