Inspiration Friday

image by nicolepete23

image by nicolepete23

I once stood naked in front of a mirror for twenty minutes and listed aloud all of the things I hated about my body and myself. It was an experiment. I thought that if I could get it all out in the open and be completely honest with myself, I could let it all go. It was meant to be an emotional purging. A way of saying “there, you’re not perfect. But who cares? Now move on.” Only I did care. I couldn’t move on and the experiment was a massive failure that left me feeling more disheartened and ashamed than I would have thought possible.

I go back and forth on my appearance. Sometimes I feel great and confident, or even if I don’t, I have the good sense to tell myself I should and force an acceptance of that truth. Other times, I hate everything about my physique. My thighs are too big. The skin across my shoulder blades is too loose. My triceps are too saggy. I hate the way my chin protrudes, or how my nose curls. I hate that my hair is straight and my face is round. Once I hate one thing, I hate everything and I can’t make it stop. I have worried at times that I might have body dysmorphic disorder. I’ll look in the mirror and though I know I’m not fat, not even slightly overweight, I’ll still see myself that way. I am healthy and fit. I eat right, I exercise. I probably don’t get enough sleep, but I come close. I know all of this, but it doesn’t matter. Knowing is one thing, but believing is something else entirely.

It’s a common problem for women, one that I read about over and over, hear about repeatedly from friends. The shared conundrum and sought after advice only further fuel the obsession. When beautiful, enviable friends express similar body concerns it only forces you to fear, “am I not worrying enough?” Every action, every pose, every decision you make about food and exercise, daily behavior or leisure activity is made with the body in mind. The body you want but don’t have. The body you have and can’t help but hate. Life becomes about achieving something that isn’t really important to begin with and probably not realistically attainable at all.

I’ve decided that I’ve had enough. I’m 23 and while that’s not that old, it’s too old for this kind of nonsense. There are more important things than worrying about having the thighs I had in middle school. There is more to my life and to my sense of self than just my physical appearance. Or at least there should be. So I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m not going to drag myself down and belittle myself. I’m ready to live my life, happy with who I am. And this time, there is no going back and forth. It’s time for this feeling of confidence to stay.

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