That girl in the mirror that I’ll always kinda hate.

This isn’t a story about how I learned to love me, flaws and all. This isn’t a story about how I saw those flaws and decided I hated them so much I was going to change them and now I am happy with the New Me. This story isn’t inspirational like that at all.  It’s a confession, maybe. Or maybe it’s just a story. I’m not entirely sure.

But because it’s a new year, I’ve seen posts and pictures everywhere, talking about resolutions and goals and there’s a lot of feel-good, motivating stuff floating around. Inhaling the good, exhaling the bad, New Year New Me stuff. And that’s great. That’s wonderful. I’m over here clapping and cheering because I’m all about pushing yourself. Whether it’s to lose weight or become a better you all around, whatever. The world needs more positive, God, it needs more positive, and I will always celebrate that when I see it.

Because the truth is, I am about the least positive person when it comes to myself.

This is the truth of things. I’ve mentioned before how I struggle with body dysmorphia, and I think, somewhere at least in passing, I’ve stated that my self-esteem is generally a mess. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Even before I hit my teens, when insecurities are rampant and part of the package, I struggled with how I looked. I could never quite manage to ever be as slim as my peers. I developed early, being forced to wear a bra and deodorant long before my classmates ever even considered these things. I went from being one of the tallest in my grade, to on the short side, shoving me from center in basketball to a point guard in the span of a summer. I grew up in a time when the thing was straight hair, and I had a mop of curls that always wanted to do their own thing. My lips were too big, as well as my hips, my fingers long and bony, and I’ve never in my life been blessed with any kind of ass to fill out my jeans. I could sit and pick apart my appearance for hours and sometimes I did, for no other reason than I am a masochist.

 




It never got better, these hang ups I had. If anything, they grew with me. My boobs went from being too big to too small and my hair line was too weird and while I never got acne, my complexion was uneven and spotty. People forever told me how pretty I was and I always smiled and thanked them, but in my mind I screamed, “LIAR LIAR LIAR.” Because that’s not what I saw in the mirror. And I looked. A lot. I looked so much that my parents good-naturedly poked fun at me, laughing at their vain daughter who couldn’t pass a reflective surface without stopping to check herself out. And I laughed along because it was easier than admitting the truth: that I was looking to cringe because I always cringed when I looked. I hated what I saw there. I hated what that girl who stared back at me looked like. But I wanted to like her. I kinda hoped for the day that I would. Because I knew I was stuck with her and it seemed like a good idea to make peace.

 

I never have.

It’s true that I have learned to love, or at least accept, certain aspects of myself. My hair will never be perfect because it’s wild and unpredictable. But I also rarely have bad hair days because I’m not constantly trying to force it to do something it can’t. It’s become my signature thing, these crazed Bellatrix LeStrange locks of mine, and though I pay a small fortune in product, I also save money on shampoo so there’s something in that. My lips are big and while they get chapped easily, probably because they’re so big and exposed to the elements, but some people pay a lot of money to have theirs the same size. My lashes aren’t long, but my eyes are a pretty color and a pretty awesome shape for that Smokey look. My fingers are long and bony, but I rarely have a problem finding rings that fit. These are positives. These are things I can try to focus on when all the negatives buzz in my head, bringing me down. It doesn’t always work, in fact, it rarely works, but it’s something and something is better than nothing.

In the past, I’ve told myself I was going to learn to love me. I was going to make a conscious effort to be happier with who I was. But I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I don’t, honestly, believe that I will ever love, or even like, the girl I see in the mirror. I’ll always kinda resent her for not being my ideal. I’ll always find things to pick apart about her, no matter what I do to change what she looks like. I will, to varying degrees, always kinda feel like a stranger in my own skin, stifled and uncomfortable being there. So instead, I’m gonna learn to focus on the other things, rather than set impossible goals in front of me. I have a big heart, I care to the point of madness sometimes. I’ve learned to pick myself up and dust myself off after a fall, and that’s something to be proud of, never letting life get me down for too long. I don’t shove my insecurities off on others, tearing them apart in an effort to build myself up. I’m a loyal, steadfast friend, and I will always go to the mat for my people. I will bleed for mine, if that’s what it takes, storm into an arena for those that I love and face down whatever is there so they don’t have to. I’m honest and faithful and while I might not always know the right words to say in the face of someone’s troubles, I’ll listen for as long as they need me to. I do my best not to judge and I try to keep an open-mind and I might suck at small talk and being available 24/7, I’ll drop everything if I’m needed because nothing is more important to me than being there for the ones who need me to be.


The shape of my vessel sucks, to my own eye, at least, but the soul it houses isn’t so bad. It’s almost lovely, in fact. And that’s what I’ll try to see. And maybe I won’t be successful always, maybe I’ll never really be happy with myself, but I’ll stop trying to force it. I’ll stop beating myself up for something I’m clearly not capable of. Who knows. Maybe one day I’ll surprise myself. Maybe one day I’ll pass by a mirror and stop and smile instead of frown. Because maybe one day I won’t see hips that are too big or a butt that’s too small or a stomach that’s not perfectly flat. Maybe I’ll be able to see past that. And if I don’t, well, I’ve stopped expecting to. So I might not like how she looks, but I’ve learned to live with her. Maybe it won’t be peace, but it’ll be something like peace, and that’ll be good enough.



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