Body Image, Identity

A Battle

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You feel like you’re in a battle with yourself. You wage a war against yourself…against your body, against appetite, and against instinct. Every self-defeating word that you’ve ever called yourself, you hear in your mind, and it rings…echoes even: worthless, inadequate, and insecure.

You might run circles in your room every day to try and burn off the thoughts that fill your mind. You might be compulsive about organizing your time. You need to know what your schedule will be every day for at least a full week in advance. You are constantly updating, revising, and ultimately changing your schedule… You need to know what and when you will be eating before you feel you can sit back and relax.

Despite all your successes… No matter how well you’ve done in the past, no matter how many A’s or awards you’ve achieved, no matter how many “I love you’s” you’ve gotten from family or friends, no matter how hard you work… Underneath you still often feel like you’re a failure who will never be good enough. You may downsize every genuine, hard-earned accomplishment, thinking to yourself that you just got lucky that time and that your luck will soon run out.

You are constantly chasing after perfection that you will never be able to attain. You only see yourself as reflected in the approval of others. You have very high and unrealistic expectations of yourself. You are afraid of failure… You’re often paralyzed by it. You are fixated on only the negatives of yourself and the positives of others.

You have this idea that if you could just get a little lighter, a little bit smaller, everything would be different… You would magically become a different person with a more positive identity. But you realize that for some reason, when you do get smaller, you are even more anxious and ashamed than before. You are not any different.

You are very sensitive to the people around you… You pick up on unexpressed emotions, unspoken disapproval, and false attitudes instantly. You put false thoughts into people’s heads. You think they are the ones judging you in disappointment, but in reality – it’s you who is judging yourself.

Things may be going well for you right now. It’s unfamiliar and probably causing you more anxiety. You feel that things will soon come crashing down on you. That terrifies you. You feel you’d rather be in control of the crash when it happens, so you unconsciously turn your good situation into a bad one. Bad is bad, of course, but it can also be reassuring and predictable. You feel you deserve it.

You want to be “fixed”. You might want to punish yourself for mistakes you have made. You may feel you deserve to wither away. You are tired all the damn time.

You wish you could tell people what it was like. You wish they could see your reflection in the mirror. You wish they felt the disgust and hatred that you do towards yourself. You wish they knew the fear. You wish they could hear the jungle in your brain…the noise. If you told them you’re afraid to eat, they might not get it. They can’t see “fat” the way that you do. You wish they could witness the pity you feel when you stand back up and look at yourself… The tears running down your face, the hypnosis leaving your stare. You wish they could help you clean up the mess, in every sense, and hear you say that you’ll never do it again, and tell you you’re right. You wish they’d tell you everything would be okay. Y’all would wish on your dreams together, however impossible they seem. You wish this wasn’t a secret. You wish you could pretend it was okay, like others do. You wish they knew that you’ve been through so much worse than this. You wish they could see how strong you really are. But they do. You don’t.

Every time you make a promise to yourself that this will soon be over, you know it’s not. Because you still believe you’ll never be good enough. And you realized it’s not for them – it’s for you. You’ll never be good enough for you. If you could, you’d tell them why this has become your worth.

You keep going because it’s working. It’s winning. But you know you need to make a change.

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