It’s not easy going through life constantly hating on yourself, picking out certain parts of your body that you constantly put down, never feeling like your enough or that you’re never going to be enough. It’s crazy how much self-esteem you lose and how much love you discard of when you begin to fall into this pit of self-hatred, it’s sad and it’s a constant battle with your mind and I’ve been through it.
I’ve been through the constant pain of not loving the body you’re in, I’ve picked apart all these different features and It’s been a battle, it’s been difficult but there’s one thing that came out of all this hatred and upset and that’s the day I finally learned to love myself again.
The thing is we all go through these stages of gaining weight, losing weight, getting spots, having a bad hair day or just feeling plain ugly without a heap load of makeup on, we all have those stages where we just want to look good we want to be beautiful and we want to stand out and want people to notice.
That’s something we all go through, but when your brain is constantly telling you, you look fat, your disgusting or you’re simply not good enough, then you do tend to avoid mirrors at all costs, you do tend to constantly compare yourself to others, you do feel like you need to restrict yourself, you need to exercise like crazy, you can’t go out and enjoy yourself, you need to be what’s considered ‘perfect’ but that’s just an illusion a false hope and one that too many of us get hooked into thinking will happen when really that idea of ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist.
When I was at school, I was what would be considered slim and I was fairly petite too. I mean when I was fairly young I didn’t really feel like weight mattered too much, that no one would really care, we all just got on with it no matter how we looked. Throughout college, I saw a huge change in my weight and not only that but my appearance, I didn’t like how I looked.
I couldn’t stand to look at myself in all honesty and this happened specifically near the end of my time there, the funny thing is at the time I was totally oblivious, but as I began to scroll through pictures and see what my friends looked like and how different I looked that’s when It all decided to take a turning point. I’ve always been called out on my appearance for dressing a certain way, I have a big love for rock music and sometimes I bring that passion for it through in my fashion or my makeup and that’s just me adding a little bit of my personality and my love for something in my appearance. However, even now in 2020, that’s still not acceptable.
As I embarked on my journey to University, this is when it hit me for real. The thing is I saw myself in a way others didn’t, every time I looked in the mirror I saw someone who was absolutely disgusting, who didn’t suit anything they wore, had the worst skin and the worst imperfections. I had stretch marks, my hip-dips made me feel awful, I didn’t have that gap in between my thighs or that toned stomach, that luscious hair and the talent to apply makeup perfectly, and I felt hideous and I felt so low in myself, I didn’t want to even step outside.
This, as well as a heap load of anxiety and depression, was one of the toughest parts of my life that I’ve ever been through. It may sound silly, but it was in fact the most darkest time I’ve ever been through constantly battling with my mind to make me feel good, constantly having to fight off the panic attacks and the feeling of people staring at me non-stop, it can affect your mental health in such a negative way and yes something that may be considered as simple as a ‘spot’ for example can have huge impacts.
I didn’t really understand why I felt like this, it was something that I had to deal with for a good few years and something that never seemed to get easier. Body Dysmorphia I came to find is something that shared the similarities in how I felt, I wasn’t sure on what it was at first or how I managed to even fall into that criteria, but the truth is it just does happen and it can be such a vicious cycle. Something that I absolutely hate is other people taking pictures of me, I would often wear so much makeup, I wore a hat because I didn’t like the way my hair looked, I would wear extremely baggy clothes so that people couldn’t see what I looked like or have an insight into what body shape I was. The hard thing is that I was so used to doing this that now I actually use my hat as a comfort blanket because I’ve always been so used to wearing it that when I don’t I feel so weird, it may sound stupid but it’s actually something that never fully went away.
I did try and lose some weight in 2018 and I actually did pretty well for the first few months, until I realised that what I was doing was not right in any way and it was actually making me feel so tired and miserable. Exercise is supposed to make you feel happier and more energetic right?
Well, that’s what I couldn’t get because I didn’t feel that after a few months, this was because I was so obsessed with what them scales read that I didn’t care. Behind the scenes, I was becoming obsessed with exercise, I wouldn’t give myself a break if I felt exhausted, I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough or that If I didn’t sweat then it wasn’t a proper workout, I was stupid to think that but at the time I didn’t see the issue, but when I think back now I know that wasn’t ok.
I lost a fair bit of weight and at the start, it was fine as I wasn’t going crazy, but when you suddenly see the numbers dropping and then when it gets to that week perhaps you’ve been busy or sick and you see it go up, that was what sent me back on the obsessive craze to exercise. It was similar to food too, sometimes I wouldn’t eat till like late evening and just have my dinner because if I ate anything that would be considered as ‘bad’ then I was doing something wrong, I would beat myself up about it. I fasted so much and didn’t give my body the right nutrients, I was constantly going on a mad one with the exercise that I didn’t listen to my body when it needed a break.
When I finally learned to accept myself for who I was my body, my appearance everything was the day that I felt this tremendous weight drift of my shoulders, the thing is I’m not even sure how it happened, it just got easier to look at me, easier to start realising that all the little imperfections I absolutely hated were not even that bad, it took a lot of strength and a lot of self-love to bring myself to where I am now.
Trust me I am far from what would be considered as ‘perfect’ I still don’t have that toned stomach, that amazing hair or the figure that could pull any outfit off, but the thing is I am me, I have stretch marks and cellulite, I have hip-dips, I’m curvy, I’m not the skinniest of girls, I might not be able to fit in everything I go shopping for that others can fit into, but there’s only one of me and when you learn to love yourself it’s a road to giving yourself all the love you threw away for so long.
It’s not easy, to say the least, but when you can finally look in the mirror and feel good, that’s when you know you’ve accepted yourself for who you’re. I’ve learned to rather than completely hating on my curves to embrace them, buying outfits that fit them and accentuate them rather than hiding them behind insanely baggy clothing, because curves are not a bad thing they’re beautiful. it’s that case of not being afraid to buy things out of my comfort zone, not just feeling like because I’ve gained weight that I can’t wear what I did when I was slimmer because you can, it doesn’t matter what size you’re you can rock it. I dye my hair crazy colors, I wear what I want to wear because I feel comfortable, I might wear dark makeup or go for a more natural look.
The truth is I’m not afraid anymore to go out without makeup on or my hair in a messy bun and that’s a big deal especially with how I’ve felt in the past, I’ve learned to love the imperfections I have and I’m proud to say that I’ve now accepted my body and I’m glad I can look in the mirror and be happy about what I see looking back, I know I’m a strong women and that my body may not be to everyone’s taste but it’s mine and I love it.
The advice I can give to anyone who’s reading this and feels like their going through the same or similar is that even though you may feel like this now, it will get better. You will be able to look in that mirror and see a beautiful unique person staring back. Don’t feel like because your friends are a certain size or look a certain way you have too, don’t be scared to dye your hair a crazy color because it’ll make you stand out, shine bright.
Don’t feel pressured to lose weight or work to extreme measures at the gym. Don’t be scared to go to the gym, just know when it’s getting too much and always do it for you. I can’t stress enough how doing things for you is the perfect medicine. Don’t listen to people around you, listen to yourself, if you want to change the way you look that’s ok but do it for the reasons of you want to be healthier or you want to feel more confident, not because your friend said that you don’t suit a certain outfit or drag you down for your weight, or your looks.
Even though it’s a constant battle, when you begin to accept yourself, you’ll feel happy, treat yourself to a killer outfit, indulge in some expensive skincare, it’s ok to not be like everyone else, you’re unique and when you love yourself you shine brighter than anyone else, confidence is beautiful and giving yourself some love is what we all need once in a while.
This was a personal story for me to tell, but one I always feel better when I express how I felt through words, but when that day came around that I finally felt ok when I looked at myself it was an incredible feeling and I hope that for anyone who suffers you will eventually feel the same way I did. Like RuPaul said ”if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you going to love somebody else, can I get an amen.” Remember your worthy, your incredible and you’re you.