Allie M. Wassum, 30, Boston, MA

This year, as part of our Take Back The Beach program, we are asking YOU to tell us about your experiences with body talk and self-perception. Below, one reader's story.

"Buy The Right Size And Get Comfortable"

Where do I even begin with my body? We live in a world of extremes, but not just when it comes to living, but also when it comes to working and taking care of our families and renovating our homes and caring for our pets and participating in the community. It's always 100%. God forbid we give less than that.
I've struggled with my weight for many years. And when I say "struggle," I mean I've lived a life of being depressed when I weighed 150 pounds and when I weighed 108. To me, there was nothing too thin, and honestly everything was too fat.
I don't want to blame the world, because it's the same world that's given me therapy and chocolate and coffee and my dog, Lucy. But it's also the world that made me constantly feel too thick, no matter what size I was wearing. It's a world where me at my thinnest still isn't enough, and a world where I was married and talking divorce terms in less than a year.
I tried to control everything. I gave myself eating rules, exercise rules, rules, rules, rules. Living a life with so many restrictions ended up making me feel just that — restricted. This restriction kept me from remembering what being happy felt like, and led me to accepting behaviors that were unacceptable from some of the people around me and settling for a life built around mistrust and false hopes.
The thing is, you can't predict life. Lord knows you have very little control over it. But you can embrace it. Embrace yourself. You'll never fully know what makes you happy. But I can guarantee you that there isn't a size in the world that can make you smile from within.
No matter what my size, I've learned that if you're wearing the wrong size of jeans, buy a new pair. Being comfortable in your clothes is the first step to making yourself feel comfortable in your own skin and eventually building an entire life that's comfortable.
#TakeBackTheBeach essays are meant to reflect individual women's experiences. They have only been lightly edited (if at all) by Refinery29 and do not necessarily reflect the company's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
Have a story of body image and self-perception that you want to share? Submit your essay to our Take Back The Beach contest here.

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