Trigger Warning: This post contains mention of self-harm, suicidal ideations and fat-shaming that can be triggering to some readers.
With the holidays coming, a lot of pictures will soon enough flood our media feeds. It is a good time to remind ourselves to be mindful and compassionate when confronted with our own reflection. Especially when we struggle with poor self-image and body issue. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be too harsh. Your perception toward the pictures is a distortion sent by your lying brain, your personal mind chaos. These voices are not true. Do not listen to them. You are so much more.
A cautionary tale
A few days ago, my mother sent me pictures of myself from 6 years ago. Although I was already a little sensitive that day, I never expected to react this way. It hit me in the face like a brick. Seeing myself like this completely threw me back into a cycle of self-loathing and disgust I had thought I left behind. How was I wrong.
I couldn’t help but focused on the ugly, the fat, the imperfections. My eyes could only fix on the enormous double chin, the arm fat, the ugly face, the crooked smile, the flawed skin. All the internalized fat-shaming I had been fighting for the past year came down rushing at once, leaving me extraordinarily distressed.
I broke down in tears. I was hurt, in pain. Seeing my own reflections made me spiral down right into the darkest of darks. All the past came rushing back to my mind. I wanted to hurt myself. I wanted to put a knife through my body, cut the extra (disgusting) fat. I wanted to kill myself.
Over a year of work ruined over a few wedding pictures. On them, I was smiling. I was dancing. I was loved. I could only focus on what wasn’t suppose to be. How my feelings about myself are still so unresolved. How I pretend I am okay, but in the end, seeing myself still distresses and disgusts me. I came to the realization that the progress I thought I had made were mostly avoidance.
The mind chaos was spiralling intensely, filling my thoughts with lies.
“You are so gross”
“Look at that fat face, that crooked smile”
“Look at this double chin the size of the everest”
“Nobody loves you”
“You have no friends because you’re fat”
“You deserve to hurt yourself”
I knew I would not get out of this on my own this time. I called my person. He knew something was wrong. Over the tears, I told him what had happened, how I felt, all the violence and pain I wanted to inflict on my body. All the pain and punishment it needed, for being different. For being bigger.
He was listening, trying to reassure me. His voice was soothing. Until he asked what I had trained him to do: “Do you want to go to the hospital?” I thought about it for a few seconds. Maybe.
It also felt like the slap in the face I needed to ground myself back to reality. No, I did not wanted to go. I would be okay. I was not alone. I had the tools to move past this. I only forgot them for a moment. After we hung up, much calmer, I finished what I had to do, already feeling better. I noted my train of thoughts, and realized the magnitude of the work left to be done. I was slightly discourage, but also hopeful.
Rationally, I know these are lies.
I know I am loved by my family and friends. I know my worth is not dependant from my size.
But deep down, the little girl hasn’t healed. I am still ashamed of how I look. I still believe I deserve to be hurt because of my size. The violence that came out of my internal monologue astonished me.
The irony is also that I would never say or think that about someone else. Because I know people are so much more than their appearance. That they are worthy. Valid. Important. So why can I apply the same to myself?
It also tells me I have still a long way to go toward acceptance. Toward compassion to myself. Toward self-love.
I realize I still don’t know how to love myself. I fail to see my worth as an individual, to see outside my size, my body and what it represents.
It is much easier to preach to others than to oneself.
But as I took this step backward, I hope this truly will help me forward and unlock new lies I kept as truth to myself.
We are all worthy of love, regardless of your appearance, size, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, neurostatus or anything else. But above all, a life hating yourself is not a happy life. I realize this now.
If you ever feel distressed over your appearance, reach help, call a friend, call a professional, reach for me. Find your own lifeline. You are not alone. You are beautiful, we all are in our own unique ways.