I've been meaning to write this post for a long time now but just haven't been able to sit myself down to write it. You see, I want this to be meaningful and different. A lot of people have and will write about self-image struggles. As humans, we are broken and have a deep longing for acceptance and perfection. That brokenness is something that can never be healed or taken away by our own efforts, it's just too deep. The broken cannot heal/fix the broken but we can support each other, remind each other that we all carry different but similar struggles. But there will always be something in us that is missing. That yearning will manifest in different ways. What do you think yours is?
My Deep Dark Secrets
Mine shows in a few different ways that has the same underlying theme of insecurity:
- Physical Image
- Acceptance by others
I have always felt insecure about my physical image. I only feel good about my body after working out and/or eating reeeeeally healthy (as I'm eating a pint of ice cream editing this...). I know it's unhealthy but it's the unfortunate aspect of my struggle. I know I'm not overweight but when I look in my mirror I see a distorted image of myself. There are days my body doesn't look so expanded but it does for most. Everything is larger and hangs in very odd ways. The women in my family are extremely blunt. If you gain a little weight, it’s voiced quickly. If your makeup or hair is unsuitable, it’s called out immediately. If anything regarding my appearance displeases my mom, it disturbs her to the core and we will have a deep/serious talk about it (enter eye rolling emoji). When I gained a significant amount of weight in high school, I was told weekly that I needed to lose weight. So as a result, I'm hypercritical of how I feel in my body. If I eat a large meal, I feel a double chin grow (I know it's in my head but this girl can't help it!) and my reflection expands again.
My difficulty with accepting my physical image impacts my struggle with sexuality. I find myself in situations that I know will lead to no good simply to feel wanted or desired. As a Christian, I struggle daily with premarital sex. The struggle is REAL people. And I will be honest and say that I am not 100% successful at it - some of it because I can't say no, most of it because it makes me feel desirable. My sick brain will say "oh! I ain't thaaaaat bad then!". Then comes the aftermath of my heart just feeling so messed up. I view sex as a deep and sacred moment that is meant for the sanctity of marriage but I throw it away just so I can feel good about my looks? Ridiculous.
This leads into my last struggle, which is acceptance. Sometimes I just don't say no (not to just sex, I mean life at large) because I don't want to be the weird or different one. I moved a lot in my life, especially during some critical moments of child/teenage-hood. You learn to be adaptable and flexible so you can be accepted by a social group quickly and have friends. But I didn't get a chance to learn how to grow deep ties with friendships, giving me an unfortunate ability to cut relationships at the drop of a dime. I've lost a lot of good friendships because I'm always jumping from one group to another - always on the search for the "upgrade" of friendships. Sometimes I'm not even sure who my true self is because I will morph identity depending on the circumstance and group of people. It's quite sad because I rarely feel like I can be myself for fear of not being accepted.
So now what? I said the broken cannot fix the broken. So does that mean I have to stay in this deep pit of despair forever??! Not really. You see, the underlying root in all this insecurity is the lack of love in my life. I don't mean that ooh-ahh love you get from being in a relationship. I mean that deep and all-consuming love that reminds me that my self-worth isn't in accordance to society's standards. And I have it in my life but I seem to always forget or walk away from it. So stupid right? I have the antidote to my sickness and yet I don't take it. Instead, I continue to chase after the sources of my sadness and really bathe in it. When I'm feeling fat or unaccepted, I'll chase after the quick fix rather than investing in the one thing that heals me. So what is it?
It's Jesus, my friend. When I actually take the time to lean on him for my support, I am overwhelmed with that love that takes all the fears away. It's the only time I can really be vulnerable and open without feeling like I'll be rejected in all of my brokenness. Unfortunately I'm not in this love all the time. Hence all the things I just talked about above. Daily I struggle to remember who I am loved by. So weird to remember being loved. But when I do...ooooooooooh, it is sweet sweet sweet. He reminds me that I am loved and I am whole, in all my feelings of lacking that I am complete. You are whole. You are loved. You are everything despite feeling like you have nothing when you are with Jesus.
For some of you, faith and Christianity may not be in your life but you're looking for help in your personal struggles. I would highly recommend talking with someone about it. This goes for christians as well. The more you are open about your struggles, the less you feel restricted by it. Insecurities and unhealthy habits don't develop insidiously. There's always a source. A root cause. So you must find it! I went to therapy for a year to dig through my emotional ups/downs and found it incredibly helpful. A good therapist is able to give you new perspective, as well as tools to help you build new healthy habits. Don't get me wrong, your insecurities will be there. Mine are always there. But I now have ways to fight it and to remind myself how to gain control when they seem to takeover - that's the key.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this long and vulnerable post...but I thought it was time to finally write about this, bringing you into my not-so-perfect mind.
Until next time.