I invigilated exams today, all day. As I sat waiting for one to start, another member of staff passed me. And in that moment everything fell apart inside me. She was beautiful, stunning actually, wearing pristine make-up and with long sleek hair tidily in a bun. She was wearing a cream cable knit with a pinkish skirt and boots. She was gorgeously slim and around 5'5" She looked calm, in control, perfect really. I, on the other hand, did not feel beautiful. The only thing that would stun people was my make-up from the day before, my glasses because I was so tired, my bad skin and my birds-nest of hair (to be clear, I have so much tangled hair that it daily dreads itself). I felt huge, so huge. I was too ugly, too fat, too tall. Not perfect. My mind was far from calm and I have never felt in control in my whole life. And in that instant, I went from looking at a beautiful person in a lovely outfit to self-hatred to a compelling need to change. The clothes I wore stopped being gorgeous items that I had fallen head over heels in love with. Instead, they were what was holding me back. My feet itched to run out of the office and grab my purse and race to the shops. I needed to be out of the outfit I was in. I needed to buy clothes that would make me look like her. I needed to straighten my hair. Starve myself. Because if I looked like her then maybe I could finally be happy. I could finally feel like I deserved to live.
To many, the above might sound like the ramblings of a mad-woman. And they, very. probably are just that. Low self-esteem is made so much worse by the people around us. Sometimes they don't have to do or say anything, just their very existence shames us into further self-hatred and depression. But too often people's words can wound us so severely. Picture being given a pin-badge saying something along the lines of shopping or having too much. I can't really recall because I was so ashamed that someone thought I had too much (which to me translates into feeling that I am greedy, that I don't deserve anything, to stopping eating, to self-hatred) that I hid it. A pin might seem just a pin to many but to someone like me, it is symbolic of the daily tale of self-hatred that is my life. It is further proof for my tortured mind that I was right and that I am a horrible person. People who struggles with self-esteem well know their flaws and do not need a pin to remind them. You may never know what will trigger someone but maybe passive-agressive comments on other people's lives aren't the best choice of action. In a moment of mental health, I threw the pin where it belonged in a black bin liner. Looking back with a little distance, it is possible that the pin might have been more about the giver or may just have been a harmless joke. Whenever I glimpse this person in real-life or on Facebook, all those feelings come flooding back. This fear of being seen as greedy and the guilt are familiar emotions to me. They affect me all the time. I can very rarely eat in front of people for fear that I will be seen as greedy and because I believe that others deserve the food more than I. I become more suicidal than usual when travelling with any luggage for fear that someone will think I have too much luggage and am greedy. I will frequently end up in tears before travelling and the event can take weeks to recover from.
With CBT, I am beginning to claw myself a new life. Hopefully, a life where I will not care if someone thinks I shop too much or eat too much. A life where I recognise that my choices and existence are as valid as the next person. A person who can revel in the joy of gorgeous floral ra-ra skirt. A person who can be proud of being someone who loves clothes and food. A life where I pick my friends more wisely. Because a friend who shames you is not a true friend. And my skirt is truly gorgeous.
Necklace: River Island
Brogues: New Look