How a Random Hookup Helped Me Get Over My Body Confidence Issues

I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t completely aware of my body—whether it was my biker shorts fitting too snugly or the look of disgust I thought I saw on someone’s face while I was eating ice cream. My high-school boyfriend said I could lose a few pounds in my stomach. My mom told me I had thunder thighs, even though I had developed an eating disorder just a year earlier.

I know many people can relate to this. The feeling of self-consciousness used to overwhelm me to the point where it strained my relationships with family and friends, and most of all, my love life.

RELATED: These 5 People Went on Tinder for a Hookup—but Actually Found True Love

Although I had serious self-confidence issues, it didn’t stop me from dating. But after a heart-wrenching breakup, I fell back into the same pattern of self-hatred and took refuge in solitude. Hiding felt similar to having anorexia because it helped me feel in control. Constantly keeping potential partners at arm’s length was safer that putting my heart and my body on the line.

I supplemented my loneliness by having lots of friends who I didn’t have to worry about being involved with romantically. It took the pressure off being vulnerable. But after graduating college three years ago, when I moved to New York from Alabama, I lost a big core group of my friends and felt lost.

It was then that I thought, what was the worst that could happen if I put myself out there? I was surprised by my small burst of self-confidence, but I didn’t let myself question it. It was when I thought too much that I tended to retreat into my insecurities. Instead, I downloaded Tinder and actually tried communicating with people. I’d downloaded it many times before and used it just as a small confidence booster, always deleting it and wiping the memory again and again.

RELATED: What Everyone Is Getting Wrong About Body Positivity

I met Adrian* in the first few days of using the app. He was charming and confident but not so much so that it was a turnoff. We were both 23 at the time and had things in common. Conversations flowed naturally. Although I hadn’t been involved with anyone for a while, I wasn’t naive to the fact that he wasn’t interested in dating me. He was here solely for hookups. Emotionally, he was completely shut off. Surprisingly, I was fine with that.

Inviting Adrian over for the first time was nerve-racking. I began thinking about all the ways he could reject me, all the things he'd say about my body—or worse, the things he wouldn’t say. I was visibly shaken, nervously sipping the Heineken that Adrian had brought over. Although I felt like I was barely speaking, Adrian smiled, and we talked easily as we normally did. There wasn’t any tension that caused me to overthink things; I felt a sense of acceptance from him. I was comfortable enough to take off my clothes.

When I slept with Adrian for the first time, he told me all the things he liked about my body. He complimented my butt, which I always found to be too big, and my skin that I always hated for being too pasty. He raved about my hair and my lips. With Adrian, I felt exposed but not as afraid. I felt fine. I can confidently say that’s the first time I had felt even just fine.

RELATED: These 13 Women Prove Every Body Is a Bikini Body

Although I felt my attitude toward my body changing, my insecurities were still there. When Adrian came over the second time, I tried to keep the lights off, afraid that now he’d see me the way I really looked. I was hoping the darkness could hide me. But when he entered my bedroom, Adrian pulled me back into the light of my living room. “We need to turn the lights on in your bedroom," he said. "I want to see you.”

Over the course of the next year, Adrian and I kept hooking up semi-regularly. Each time was the same: I was being celebrated, and I was able to not think about my body for the first time in my life. It was in those moments when this other person could see me at my most vulnerable yet still accepted me that I started to accept myself.

Adrian and I don’t talk anymore, for reasons that are too complicated to explain; his emotional distance was a large part of it. I do miss being in bed with him, and I miss laughing with him and forgetting that I was naked. But putting the feelings aside, I’m grateful to have met him. I just wish I can say it didn’t take someone else celebrating my body to realize how beautiful I am. I wish I could have come to that conclusion on my own, but it did not.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Help a Friend With an Eating Disorder

Since then, I haven't gone back on Tinder looking for another hookup. I’m not perfect; Adrian didn’t cure me of my body image issues. I still have moments when I fall back in the same pattern of negative self-talk. But more often than not, I look in the mirror and I say things to myself with a confidence that’s not fake anymore. It's real and comes from inside me, and that’s not something anyone can take away from me now.

*Names have been changed.

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Conjoined Twins Separated in Risky Surgery at 7 Months Old Now Thriving at Age 17

Twins Sydney and Lexi Stark were already lucky when they were born on March 9, 2001. Though they were conjoined in their lower body, they had defied the odds — 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins are delivered stillborn, and only 35 percent survive after the first day. But seven months later, the girls were successfully separated during a risky surgery, and now, at age 17, they’re thriving.

“I think it was always, they will survive,” the girls’ father, James, said of the family’s mindset going into their birth during Monday’s episode of Megyn Kelly Today. “I don’t think it was ever a question.”

He and his wife, Emily, learned during a doctor’s visit prior to the twins’ birth that they were conjoined.

“I just remember looking at the ceiling, and I just kind of tuned out,” she said. “And James kind of took over from there.”

“Obviously we knew what conjoined twins were, you see stories and you read about them,” James said. “[The doctor] brought out this thousand-page medical book and flipped through it to the page on conjoined twins and there was literally two paragraphs on conjoined twins.”

But the family stayed positive, and James was cracking jokes the day Lexi and Sydney were born.

“The girls were squirming and James went over to Lexi and he said, ‘Oh Lexi, are you having a nightmare that your sister is stuck to your butt?’ And all the nurses giggled. They were like, okay, this family is going to be just fine,” Emily recalled.

On Oct. 9, they brought the girls into the hospital for their separation surgery. Because they were joined at the spine and shared a spinal cord along with some intestines, the doctor said there was a serious risk that one or both would be paralyzed, or die.

“We had done so many things to get to this day, and about two weeks before I looked at James and I said, are we playing God? Are we messing with perfection? Because we could keep them together and we could keep them, but are we messing this up?” Emily said. But James said they had spent months — both before the twins’ birth and in the time leading up to the surgery — coming to their choice.

“At the end of the day you have to trust that you made the right decision with the information you had at the time,” he said. “If something went wrong, you’re never prepared for that, but at least you went into it knowing what you were doing.”

And after hours in surgery, Lexi and Sydney were successfully separated.

“The room just exploded, you could hear that ‘Woohoo! Two babies!’ ” Emily recalled. “We got the fairytale. We know the ending, so far.”

Now the girls are entering their senior year of high school, and share a few twin quirks — they can tell when one is upset or in pain, even when they’re completely apart.

“In upsetting situations, sometimes I won’t get upset, I’ll be like, that’s not a big deal. While she’s over here like, that’s so awful, oh my goodness and freaking out for me,” Lexi said.

“Sometimes I won’t know and she’ll come home and say I had a bad day, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh there it is,’ ” Sydney explained.

And they may be even further apart in just a year — Sydney hopes to go to college at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, while Lexi is aiming for the University of Calgary.

“So not only is it a different state, it’s a different country,” Sydney said.

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There’s a Massive Sale on Fitbit Fitness Trackers Right Now on Amazon

"Bring on Monday," said no one ever. Today is an exception, though: It's Amazon Prime Day (insert confetti emoji), and we cannot get to our work computers fast enough to, well, shop. Hold all of our emails, phone calls, and deadlines, because we are just very, very busy (*scrolls through athleisure sale on Amazon, takes sip of coffee*). To top it off, there is a HUGE sale on some of our favorite fitness trackers today, including the bestselling Fitbit Alta HR.

The Fitbit Alta HR is a slim fitness band that tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, and gives you friendly reminders to move if you've been stationary for a long period of time. The Alta tracks how long (and how well) you've slept, so you can view your sleep trends and get into a better routine; it will also gently vibrate to wake you up, so you don't have to start the day with a blaring siren alarm.

With tap display, you can receive calls, texts, and calendar alerts. Plus, the impressive battery life allows you to go five full days and nights without charging, making it a great option for those constantly on-the-go, or for camping trips where a power outlet is out of the question. The Fitbit Alta HR is 40% off today on Amazon, making it an affordable $89.95 for the black, coral, blue grey, and fuschia colors.

Whether you're a fitness junkie or just want a smartwatch that will perform and look stylish from the office to happy hour drinks, this is a not-to-miss Prime Day deal.

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