Earlier this week we shared our thoughts on the word ‘perfect’ and how harmful it can be. This post inspired Ellen to think about her journey with her own body, and she kindly shared them with us….
I was born on August 29th 2000, two weeks overdue. As the anticipation of me being the first born dominated the minds of my loving mum and dad, I often wondered what was the first thought that blossomed into my parents minds when they first laid eyes on me? One day, while we were driving along peacefully in silence, where the muffled sounds on the radio prevailed through the car, I questioned them on their recollection of my birth. They told me how anxiety and excitement swamped through their veins as they held their vulnerable new world in their arms, cradling me.
I understood my mum and dad when they explained to me, that the second they held the fusion of half of one another in each others arms, the only concern they had was for me to be a healthy, whole and complete being.That was all they ever wanted and all they ever needed when it came to their daughter.
Perfect, because I was healthy, whole, and complete
So why do I, 16 years later, somehow think that I am just not enough?
Because, I along with the rest of the world, have been taught, perfection is no longer about health, wholesomeness, or completion.
It’s only about how we look in the mirror
…And THAT mirror of ours will NEVER give us the gratification that we crave.
I would stare. Unaware if I approved of the object before me.
Everyday I used to stand and investigate myself. It was almost as though I was a cell under a microscope, unable to move and subjected to a thorough analysis. I would show expressions of confusion, perhaps I was lost. Lost in my dark mindset of negative desires. It wasn’t as simple or as insignificant as holding an occasional dislike towards a specific region. It was (or so it felt like) eternal and consuming.
I would proceed to strip my body of its comforting fabrics. I remembered feeling a sense of closure, when I was engulfed in such baggy clothing. I felt safe and protected from my insecurities. Almost like they were suffocated, like they were momentarily invisible to myself…
As I began to unwrap my body from its shield of protection, I would feel an overpowering rush of vulnerability and exposure echoing inside me. I felt imprisoned by my appearance, it was similar to a life long sentence, trapped in a mentality that I was wrong.
I prepared myself.
I paid attention to my breathing, as I inhaled the clean air. I would then focus on the enjoyment I possessed when this occurred. My mind was empty and to my dismay, it was perhaps the only time I felt free of myself and those unsettling thoughts.
Everyday I recalled feeling pain and misery in my breath. I no longer considered myself satisfied with the image I had to represent as.
Struggling, looking at myself through the eyes of a mirror, I would shrug my shoulders in despair. My day often ended with the sensation of my eyes being flooded and my warm tears caressing my ice cold cheek. With a critical eye, I would work my way up from my head to my toes. I began the journey.
The route of hatred.
I would describe the journey as turbulent. I was slow, watchful, never missed an opportunity to critique, to stop off to make comparisons, refuelling on resentment throughout. Selfishly picking away at my acclaimed flaws, as well as my self esteem. I needed no judgement from others, for I was my own critique and the harshest. Compliments would wash over my head like the tide while my own judgement would seep into my brain and forever be ingrained. I was that same human being that was born into the world 16 years ago. The same girl that was held in my parents arms, where I was welcomed into an abundance of love, where I knew I was perfection because I was simply healthy whole and complete.
So what has changed?
Why is there suddenly an unanimous acceptance around hating ourselves, almost as though the events I write to you above are normal?
When did it become a trend to only look for flaws?
When did it become a trend to only see yourself as just that?
Sadly I know, I am not alone. I know that the reflection of my words speak to countless of people today.
Everyday of my life I struggle with my body. I struggle to love myself, because over these 16 years of my life I have trained myself to look in the mirror seeking out imperfections and only that. There is no quick fix in learning to be okay with what you see in a mirror, some of us will never get there, at least it feels like that.
But I tell you now, WE HAVE TO TRY.
I speak to everyone who looks in the mirror and is nothing but saddened by what is staring back, when I say I am tired of watching the population of our world hate themselves. We all want the same thing; to be happy with ourselves. We convince ourselves the foundation of our happiness comes from our appearance. Maybe we are growing into a world where that is the case, but even if we are, WE NEED TO LEARN TO BE KIND TO OURSELVES.
Self acceptance does not require a physical change in weight or height, believe me when I say, I KNOW THIS. Because for a long while I believed when I changed physically I would change mentally. Take it from a girl who did lose weight, along with herself in the process.
It means mental growth.
It means understanding that you are the only one in control of how you see yourself.
And when a day comes when you allow yourself to see yourself as the perfection your parents saw when they first laid eyes on you,
You will finally understand that perfection doesn’t revolve around a mirror
IT REVOLVES ON WHAT YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO BELIEVE.