Comfortable in my skin

I’ve always struggled with body image issues.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the same thing that you see.

They have always been an enemy.

I see weight.
I see cankles.
I see a large nose.
I see dimples where I don’t want dimples.
I see imperfect skin and hair that falls flat.
I see bones that protrude at odd angles.
I see bones that don’t protrude enough.
I see a hidden brokenness I don’t speak about very often.
I see nothing remotely attractive.

I’ve made myself ill, emotionally and physically. Phases of binging and purging, prompting starvation. A vicious cycle of wanting to lose weight that didn’t need to be lost, but fearful of losing it because life is easier if people don’t realize the sickness.I’ve never been comfortable in my own skin. I feel it crawling at the sheer thought of myself, becoming an unbearable burden. I have longed to peel it away, down to the bone. Pull away the blemishes and the fat and the muscle until there was nothing left.

It’s a pain I never wanted my daughter to feel. It’s a hurt that I knew I could help prevent by making myself better.

If I can’t make myself better for myself, I need to do it for her.

So, I step out of the shower and ignore the scale. I don’t give it the chance to determine my attitude about my body before I step in the mirror.

In front of the full-length mirror, I drop the towel and stare. Poke. Prod. Look. Examine. Pick out five things.

My stomach grew and carried two babies.
My legs are strong to chase them.
My arms are strong to hold them close.
My breasts are good for nourishing them.
My eyes are beautiful and an unusual shade of hazel.

For 46 days I have done this. For 46 days I have stared even when I didn’t want to, even when I stepped on the scale and the numbers weren’t low enough. For 46 days I have sought out five things, sometimes the same five things, sometimes managing to find one unfamiliar, beautiful thing.

It’s not ever easy. It might never be. But I have to. I have to learn.

Even if tomorrow it seems a chore and makes me want to shed. Even if today makes me cringe and cry. I have to get there.

For her.

For me.

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