I asked my aunt to take the picture down. She complied, which relieved a lot of stress for me, but before she took it down I was curled up in bed in the fetal position, obsessing over the fact that a fat picture of me was on the internet. I decided to try to practice a little kind self talk, and I imagined another version of myself stroking my hair and saying, "There, there,...I love you." A tear formed in the corner of one of my eyes, and then the self-loving version of myself said, "You are precious."
At those words something inside me screamed, "The woman in that picture is NOT precious," and I started bawling. There it was. That deeply held, but never consciously acknowledged belief that the way I look determines whether or not I deserve love. It determines my worth as a person. I didn't think I believed that, but I can't deny it any longer. I don't know how to fix that belief. It's just there in a spot I can't reach.
I can't show you the picture because I didn't save it, and my aunt has removed it from the internet. I don't want to ask her to send it to me, although I could. I did tell her how I was struggling with my appearance. She would understand perfectly if I told her I wanted to hold onto the picture as a way of accepting myself. I took another picture of myself today, though, so I can put it on the internet, which is stressing me the hell out, but it seems like a first step in accepting and loving myself.
I'm posting this, not only as an act of acceptance, but as an act of faith in myself. I'm going to need a before picture, right?
Oh! And later in the evening, sometime after my meltdown over calling myself precious, someone posted the following on Facebook:
It doesn't make sense to call ourselves ugly, because we don't really see ourselves. We don't watch ourselves sleeping in bed, curled up silent with our chests rising & falling with our own rhythm. We don't see ourselves reading a book, eyes fluttering and glowing. You don't see yourself looking at someone with love and care in your heart. There's no mirror in your way when your laughing and smiling and pure happiness is leaking out of you. You would know exactly how bright and beautiful you are if you saw yourself in the moments where you are truly your authentic self.Somehow I was able to accept this as absolutely true about myself. There is so much more to a person than could ever be captured in a snapshot. A picture can never show how beautiful I really am.