This ain’t gonna be a fun post so if you’re not into that sorta thing then I’ll save you the trouble and recommend finding another blog to read and I’ll also quickly mention that this post is going to feature talk on self-image, self-confidence (or there lack of) and body dysmorphia so trigger warnings for any of those topics for anyone who is affected by them and would rather not read on, that’s cool, anyway, let’s get this over with.
This post has stemmed from a particular episode I experienced a while ago; an episode of exceptionally low self esteem. I get these occasionally, mostly around the time I’m due on my period so in those cases, they’re probably hormone related and that’s fine because everyone with a uterus will know that hormone related PMS symptoms suck ass so in these instances of low self-esteem, I can usually manage because I know the reasoning behind them. But they’re not always because of that reason. I know we all go through periods of not liking ourselves, certain aspects of ourselves and wanting to change certain things and I understand that to an extent, that’s completely normal. But I also know that this deep, deep set feeling of loathing I have for myself probably isn’t normal. I’ve spoke to a therapist about it and I thought maybe getting my thoughts out here would help too. Or it might not. We’ll see.
I usually get myself in these moods when I’m actively trying to make myself look better. For example, a pamper night where I’ll fake tan and do my nails or before going out when I do my hair and make up. I rev myself up for being “selfie ready” and ultimately fail every time. At first glance I’ll think my make up looks pretty good and my hair has gone pretty decent but then when I step back and look and the big ol’ picture of myself all done up, that’s when I’ll notice my make up looks a little orange and actually my fringe isn’t sitting right. That will then escalate and suddenly, my outfit sucks, it looks stupid on my body shape, it’s not flattering, my arms look awful, my body looks awful and suddenly… there’s not a single thing I like about myself. It’s that easy for it to spiral until the point where it feels like it’s out of my control completely and nothing anyone says will get me out of that pit.
It’s taken me over 5 months to get to this point in this post because I can’t seem to get more than a paragraph out before it gets too much or I feel myself wanting to cry so I’ll swiftly click “update draft” and get the hell out of there. But body image and self esteem issues are a real problem. And they need to be spoken about. They are not petty. And yes, subjectivly it “could be worse” but don’t you just hate that phrase? Because at that moment in time where someone is feeling that low about themselves, nothing is worse. You want to hide and never bother making an effort ever again because nothing you do is ever good enough; this can apply to appearances or work-related or creativity. Even blogging.
But mine focuses heavily on the way I look and deep down I know that what we look like has no impact on how we are as a person but I’ve always been an incredibly self conscious person. Tell my 18 year-old self who ate nothing but salad, limited herself to 800 calories a day and went to the gym twice a day all because she wanted to look better than her friends in a bikini when she went on holiday that summer. Tell that person, “hey you don’t need to do that, it’s what’s on the inside that counts!” She would have told you to shut up. The only thing on her insides was fucking lettuce. And whilst I am a long way from that girl and looking back I am truly disgusted at myself for going to those extremes, it’s important to recognise the mistakes and learn from them. But whilst I would never, ever do anything like that again (I love food far too much for that), that doesn’t mean my insecurities aren’t still there, festering (I hate that word) on whatever it is I hate about myself that day.
Being online, blogging and having easy access to material which makes me feel crap definitely hasn’t helped. If anything, I think this problem has gotten worse since becoming a blogger and spending the majority of my life online. I can think of a few bloggers off the top of my head who’s Instagrams I have scrolled through, making myself feel worse and worse through each page because of how utterly beautiful they are. I don’t in any way blame these people, it’s entirely my fault. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you’re confident in yourself then you fucking scream it to the world. Take the selfies, take the underwear photos – whatever the heck you want. But this is a perfect example of one of the self-destructive behaviours I possess. One that I know I need to stop doing.
I know I could help myself more than I do. I could make more of an effort with my appearance. I could work-out more (actually, I could work out at all because I currently don’t and it’s awful and so unhealthy), I could eat better and I could definitely stop eating as many takeaways. And this isn’t about being thin. Hell to the fucking no. I’m not fat shaming, thin shaming, body shaming or doing any type of shaming here – I’m talking about me and my own problems. I’m acknowledging the fact that I have this problem, yet I’m barely doing anything about it. And until I do, should I stop moaning about it? Some of you would say a firm yes. But when you’re in such a pit of self doubt, when your self esteem has hit rock bottom and when you hate yourself as much as I currently do, doing anything about it seems futile. And it doesn’t matter how many compliments you receive or how many words of encouragement you hear; it’s all white noise.
I’m going to end this here; when I first thought about writing this all by 6 bloody months ago, I didn’t really know what I wanted to say or where I wanted this post to go. I didn’t know whether I wanted to try and help others feel better about it, those in the same position as me. But the more I wrote and the more I realised how damaged I truly am regarding this topic, the more I realised that actually I don’t have the means to be giving other people advice. All I would say is look after yourself and be healthy. As healthy as you can. If it’s really bad, talk to a therapist. And remember you are more than what you look like. I’m going to keep going; I’m going to make another therapy appointment to talk about it in more depth and I’m going to start making small changes. Hopefully. If I have the energy. And as for the mental health side of things here, never, ever stop talking.
At least my Jungle Book pants rock.