I was always the skinny girl. Rail thin. No curves. Barely there. And I still felt fat.
Then I was the anorexic. Scary thin. Thin enough to make my friends cry. Everything hurt. And I still felt fat.
I evened out. Gained enough weight to be healthy. I did nothing out of the ordinary to do this. And I still felt fat.
Now I’m on psych meds. And I’m fat.
I wonder sometimes if it’s a punishment for all those years I took my weight for granted, for every time I looked at my emaciated body in the mirror and thought “just five more pounds”. Am I being punished? Or is this just science, cruel, logical science that is packing on actual weight, substantial weight, weight that has filled out my face and swollen my belly and there are days I don’t recognize myself in the mirror.
And I realize that it could be worse. That there are millions of people who are far heavier than I am, and I should be grateful for the medicines that keep me somewhat sane and out of the hospital (except for when they don’t) and shut up, for god’s sake, how fucking vain and self-centered can you get, girl. God, you’re sickening.
But in my brain, in my fucked up broken brain I see a monster in the mirror. But then again, I always have.
Body dysmorphic disorder. That’s what it’s called, according to the textbooks. The pervasive thoughts that I look freakish, inhuman, horrific. It’s always been like that. The only time I was somewhat satisfied with how I looked (and even then I was at the gym every day, frantically working out for hours) I was under 100 pounds. I’m 5’7.
To me, everyone else, EVERYONE else looks…right. The way they’re supposed to. Whatever weight they are. Perfectly normal and fine. Everyone but the image in the mirror. That one’s a freak.
I don’t take my picture anymore.
The depression from the way I look kills the motivation to do anything but get up, go to group, run errands and go home. To me, that’s a huge day’s work. I don’t blame you if you’re rolling your eyes right now. Could I BE more self-absorbed? But I’ve got to get this out of me or I’m going to scream.
I used to go to the gym every day. Walk miles and miles around Manhattan. In two years of living in NYC, I walked through three pairs of sneakers. Right through the soles. I still saw the monster in the mirror, but at least other people considered me slim. And that was paramount. So I ate one Powerbar, cut into thirds, a day. And I walked until my feet went through the soles of my shoes.
I’m paying for my vanity.
It’s a huge reason why I have so much social anxiety. I can’t stand being in public knowing what I look like. The constant chatter in my head calling me lazy and stupid for not just getting off my fat ass and exercising, why are you eating that you don’t need that, Do ANY of your pants fit Jesus, get some fucking self control. JUST FIX IT. And instead I write. And cry.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to have two of my very best friends here to hold my hand as I cried through something I can’t talk about yet. Those friends love me. They love me no matter what my weight is, in fact, it couldn’t matter less to them what I looked like. They love ME. And there are other people, inside and outside of my beloved computer, who love me blindly. I should be grateful for them. Hell, I should be on my knees thanking the universe for them every day.
Instead I concentrate on the monster in the mirror.
I hate that about myself. I hate MYSELF for feeling that way. And I hate that for 33 years, I have never, ever not seen the monster. But now the monster is real. Really real. And I took all those years for granted. And it’s too late now.
Everyone I know looks perfect just the way they are. I love so many, SO many people for being exactly who they are. No one else has to change a damn thing about themselves. I love you just the way you are.
But I can’t love the monster in the mirror.