My therapist suggested I write two letters to myself relating to an insecurity I’m facing. The first is a letter stating exactly how I feel, the second, a response to the first, written as if by a close friend.
A powerful tool in rethinking negativity, why not try it.
Warning: this might trigger some.
Letter to myself:
The list of things I hate about myself is long, so long, I’d really bore you if I told you every little thing.
To hone in and pick just one thing I hate about myself for the purpose of this exercise, one single worry that overrides the rest, is hard. The smaller niggles would be a nose too big when I smile and too small a top lip I’m too scared to plumpen. The biggest worry by far though is my body image. A body that does not behave. A PCOS and Hashimotos-adled figure that literally fights to be fat, day after day.
The fact I never feel happy in my own skin, like the world tells me i should, and I never know how others see me or how I see myself, even in a mirror, saddens me. For 30 long and wasted years I’ve hated my body.
From a slim child to a plump tween with putty fat, to a yo-yoing teen and adult-three decades on, I still don’t love myself. Not wholly, probably not ever.
On reflection, I’m not sure the catalyst to this level of body shame came from wanting to conform, to look like models in magazines with legs for years.
Yes, the media played its part but mostly it’s been down to my own body and DNA, the way its needed strict management and control and from an early age. An age where other girls weren’t yet sprouting breasts or worrying about how much sugar they were eating.
My body has a life of its own. Small shoulders, big hips, which puts on weight with such ease and always did and my concerns over it, are now making me feel fatigued.
Babies, bless their hungry hearts, destroyed my body somwhat but 7 years since my second son was born means really, I’m the one at fault not them.
I’ve lost weight, lots of weight over the years but it always seems to find me again. Nothing tastes sweeter than mouthful after mouthful of emotions right?
I’m good at hiding weight-gain to be fair, in propping my arms in awkward right angles for the camera and pouring into Spanx which boost my confidence a bit. Two pairs for extra low days.
And I’m a fashion expert when it comes to choosing flattering v neck frocks which conceal, and love nothing more than extra support tights even in the summer heat which help to suck me up and hold me in.
And, while I often reach a size 10, over and over again and back again, I can never fully rest and eat a chip or ten, because a few weeks later I’ve morphed again, and so the cycle repeats.
If only I was leaner, taller, younger, perkier.
Oh how I wish I could stop the self hate now and relearn that negativity. It doesn’t consume me every day, some days I feel I’ve scrubbed up well. My husband tells me he finds me beautiful, especially when I’m not hiding behind lashes and eyeliner but I feel I need that armour, even now.
The worst is seeking out my reflection in shop windows on walks, and question if perhaps I look so big because they’re double glazed and the glass is playing tricks on me. A body dysmophic‘s bad dream.
I wish they’d tell me how I look. How they see me.
I also know I need to stick to what works for me. To be consistent with what I eat and how I move, and most of all, in how I think. In what I tell myself.
Letter to myself as if it were from a friend. </
Oh Vicki, you’re nuts. No one sees those faults you’re feasting on.
You look confident and healthy, pretty and polished.
Some days you do feel happy in your skin, you just choose to dwell on the days you don’t. You seek them out and ferment in negativity, others’ and your own.
You are smart and loyal, funny, feminine, a faminist and kind. Softer than others might know, with strong opinions, values steeped in authentic living and helping others, and big ambitious creative dreams you’re wiling to work for.
You inspire others to be themselves when they see you being yourself. In being fearless in your pursuit of new things, adventure and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
You are brave and big-hearted. Now turn that fire within that can burn too brightly and hurt you to a steady which helps illuminate you from within. You are enough, enough, enough.
Thank you to my good pal Deborah of Metropolitan Mum for reading this and encouraging me to post it.
Read another candid post: Being Honest: Having a Traumatic Birth written in 2017.