How One Editor Rose Above Negative Body Image

Story by Colleen Dluzynski
Feature Photo via

For Grand Central’s spring style initiative, I was 1 of 7 girls to participate in a photo shoot around the city featuring our own unique and personal styles.

With a love for all things black and red, and as a female with fringe bangs, I was picked to represent the category “edgy.” (I suppose it does fit, I’ve just never really thought about a name for my style preferences before).

So, I threw on a red lip, grabbed a cup of coffee, and our Photo Editor, Annie, and I hit the downtown area on a very mild and pleasant spring day to take some pictures in an alleyway. (Hardcore!)

Taking photos with Annie is always a blast. She’s one of my closest friends, we joke around, and she is wickedly talented at what she does.

This sort of setting is actually what originally brought us together – she needed help on a photography project, I offered to assist her, and the next time we hung out, we bonded over beer and french fries as a skeleton and pirate on Halloween. (And have been close-knit ever since).

When we got back to her apartment, Annie showed me the photos she had taken. Her high quality camera and masterful, artistic skills made them look awesome! And, I was pleased with my ability to not look super awkward or stiff, seeing as they were going to be published.

But as I scrolled through the photos, I managed to look past the photo for exactly what it was, and give it this mirror effect – I was focused on my weight.

Yeah, I’ll say it. I sometimes doubt myself and get down about myself and compare myself to others – I’m human.

There was a time not too long ago, that the thoughts that circulated in my head when I looked in the mirror played tricks on me, were extremely harsh and messed with my mentality and emotions.

It was a weird feeling for me because I have pretty much always felt comfortable in my own skin. I’ve played sports all my life, and upon coming to college, stayed active, as working out has always been a priority and something I enjoy.

But like a lot of things within the roller coaster years of late high school and early college, areas in my life that I had once thought of as secure began to waver within the many new and changing environments of the past few years.

When I had doubts about my relationships, career path, involvements and future was when it seemed the focus on my weight was prevalent. When I was facing new stresses of growing up and becoming an adult living on my own, I focused on making sure I was only putting really healthy foods in my body if I couldn’t work out on a certain day. And if I couldn’t work out, it threw my whole day off kilter.

It was unhealthy. I wasn’t enjoying myself fully and by stressing out over everything I consumed and every minute spent at the gym, I realized I was actually being counter productive. I realized that things weren’t going to slow down from here on out, so I needed to learn balance.

And, I learned how much of a negative influence the comparisons to unrealistic standards of beauty I was holding myself to had. Even if it was subconsciously, seeing beautifully-taken photos of models obviously had me looking in the photos like a mirror and expecting to see something that was not there.

But, I have been making valiant efforts to look in the mirror each day and look at photos of myself and say “Damn! Look at that smile! Look at those hips! Look at her – she is happy and healthy!”

I never want to look back on this amazing time in my life and think that all I focused on was how I looked. 

Perfection is unattainable and undesirable – everything we are made of makes us who we are – beautifully and individually unique.

I know, we all have insecurities. We all have things we wish were different, and that’s normal. But, it is an amazing feeling when you go on living life to the fullest anyways, fully embracing and loving yourself.

I know I do.