When I look at this picture and think about my body dysmorphia I think about how far “we” have come with it, and yet how much it still eats at me and hold me back. Over the years I’ve introduced exposure therapy tactics in hopes to force myself to grow. To be honest, 2017 is the first year that I have ever been able to see myself. Up until now, I have lived not knowing what I look like. I never took the time to look, nor did I want to. This is how I can tell I’m making progress. I am able to see myself in a less distorted way.
I remember the onset of the dysmorphia was around age 8, after being made aware of our body differences, when I was told I would never have a”figure” like of one of my friends did. (I WAS TOLD THIS BY AN ADULT.)
Throughout my childhood, teens and early 20’s I was made sure to be reminded of my “larger ears” and “prominent nose” and “long limbs” and my “overall unflattering body shape.” WTF!?
After creating a silhouette portrait project with the overhead projection for a class required project in 5th grade, I was told that I did not have the “Perfect Profile” because my nose stuck out further than my chin. And according to “Them”, a perfect model’s nose lines up with her chin and it is imperfect otherwise.
As a teenager, I was told, “SUCK IT IN SASHA” constantly. This sounds somewhat funny now, maybe because it has a certain ring to it like it could be the name of a song. But then, at that time…it’s wasn’t. It hurt so much. Walking into a room, my eyes were often the last thing “They” made eye contact with. My body, my stomach, alway made the appearance fist. “They” stopped seeing me, they only saw my “imperfections”.
I have been told by multiple people that “You are the ugliest person I have ever seen” and told how “stupid I was”. Growing up with learning disabilities helped contribute to my low self esteem and lack of worth. A constant reminder about how different I was, and always quationed “Why can you be more like ‘so and so'”
So, I made the choice in 2010 that I was not going to live my life like this forever and I was not going to give up on myself. But I did it all backward.
I’ve forced myself to do all these uncomfortable and awful things trying to fix my outsides, in hopes of feeling LOVED AND FEELING GOOD ENOUGH! I wanted to feel accepted and beautiful. I wanted to think I was beautiful. I wanted to stop avoiding mirrors because I was afraid of what I was going to see. I wanted to stop spending hours in front of mirrors checking on “Flaws”, ritually looking at my stomach and my nose in bathroom mirrors after every time I ate, woke up or went out. Checking to make sure I didn’t get fat, because my worth and my mood was based on what my stomach looked like. I JUST WANTED IT TO STOP. Stop being a prisoner to the mirror and my mind.
I thought for so long that changing my appearance would healing my insides.
After 7 years of torturing myself with diets, exercise and trying to change my body, I’ve begun to accept that no matter how I appear on the outside, it will never undo and never fix the girl on the inside. I spent so much time planning my cosmetic surgeries, never going through with them because I was afraid that I would hate those too. Because they were still me but also because they weren’t really me. I would feel like a fraud. Knowing who I truly was behind the alterations (the ugly I was hiding). I didn’t go through with them because I would be proving “THEM” all right. That I had surrendered to the fact that I did need to change my appearance to be accepted by “THEM”.
I KNOW I could buy/build a new body but that would never truly be ME. I could never be loved for ME, the way I was born, if I changed me. I could never feel loved as me, knowing that I tricked people into believing I was someone else. With different features, a different nose, a different body. Succumbing to “expectations.
I spent years avoiding eye contact with people because I thought that by keeping my head down and eyes down no one would see me. The good old Ostrich self-defense mechanism.
The journey continued…
-I forced myself to diet and train when I became over weight because it MADE me leave my house and be uncomfortable. Because I felt unworthy overweight.
-I forced myself to eat more to put on size after struggling with, ANOTHER, eating disorder and orthorexia and fat burner supplement abuse. Because it scared the shit out of me and I was truly killing myself. I was in so much pain I that I cried every day for years!
-I re “#gainedtheweight” because I was made to think that my body was not good enough because now I was too skinny.
-I made the conscious decision to expose my body to 100s of people by doing something I never thought I would ever do. Competing, modeling, and acting (wearing crop tops and sandals) Because the thought of people seeing my body and my face physically made me sick.
And now I write, to expose my truths. To untangling the knots the have prevented me from moving forward. There is a mess in here, and I am determined to clean it up.