Something that I have always struggled with, my reflection from which I would shy away from, avoiding eye contact with. I would cringe from the mere glimpse of myself, the only times that I ever looked at myself were when I had cried myself to complete oblivion and then just sat in the front of the mirror, my reflection staring back at me with a look of hopelessness, my eyes red, my cheeks stained and on rare occasions, my hair freshly cut out of anguish. These episodes were more frequent when I lived at home with my parents, they have been less so since moving out.
Tumblr was the first blogging site that I ever came across, I met and chatted with people who talked about and promoted self-love, but I did not understand them, I couldn’t understand how anyone could love themselves, I understood it to mean vanity, to be vain, of course, this was wrong.
As a child growing up I had never liked myself but with each passing birthday, this self-loathing worsened. I remember one moment in particular where my feelings about myself felt confirmed, it was the end of the school day and I had asked a friend of mine to ask this new boy at school out on a date for me because I was too shy to ask, I was walking behind them when I heard another boy gasp and say to the new boy “you can’t go out with her! She’s ugly!”, I span on my heels and ran in the opposite direction without pause for breath, back into the school and hid in the girl’s toilets until I was sure that nobody was left but the teachers, all I remember after that was crying and my parents telling me that “he was probably jealous” which wasn’t very comforting. That moment has stuck with me ever since, it played in my mind every day and still plays in my mind every now and then.
I still struggle with my reflection, some days are better than others and in those moments I can look at myself and smile, but not as often as I would like.
“Never trust a mirror,
For a mirror always lies,
It makes you think that all your worth,
Can be seen from the outside.
Never trust a mirror,
It only shows you what’s skin deep,
You can’t see how your eyelids flutter,
When you’re drifting off to sleep,
It doesn’t show you what the world sees,
When you’re only being you,
Or how your eyes just light up,
When you’re loving what you do,
It doesn’t capture when you’re smiling,
Where no-one else can see,
And your reflection cannot tell you,
Everything you mean to me,
Never trust a mirror,
For it only shows your skin,
And if you think it dictates your worth,
It’s time you looked within.
The past four years of my life have had a significant impact on how I view myself now, I remember silently crying as I stood staring at my naked reflection, I would stare at myself and wish to be skinner, to have a prettier face and a flatter stomach, I would pull at my thighs and tummy, breathing in all day so that my stomach fat wouldn’t be noticeable. When I was with my partner I would never take my top off, I was too embarrassed, ashamed, scared, I thought he would leave me if he saw all of me but he surprised me, my partner would address the parts of me that I hated most and tell me how beautiful he thought they were, how beautiful he thought I was, I found this difficult to hear and so I never knew how to react; he never stopped telling me how much he loved me. I now unashamedly flaunt it when I’m out on special occasions, I feel great when I wear more revealing clothes, when I see my reflection I pull wacky faces and ruffle my hair up so that I feel like a lioness! I have so much fun with my appearance now! I love dressing up and putting together outfits, it makes me feel great! Other times, when I’m not feeling up to doing all that I just throw on a pair of my comfiest pyjamas, light one of my favourite candles, make a den out of my duvet and pillows and put on one of my favourite films, or I just take a bath!
Over the four years of being together, talking every day, my boyfriend never failed in complimenting me in some way or another, to explain why he loved me or liked a particular part of me, that’s over 1460 days of compliments! When you hear something enough you start to believe it. For eighteen years I grew up being told every day that I’m stupid, useless, selfish, a slut, a whore etcetera, but now that was changing, it’s being reversed. Of course, I still have a long way to go on my journey of self-love, eighteen years of verbal abuse is a lot to cope with, the trauma it has caused does make the healing process difficult, but with over four years of loving, comforting words (and many more years to come) they will help me immensely.
Be kind to yourself and however long it takes, learn to love yourself. xx