I’ve been racking my brain for a while now,
and trying to get to the bottom of my hate for myself. Where did this distorted image of myself and my body derive from?
Is my self hate a direct result of being coerced, as a child, to sexually please an adult I trusted?
Does my low self-esteem have anything to do with the wretched middle school years?
The (not so subtle) jabs from family whenever I ate too much and too little?
Is it racism?
I don’t know, y’all.
All I know is that my head hurts and introspection and self-awareness sucks when I don’t have the language or tools to communicate and heal what I know is wrong.
What I know:
Lying by omission is wrong.
Self-hate, self-loathing, and faking the funk (all of the time) is unhealthy.
And yet, here we are.
I blame the blog, marriage, and writing. I blame sisters, friends, family, and mentors not stuck in the ice age for my inability to keep my hate of myself a secret any longer.
Being loved on (regardless of how unworthy I feel), healing through words, and normalizing hard conversations is how I’ve ended up right here to tell y’all: I’m fucked up.
Recently, I told Mikey that dying in a car accident was my greatest fear.
However, I believe that my actual greatest fear is everyone seeing what I think about myself manifested on my skin.
I look in the mirror and all the things that haunt me act as warts on my face and forearms. All the bad things I’ve internalized and work like hell to hide give me droopy eyes. They give me scaly and fish-like skin, and a deep villain-like voice that scares babies. I’m a mess and Stephen King’s most horrendous character. And on really bad days I believe everyone can see the same. The messed up part is, almost everyday is a really bad day.
So, imagine my surprise when I see that I have aroused instead of repulsed my husband.
Imagine my shock when my friends still want to be my friends and my family insists on protecting me?
I’m in a constant state of awe when people are kind and compliment me, which is why I think I can take shade and meanness, directed at myself (but never at Beyonce) so well. It makes sense that people would treat me how I treat myself, so meanness is easy to swallow. Goodness, on the other hand, is not. And I wish that I could chalk it all up to being dramatic.
Last year, I shared on my personal Facebook page that Mikey and I hit the gym. The gym was his answer to my constant beration and bad-talk about myself that day, and it worked. I wasn’t having a pretty day and working out did the trick.
But, no more than 15 minutes after I posted about our trip, his mentor commented. He told me I didn’t have to put myself down to get a compliment from Mikey, because obviously I was pretty.
I wish I had those problems. I wish that I needed affirmation from Mikey or anyone, so bad that I had to fake hate myself. Good god, I wish it was that simple. Not only am I positive I’m married to a lovable and affirming man–Mikey’s a Pisces–which may seem irrelevant unless you’re someone who knows signs.
And if you know signs you know no one has to beg a Pisces (especially a February one) for a damn compliment. I’m not itching for affirmation from him, believe me. And, honestly I wish a kind word was all it took because I’d be so okay.
But alas, life could never be so simple. So, in turn, my issues are deeper than needing people to affirm me and needing my husband to think I’m pretty. Which brings me to my point.
I’ve always thought my problems were weight related.
I thought it was the number on the scale that impacted how I thought about myself. I assumed it was the sly comments from my family if I was too small or too big to them, that left me spending days trying to figure out what I would wear to the next family function. My outfit always had to be perfect. It had to give off the vibe that I’m more confident than I am, but it also had to hide all potential imperfections they could possibly detect.
I assumed that personal trauma + racism was also why I hated my weight and myself. Obsessively, I used to do my best to get myself as small as possible. Maybe to disappear, or maybe so that I wouldn’t be attractive to the men who hurt me, or the white people who cursed me? But it just doesn’t add up.
In the 25 years I’ve been alive my weight has fluctuated. I’ve been 128 and I’ve been 184, and at every weight I’ve hated myself. At every weight I’ve thought something was wrong with me, just for me to go back days, weeks, months, and years later, and see that I didn’t look so bad after all.
So weight is not the issue. Yes, numbers give me anxiety but as a word-person, I’d expect as much. No, the problem is deeper than the scale. My problems are mental and there are triggers, but losing weight and gaining weight has never been the answer or the fault.
Because I now understand this, here are the steps I’ve taken:
– I wrote a prayer asking for help, peace, and guidance on how to love myself. I read this prayer at least once a day.
– Recently, I confessed to my sister, a mentor, and a few friends where my head has been. I’ve also told our personal trainer that I’d like to shift away from weight related goals and focus more on fitness (ex: how long can I run) and wellness goals.
Prioritizing self-love and body positivity where I can
– I deleted all of my weight related Pinterests boards and replaced them with body positivity and self-care challenges.
– Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings is life and it feels good to know what’s in my food and be in charge of what I put in my body.
– We see our trainer Monday, Thursday, and Friday and have recently challenged ourselves to walk our dog around our neighborhood at least once a day. Exercising and moving makes me feel good and it is here where I see most what my body is capable of.
– Because, why not? Besides, feeling sexy and being sexy is where it’s at. It’s been fun turning to my man or shoot, even myself, when I need a rush or need to be in a space to stop thinking.
Self-love and forgiving myself for how mean I’ve been and how mean I am, is an everyday task. It’s a different type of exercise I haven’t mastered yet, and I fail all of them. However, I’m determined to do my best because I want to be better and I don’t want to project my shit on the future babies. I lastly don’t want to live or die this way and I understand that it will take many years of work that probably will never end. Lord, help me.
How about you, Wordies?
How do you insist on loving yourself? What do you do or can do better when it concerns self-care?