As A Woman Who Hated My Cellulite, I Went On A Mission To Learn To Love It

    You can't spell "cellulite" without "u lit."

    If you have cellulite, you’re probably part of the 98% of women who have it, which means — congrats! — you're hella normal.

    But in a world where magazines scream, "Hey! Your body is disgusting!!" at you on a daily basis, it certainly doesn't make you feel normal.


    And when medical organizations like Mayo Clinic list cellulite as a "disease" and call it "embarrassing," that certainly doesn't help either.

    Because we've been programmed to think a certain type of body fat is bad, we live in a constant cycle of cellulite shaming that we do to each other and ourselves, and — as a person that has lived with it their entire adult life — I went on a mission to start loving my cellulite once and for goddamn all.

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    I spent the majority of adulthood hiding my body under long dresses, pants, and long sleeves — even if it meant sweating a shitload in the middle of summer — because, yes, unrealistic Photoshopped images of women and a lifetime of body shaming ruined me this much.

    I've also ranged from a size 6 to a size 16, and — surprise! — even if you lose weight, the cellulite doesn't go away.

    But recently, I had an awakening and realized covering up my cellulite only perpetuates the idea that women should be ashamed of their bodies so I said, "Fuck it," and decided to face my worst fear: putting my cellulite on blast for the world to see. Here's how it went down.

    The first day showing my cellulite was fucking HARD. I wore this outfit to work and every time I looked down at my thighs I almost burst into tears despite my co-workers telling me I looked great. I couldn't truly believe I looked OK, and that was a problem.

    Later in the evening, though, I went to a fashion party and, weirdly, showing off my cellulite to a room full of people who commonly dismiss it kind of felt like I was giving the middle finger to an entire industry, which was awesome.

    The next day, I decided to — for the first time ever — wear shorts while walking through a super crowded mall during the weekend. After having an anxiety attack in a store, I left feeling incredibly upset and defeated because it meant there was a huge chance I'd leave this experience never learning to love myself.

    I initially took two photos to show the huge difference lighting can make in the appearance of cellulite, but honestly the change of emotions in the photos between morning and afternoon is also super telling.

    Every time I felt good about my cellulite (even if it was just for a minute or two), I'd catch a glimpse of my thighs in a mirror and immediately go back to feeling completely uncomfortable and exposed.

    Cellulite also looks totally different depending on the light, and at this part in the day, it looked so apparent that I literally had to write "normal" and "also normal" on Post-Its and put it on my thighs so every time I looked down, I'd remember that before hating on myself.

    After that incredibly difficult day at the mall, I wanted to quit, so I took a moment to rethink why I was doing this, and I realized this entire project is bigger than me: it's about normalizing something 98% of women have, yet we get criticized for it, so I knew I couldn't stop there.

    Instead, I decided to take it a step further by doing legit one of my least favorite activities in the entire world: running in public. UGHHH.

    My face got hella red and my thighs did actually clap outloud quite a few times (I'm proud of my personal cheer squad, TBH), but by the end of the jog something amazing happened: I stopped giving a shit.

    I actually started to become angry that I let other people dictate how I felt about my body for this long, so I decided it was time to take it to the next level and show my bikini bod on a boardwalk next to a bunch of fully-clothed strangers.

    Walking around in a bathing suit next to random people is never not awkward, but damn, it felt good to not a give a shit about my cellulite for once. It took me this long to realize if anyone had a problem with it, it's their issue, not mine. I can't change my body, dudes.

    I've only just started the path to loving myself, but it's up to the rest of us to keep it going. Don't cover it up. Don't crop it out of a photo. Don't ~throw a filter on it~. Be fucking real, and all of us will be better for it. (And, psst, if anyone doesn't like it, fuck 'em.)