I don’t know how long I’ve believed it. As I sit here in my tiny little dorm room with colorful art fresh up on the walls, I don’t even really understand it. When did the lie sneak into my life, little by little? When did it gnash its teeth, grab my heart between them, and give it a shake?
All my life, I’d always looked in the mirror with pride and a little curiosity. I grew up in a very isolated environment, and as a result didn’t have feedback like most high school girls would. I didn’t have other people to say that I was pretty. There were no boys to ask me out (I never got truly asked out by a boy until a few months ago, and I’m 23) and validate my wonderings. But I didn’t ever hate my body. Sure, my chest was a little small. But I’ve always been a tiny person and I knew that was pretty highly valued. My face was generally pretty; my nose is a little bit pug-ish so maybe that would detract. Despite these thoughts, I never loathed, despised, detested my body with the energy of most my girlfriends. I never really understood the cruelty with which they maligned themselves, especially after catching a glimpse in the mirror or putting on a swimsuit. Especially since I saw their beauty and found their love handles to be an addition to, not a subtraction of, their beauty. I wondered how these girls could hate themselves so.
Until recently. Until I began to obsess about the tiny bit of weight gain on my stomach, til I realized I no longer had a six pack, until I saw that my ass was out of proportion with my chest, and my eyes had circles under them if I didn’t put on makeup. I became cruel and heartless. Not out loud, really, but in my head. In my head I criticized my small chest and wished I could be proportionate. I put on shirts and hated myself in them because my chest never filled them out and I looked flat. Or I put on a nice tight fitting shirt with a flattering neckline and noticed that my stomach had expanded to be almost the same width as my chest. For the past year I’ve stared at myself in every mirror, window, reflective surface, seeking answers to the question: “Am I pretty?”
The picture at the bottom of this post was one I took this morning. I was just out of the shower, no makeup or anything. I took it trying to prove to myself, yes, you are beautiful just as you are.
When did I lose sight of the truth? Because still, it refuses to take hold of my heart.