When We Can't See It: Helping Each Other Find the Truth in Our Reflections
You can’t see it. I can’t always see it either. Looking at our reflection we are too quick to find things we believe are wrong instead of acknowledging all that is right. We live in a world that creates a narrative convincing us that the less space we take up the happier we will be. We look at images and we are no longer able to decipher what has been edited out or what is real. Then we lose sight of ourselves.
There are days I hate the photos taken of me. I look in the mirror and can’t always see the truth through all the ugly lies I have built up in my head. But I don’t want that for you. I have become skilled in leaving most of my comments inside my head because I don’t want you to hear them. Maybe I do this as a façade, one I hope this blog has done at least a little to break me of. But I also do it to protect those around me. I hate when women I love (or women I don’t even know) say bad things about themselves, so I don’t want to start the conversation by doing it to myself. I don’t want to be the catalyst of the discussion that leaves us all feeling like we aren’t good enough. Because I see you, even when I can’t always see me.
When we decide we aren’t good enough we are seeing the wrong thing in the mirror. It is an unhealthy habit to believe we aren’t beautiful or worthy. And that habit keeps us chasing ‘smallness’, chasing perfection, and chasing happiness that we believe comes from those things. You see we have been conditioned to believe that perfection lies somewhere out there and that until we reach it we can never truly be happy or satisfied with who we are. How sad is that? Days wasted hating the only body we will ever be given. Days wasted believing we are better off hating how we look or wishing it away instead of becoming determined to shut up the negative voices and learn to accept ourselves.
There will always be moments I can’t be the person who gets me out of my own head. But I am lucky I have people who help me on those days. I am lucky that somewhere after turning 30 I realized how exhausted I was and decided to fight back. I decided to fight harder to love this body than ask it to be perfect. I would stop believing my worth was tied to how I look. I would stop wasting days. I would stop allowing anyone else to determine my worth. I would stop obsessing over food and weight. I am the first to admit it takes real work to get out of your head and sometimes it even takes speaking to a professional. It isn’t fucking easy. The truth is it won’t be good every day but it can be better more often than not.
If eleven months of this blogging journey has taught me anything it is that my deepest desire is for you to see it and to believe it. For you to find the freedom I have started to find over the past 3-4 years. For you to look in that mirror and know your beauty. For you to know your strength. To take hold of your power and refuse to give it up to anyone. For you to fight for the acceptance of your body as hard you listen to the voice of disdain some days. For you to wear what you want. For you to be comfortable in your skin. For you to believe in who you are and to move forward in this world with the boldness it requires from you.
The journey is not easy, we all struggle, but I cannot watch you struggle. Perhaps if all of us decided to be the voice of reason, to uplift, to be honest, to help others find acceptance, then maybe we could all struggle a little less. Perhaps if all of us were honest about who we are and the battles we face then we could all struggle less. If we decided that loving our bodies and helping others do the same was important to changing lives then we could all struggle less. Maybe we could learn to see ourselves the way that other people see us. Maybe we could turn the negative voice off, leave the positive one on, and move in this world regaining our power free of the chains of our body image struggles. Maybe if we all lifted each other from our struggles we could lift the next generation with us. Maybe, just maybe, if we decided to do all of that we could finally change the narrative in our head and in our world.