There’s no denying I have body image issues, and there’s also no denying that I’m my own biggest critic. The fact is that I still pick on my flaws on an almost daily basis even now when I am grown.
Looking back, these feelings of inadequacy had started just around the time I hit puberty, which for me was when I was 12 years old. No surprise, that was the dangerous era for preteen and teenage girls and their fragile self-esteem.
Since then it has been years of struggle to accept myself.
At its worst, I had to contend with body dysmorphia in my teenage years, where I had to regularly remind myself that I was enough and that what I felt inside did not affect my physical form. It only subsided in my early adulthood. When I finally heard the term of body dysmorphia, it made sense how I had been feeling and I could finally put it down in a written form. Thankfully, this era has ended.
On some days it was fine, and on others, these feelings of disliking how I look would surface up, and I had to work to control them from taking over my mind.
How has it been then since I grew up? Did I stop feeling insecure of how I looked?
No, not exactly.
The frequency and severity of these thoughts have reduced, and I understood better what was real and what was not.
As an adult, I managed it better by masking my emotions and pushing myself to function and be despite how I felt.
I had a job, kids, and a husband to care for, and I couldn’t afford to just stop functioning and to dwell on my thoughts.
On some nights when the kids are down in bed, I allow myself to feel it all. I cry a little, and I pray for wisdom.
Come morning, I function again.
I’ve been working on trying to fit into my skin as it is, self-acceptance is the term used here. I do like parts of myself, but there are still parts of my physical appearance that I wish was different.
However, I have no plans in the slightest to ever go for plastic surgery.
Interestingly, I drew the line there for myself.
Of course this does not apply to cosmetic surgery due to health concerns, reconstructive surgery after an accident, and so on.
One of the reasons I won’t go for cosmetic surgery is because I feel that I would never be able to accept my appearance after modifications. Strangely, I think my mind will hang on to the physical image of myself before the changes.
All attention to my new ‘beauty’ will seem hollow to me.
But the biggest reason is that I have two young daughters of my own, and I want them to accept and believe that they are enough and are beautiful the way they are.
Unlike how their own mother felt.
Their mother will have to hide her feelings from them for now, till she herself can fully accept her body.
The journey to self-acceptance continues for me.
And I want to say a thank you note to my husband, who has loved me the way I am, and reminded me that I am already beautiful.
One day, I will allow myself to believe him.