Hey lovely ones,
I hope you don’t mind if I’m candid today.
I had a particularly difficult body image day a little while ago.
It’s funny, this whole mind-body business.
It’s funny when your behaviours indicate a recovered state of mind, when inside your head is turmoil.
On second thoughts: funny is the wrong word to use, but I’ll roll with it because I’ve always believed that a sense of humour gets you through the darkest of days.
You tell others that you’ve recovered. How wonderful it is to be better, you say. Back when I was sick, you say. You tell yourself you’re recovered. You tell yourself that you have no right to feel the confusing feelings that you do, because ‘you don’t have that problem anymore’.
Do you ever have weeks on end where you refuse to look at your naked body in a mirror? Days where you even avoid looking at your face, if you can, out of shame? Get up every morning and the first thing you do when you stand up is poke the fat on your stomach to see if the layer has thinned since yesterday? Go to the gym and eat healthy food, but somehow feel defeated by the time evening comes?
Have you low-key avoided having pictures taken of yourself whenever possible, because you just can’t stand how ‘ugly’ they make you feel? How when you do see yourself in a photo, you’re instantly trapped- sucked in for ages, scrutinising your ‘flaws’, your ‘bad side’, comparing it to old photos of yourself, to other photos of your friends, people you stalk on instagram, trying desperately to convince yourself you’re not as horrible as your brain is telling you that you are? Finally wrenching yourself away from it with a sick feeling in your stomach; your head screaming at you that A) you’ve wasted time, and B) you’re disgustingly self-obsessed and shallow.
More often than I’d like to admit, this is how I feel. I love to promote body positivity and tell everyone how wonderful and freeing it is to embrace your looks and your body and your size and enjoy food with no regard to rules. Some days it’s really truly from the heart. I also know it in my head to be true. Some days, I think I’m a fraud, though.
I can’t fully understand why I am still fighting something so comparatively trivial (even though it is absolutely NOT trivial, and not a shallow issue, and both you and I know this. Those roots grow deep, into the dark places of our psyche). As a believer in Jesus, too, I guess I feel pressure to say I have it all figured out, which is also wrong thinking. I’m human. I’m a woman in this culture. I’m trying. Growing. Being formed. Jesus knows this.
Even so. I’m really sorry that I can’t be that wholly confident person right now (though just maybe that ideal, perfectly confident person is a myth, just as much as an airbrushed picture in a magazine). Sorry to myself, the one I let down nearly every day, and sorry to everyone who could use the support of one more person who lives what they believe, shines it from the inside out. It’s something I’ve always aspired to. Right now, all I can say is I’m fighting, and don’t plan on stopping.
And to everyone else who is fighting this battle, know this: you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are loved.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
– Psalm 139:14
P.s. I hope this doesn’t cause distress- this is not my intention in the slightest. Please forgive me if it has. I’d love to know your thoughts- if you can relate; if this shocks you; if you have anything to add. Lots and lots of love, Liz xx