Disclosure: I was given a #loveurself T-shirt for participating in this campaign. I will not be compensated for publishing this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.
There are moments when I’m looking at myself in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. In fact, I hate it. So much that I need to look away. It’s agonizing.
What’s very difficult for me to remember during moments like these– is that I’m not alone.
I’m pretty certain everyone has had moments like these, whether we choose to admit it or not.
What I also neglect to recall is that I am so much more than what is being reflected in the mirror. I am a person, a young woman, filled with potential, drive, passion, conviction, intelligence, humor, wit, compassion– and hope.
What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you see any of those qualities?
When I was invited to participate in a fashion show at BlogHer 2010, I was forced to confront these questions myself. I confess, it provoked some tears when I thought of how often I was loathing my appearance.
I had written about this issue some time earlier here, about a subject that is still very painful for me to talk about.
Indeed, I find it very ironic whenever I receive compliments about my looks, because, while there are often times when I am admiring my appearance, a lot of my insecurities stem from this very same aspect.
I mean, where the hell was this pep talk when I was having a b*tch fit at Ross while trying on shoes that I knew I couldn’t walk in?
This is why I felt compelled to join the #loveurself campaign. One of my deepest desires in sharing my personal stories is to encourage others to stop giving others power over their psyches. I know full well just how much headspace I’ve rented, free of charge, to these immature people who probably have a hard time facing themselves.
As an adult, I feel I’ve been able to let go of at least some of this self-imposed, self-hatred. I’m not in high school anymore, and I don’t feel the everyday social pressures of having to face my peers everyday.
Instead, now I get to socialize– both online and off– with a wide variety of friends of different ages, genders, and stages in life. Many are parents or even grandparents, and have a lot of sage advice and encouragement to offer me.
I feel that it makes a huge difference to be surrounded by people who have achieved a level of maturity that sadly, many of your high school peers never will. That’s a hard lesson I’ve had to learn, especially when I always felt compelled to believe my peers. It’s one thing to know that someone is wrong– it’s an entirely different thing to actually believe it.
The truth is, I think I’ll always have a struggle whenever I look at myself in the mirror. It’s nearly impossible to erase all of the scars of years of teasing, bullying, and emotional abuse from mean-spirited classmates.
But my hope is that, in writing about this topic, and in publishing it, I’m taking that power back.
I’m so done with giving others power over my self-image, because it’s supposed to be a personal thing, and a positive thing.
The journey towards healing is rocky and tumultuous. Nevertheless, it must start somewhere.
And this looks like a pretty good place to start.