For most of my life I have hated my body, and everything about it. There have been occassions when I have looked at pictures of myself and thought I look pretty, but in those photographs I am usually wearing a lot of make up and my hair is done. On a normal day to day basis, when I see myself in the mirror, I mostly feel disgust (that word is a little too strong, I just couldn’t think of another one) and self pity.
I feel as though I can’t talk about how I don’t like about myself to friends as I feel they think I am fishing for compliments, or looking for attention, so I am now just going to get it out exactly how I feel (Feel free to skip the next bit in bold if you don’t want to read self-pitying drivel!!)
Starting from the top, my hair. As I have grown older, I have begun to tolerate my hair more, and appreciate it. I have naturally curly hair, which is sometimes a blessing, but most of all can be a curse. When I have put effort into it, done it nicely and used products, I get quite a few compliments on it, which is a really lovely feeling. This is my hair:
I can admit that my hair in pictures like these look nice (then my brain is saying ‘Really? DON’T DO THAT! People will think you are stuck up and showing off! You need to be modest and pretend you don’t think it is nice! – Where does that come from? The way I was brought up?)
Then all the time I DON’T spend time on my hair, it is a nightmare. It is frizzy and wayward. I wake up in the morning and long for silky smooth hair that you run a brush through and it looks great, rather than hair I HAVE to do something with. Most of the time I end up tying it back but it still doesn’t look good.
So then I move on to my eyebrows. I think I have an addiction to plucking my eyebrows. Honestly, sometimes I find myself sitting at my desk plucking my eyebrows with my fingers! I run my fingertips over them and if I feel any hairs which are growing I HAVE to pull them out, it’s like a compulsion. I used to spend hours each day doing it, while I was watching TV. Since I have been with James, I have managed to curb it a little, but when he is out, I do it all the time. It really relaxes me.
I quite like the colour of my eyes, but the think I don’t like is the fact that I was born with a squint. I had 3 operations on my eye when I was a child and it corrected it, however when I am tired I can very occasionally get a lazy eye. The most frustrating thing is that in most pictures it isn’t noticeable. That is, until probably the most important picture of my life… my graduation picture from University. The one picture it had to happen in!
My other issue about my face is that I have some scarring on my upper lip. It is like two darker patches and it from an occasion in my teens when I got so upset about my facial hair (I will cover this is a later point) I tried to wax it off, not doing it properly and leaving myself with scars. You can see it in this picture, they are like two orangey patches on my upper lip: (Yes I know make up can cover it, but I know it is there).
As I have got older, something really weird has happened with my mouth. When I smile, either one side smiles higher or my gum is growing down. Either way, it means I really don’t like my smile when I show my teeth and as a result most pictures I am smiling in, I have my mouth closed. This is what I mean: (Gummy, gummy, gummy! – Can you see on the left how it is lower?)
I don’t really mind when I get spots on my face, as everyone gets them, but my biggest issue by far is my facial hair. This started growing when I was about 13, and it led me to the discovery that I have Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. One of the symptoms of this, is excess body hair. I have had 3 courses (6 treatments each) plus 3 free treatments of laser therapy, I have tried waxing (admittedly at home, and not since my incident that caused the scars), electrolysis (didn’t do enough of it, but it was excruciating, even more painful that the laser and that was BAD), bleaching (lasts about 2 days) and have ended up shaving as often as I can. I often end up with dark shadows as the hair grows in patches from just underneath my eyes, then across the line of my jaw, across my chin and down the front and sides of my neck. This is a picture from when I had left it to grow for about 5 days to show a doctor (I was trying for a particular medication called Finasteride at the time:)
I has taken me a lot to post this picture as it is something I try my utmost to hide away, by shaving on a regular basis and if people get too close I back away. I had tried medical treatments (Metformin, Finasteride, Vaniqua Cream) but nothing worked. Now, I am taking Dianette as a contraceptive pill and it also acts as an anti-androgen (?) effect on hair. It seems to have made a small difference but I still have to shave on a regular basis. I do get hair in other areas which I don’t like, mainly nipples, underneath my belly button and on my feet/toes but that is all bearable because it isn’t on show! My worst problem with my hair though, probably on a par with my facial hair, is my bikini line. I have hopefully now got myself into a routine of waxing but it so damn painful and I am plagued with ingrowing hairs which are painful and also look really awful, big red spots, some of which cause scars.
I swear if I left it, within a few weeks it would be like a jungle that I could plait (lol!) so I try to keep on top of it. I have been building back up to a Brazillian (what I had when I was escorting – if you want to read about that, scroll back through my posts, it was a phase of my life I am not going in to here) and hopefully in the next few weeks I am going to go for it. It makes me feel so much better and cleaner when it is done. Similar situation with my legs – if I shave them I find it impossible to get EVERYTHING and it has already started growing back within a couple of hours. I find waxing so painful but I know that is the only real solution.
I don’t like the hard skin on my feet, my hard hands or my finger or toe nails, but these things are all bearable, and sortable with work.
Something that isn’t sortable, unfortunately, are my self harm scars. Now this is a really difficult topic as I do have a huge conflict of emotions about them. On one hand, they are ugly and unsightly, and stretch from just below my elbow, down my left forearm and the front of my left hand. There are a couple of scars on my right arm but not big ones, and there are a few big scars on my left thigh. (Notice how hairy my arms are, I hate it. Quite often I will shave them but that does look odd when it is growing back).
They look SO MUCH better than they did several years ago but to me they will always be noticeable. I have noticed though, as time goes on, less people let their eyes travel to my arm when they first meet me, which is nice. So, I still find them ugly, but I think my biggest problem with them is the way they say to people “HELLO – THIS PERSON ONCE WAS IN SUCH A BAD PLACE THAT THEY DID THIS TO THEMSELVES”. I am busy portraying myself as sorted, calm and collected and my scars are a direct conflict to this.
Then, on the other hand, I feel protective over my scars. They show me (and others who take a moment to understand me and not judge me) that I was strong and I made it through the hard times. They remind me of times gone past and how far I have come. Most of all, they give me membership to the ‘special club’… the club of us Borderlines, who look after each other even though we have never met. This probably doesn’t make sense but my scars make me feel REAL. They make me feel LIKE SOMEONE, even if that person has now changed and grown, they gave me an identity that I could base myself on.
My biggest issue with my body, and which links in to the title of this post, is my weight. On January 1st this year, I was 12 stone 7 lbs, and I am now roughly 11 stone 7 lbs. I went down to 11 stone 4 lbs but came up again when I came off my anti-depressants and suffered bad withdrawal symptoms for over a month. When I look in the mirror, I see a fat girl looking back at me. When I say this to people, they say to me, ‘don’t be stupid, you are not fat’. This confuses me. I am not saying I am fat for attention or fishing for compliments. This is genuinely the way I feel. I need to get on top of my diet and start running again to get down to my first goal weight of 11 stone 0 lbs. Here is a recent picture of me:
Please don’t tell me I am not fat, this is not what I need or want to hear. In any case, I may have come to the realisation that when I look in the mirror, no matter what size I am, I will still see a fat girl looking back at me, and recently I have noticed an increase in binge/purge episodes. In this case, it may be my head that needs work, and not my body shape. I know that the numbers on the scale directly influence my mood, mind set and emotions for that day so I try not to weigh myself too often. I wish I could accept myself and be happy whatever size I am, but I am not at that point yet. If anyone has any interesting resources to help with that, I would be grateful if you could comment and link me to them.
Anyway, thanks for listening to all of that, it was really helpful to get it out and written down in a place I know I won’t be judged. I understand that a lot of my problems are not actually with my body, but in my head. I know I need to accept myself for who I am, but I haven’t been able to do that yet. I still find myself saying to myself “You are fucking disgusting, look at your hair/arms/legs/etc etc” which does nothing at all for my self esteem and image. Hopefully I will be able to find a way to bring my head around to start loving myself no matter what I look like.