All my life I have struggled with my self esteem. As a child, I wanted to be a model. This was shot down because, among other reasons, people told me I wasn’t small enough. I don’t believe it was said with any malice, just as a point of fact. I wasn’t “model skinny.”
After my daughter was born, when I was fifteen, I left the hospital in my smallest, size 8 pants. I looked in the mirror every day, and all I could see was fat, ugly, stupid. Whatever the reason behind my thoughts was is irrelevant. The fact was, and remains this is what I saw; what I see when I see myself.
I look back at pictures of myself at that age, and I wonder what was wrong with my head. I can see now that I was no fat. I would do almost anything to get back to that size because if I can just get there, I have enough proof to dispel the thoughts that I am fat. I look at those pictures now, and I can see the truth of my size, why couldn’t I see it then?
I continued to believe I was fat… and one day, it seems, I woke up a size 22. Twenty two. I know it didn’t happen over night, but it feels like it did. I don’t remember the transition. I have since lost weight, but, as I haven’t worn jeans in years, I can’t possibly know what size I am. I think I am afraid to find out.
I have never felt beautiful. I guess, I always figured that if I were beautiful, people would like me. Girls would want to be my friends, and boys would want to be with me. I have never been that girl. I have never been wanted. Never in demand. This, in my mind, meant that I am ugly.
People didn’t help either. I was called these adjectives, “fat”, “ugly”, “stupid”, a lot. It is far easier to tear down a child than to build up an adult. Especially once the inner voice kicks in and helps tear you down. Everyone said it, so it must be true. Right?
People tell me I am beautiful. I want to believe it, I truly do. I am getting a bit better at just saying “thank you” and accepting the compliment, but I don’t know how to see it. I don’t know how to believe it. Unfortunately, that’s the key. I can accept it as a compliment. I can even accept it as your truth. Until I can see it for myself, I will never be able to believe it.
Until I can see beauty in myself, it might as well not exist.
Now I know I have good qualities. I am a good person. Far too kind. Supportive. Smart. I feel like I am good at writing, and maybe not horrible at singing. I am fairly decent at painting and drawing. I even love my eyes. They are the only thing I like about my body.
I want to love my body.
I want to look in the mirror and FEEL beautiful.
I want to see my face and smile.
I want to like what I see.
You can have any opinion you want. You can somehow see me differently than I do… and if you can teach me to see myself through your eyes, please do, because I desperately want to.
Compliments are lovely, and for a moment, they can brighten my day, but they cannot change what I see in the mirror.
As much as I want them to.