Body image. We all have it. Now how we look at ourselves in the mirror is all very different to each human being. For me (because that's all I have to base any of this on) it has been a journey of love, lust, and pixie dust.
When I was younger, I never really looked in the mirror any certain sort of way. I was blissfully aware of its existence. The only time I ever really acknowledged it was there was when I put on my mothers makeup.
As the years went on and I started to become aware of my own skin, I started to pay attention to what the mirror was telling me. See, others seemed to have something to say about my body hair when I started to grow it. They said it looked gross and unclean. I was told at a very early age that I have a great butt. I was a child. The things my body were doing naturally became a talking point for the people around me in my life.
I was told that men liked long hair and modest women. I was supposed to be the girl they would want when they got all that "other stuff" out of their system. I was supposed to save myself and my image for them.
In an attempt to push my rebellious nature down into the depths of my soul, I wore my hair long. I tried not to paint my nails a dark color. I kept my face made up because I was told that perfection was beautiful. That was acceptable. That would make people like me more. I started to look at myself in the mirror in a different way. I started to pick and pull at these things on my body I never even looked at before.
I was broken up with in high school. The boy who dumped me ended up with another girl who was taller, thinner, and more conventionally attractive than I was. In an attempted to prove my worthiness, I ate MAYBE 600 calories a day and worked out for at least two hours each day. I thought If I was thinner, longer hair and lighter makeup he would want me back.
He did eventually. But I became relient on makeup to make me feel beautiful. I had a toxic relationship with food and exercise. And all the while, I would allow my true self that loved colorful hair and piercings' and all things punky to surface only for a little. Only to tell her to go back into the basement so people would accept us more.
So how am I the way that I am now?
Well, a few things had to happen. I had to make a conscious choice to live with the anxiety of allowing people to see me for who I really was. I forced myself to ditch the makeup to let my skin breath. I only used makeup as a form of artistic expression instead of letting it dictate my self worth. I started learning about skincare to help thank my skin for existing and taking care of me day in and day out.
I started to play dress up in my room late at night. Wearing what made ME feel good. I would add a little bit of those outfits into the ones I was already wearing. Again, allowing the anxiety of "being me" exist to teach myself that it wasn't dangerous. I took time to go to therapy and slowly cultivate a sense of self that wasn't based on what other people thought was beautiful.
I started to eat to fuel my body. I went to the gym to be mentally healthy. It stopped becoming about the physical. It started becoming about nurturing me and everything that makes me up.
I wish I could give you the exact formula for loving yourself. The truth is, we don't have a magical moment of pure unadulterated love. It ebbs and flows. And like anything good, it takes time to cultivate. I still have days that I don't feel the best, but I have put enough tools together to give myself a little extra care in those moments.
REMEMBER: Perfect doesn't exist. It's letters put together to make a word that makes a sound as it's pronounced.
Just be you. It's so much easier than trying to be someone else.
Good Vibeage Always,
Your Cycle Half Stephnaie xxoo