I have been struggling with an old, all too familiar demon lately: self image. I know that I am not alone in this - I’m sure we have all been there at one time or another. Constantly presented with images of beauty and body image, it is so difficult to remain detached.
As Gotye has sung “You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness”, I believe I can get addicted to a certain type of self abuse. I am forever finding reasons not to be happy with my body: if this was just a little bit smaller, if that was just a little more symmetrical, if this was a little more that, if that was a little more like hers...It never stops. It’s a living nightmare, really. My own personal hell. Tangled up in a web of self hate that no one can talk me out of, I have become my own worse enemy. Instead of being my best friend, I have developed an inner demon that refuses to let me be happy with who I am. It’s the most abusive relationship I have encountered.
I so desperately want to love what is in front of the mirror, but how am I to do that when my own concept of beauty and what it means is so terribly fucked and deeply rooted in false perceptions of perfection? I feel like a little girl lost inside my head, and I’m not willing to cut me - or my thighs a break.
Lately I have my own worst abuser: I say things to myself that I later feel ashamed for, and have brought myself to tears. I cry myself to sleep over aspects of my figure that I feel fall short of my expectations. There is no greater tragedy than to be a perfectionist, only to discover that you are less than perfect. As a lover of fashion, must I also be a hater of myself?
Modern philosophy tells me that to find personal fulfillment I cannot look outside myself - that the answer is somewhere within me. Yet my church, the foundation of my faith, tells me that my very heart will lead me astray - that if I am to have inner peace I must look outside of myself.
Looking outside of myself for the confirmation of beauty has only nurtured the self loathing that I continuously fight on the inside. That voice that says “I can be happy when....” always ends up being the most ridiculous sentence if uttered out loud. I am an educated woman. I should know that the circumference of my thighs should not determine my quality of life...But it does. It very much does.
A day where my jeans fit a little too tight, or when my skin looks a little too dull can keep me in bed all day. My love for quantum physics, quality education, or life experiences no longer matter in these circumstances - all that matters is that I do not look like the (very photoshopped) girls in the magazines. I know it is ridiculous to let an inanimate object such as a magazine or a numerical value determine my self worth. This knowledge, and the day to day struggle are two very different things, however.
In a world that moves at the speed of ever changing technology, I am finding more and more that I so desperately want to be judged by my mind and education and not my outward features. As a fashion blogger and woman who has long been immersed in the world of fashion and fashion interests, I will be the first to tell you that yes, how one dresses can determine how one will be received. Clothes and beauty matter. I know this - and should I ever try to forget, I am given a reminder every month when I pay my credit card: a shoe purchase here, a facial there... Is it a double standard that I wish for others to listen to my intellect and not focus on my eyebrows and when they were last waxed? In order to love fashion, must I put the desire to love myself on a shelf?