trigger warning: body image issues, implied self-harm, implied compulsive skin-picking
wake up, little girl. do your makeup in the mirror. use the dollar-store sponge you got years ago, and dab on the concealer.
over the scars. over the scabs. over all the bleeding wounds you’ve inflicted on yourself, because you could be so beautiful. you know? and yet, here you go. throwing it down the drain. and in just a second, everything i gave you could be taken away.
you just have to get it away. digging holes into yourself again and again. because this little girl is not okay. this little girl is filled up with things that disgust her, and things that disgust her must be violently ripped away.
wake up, little girl. you can’t go to work looking this way. so put on some foundation. and don’t bother with lip gloss, because that shit never stays.
wake up, little girl. because someone as broken as you… well, let’s face it. no one’s going to see your face in all its honesty, and still call it beautiful.
Looking in the mirror, I’m used to highlighting all of the things I don’t like. My cheeks, which are out of proportion to my forehead, and I’ve always thought make me look like a chipmunk. The scabs scattered across my forehead that most days, I’m too tired and busy to bother covering up with makeup. My forehead in general. I’ve done it so many times, it’s automatic. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.
The truth is, so many of us have been taught, whether from our parents, siblings, friends, relatives, schools, or the media, that we’re not good enough. That it’s normal to pick yourself apart–and, as little kids do when they see a behavior modeled on someone they trust, fear, or look up to, we learned to copy it; take it on. As a kid, I’d often get teased about my appearance–about my messed up teeth or my scabs or because according to a girl who used to bully me, my butt jiggled when I ran. (Which is the stupidest insult in retrospect, but also hurt a lot at the time.) Bodyshaming was a huge part of my school’s culture–it was like you couldn’t even be considered a girl if you didn’t hate yourself. We would ask each other if we were fat while we waited outside the school in the morning, before class would start, and tell each other what we thought were the ugliest features our classmates–and sometimes, ourselves and each other–had.
My parents never really contradicted those things either, and although they never criticized how I looked, they didn’t deny it either–and it definitely didn’t help that, well, my body type just isn’t meant to be skinny, and without a self-destructive level of exercising and dieting, to the point of it negatively affecting my mental and physical health, I will never look like the girls on my Instagram feed. Whereas, my parents were and still are the picture of perfect health, skinny and muscular and outdoorsy, constantly impressing on me the importance of maintaining a good fat/muscle ratio.
But it’s bullshit, honestly. Like, there are so much more important things to worry about than the things we don’t like in ourselves and each other–imagine how cool the world would be if rather than spending all that time trying to fit a messed up standard of beauty, we used it to pursue things we loved, or make each other happy. And, I don’t know, on a good day… I feel pretty. I really do. Which is not something I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say before. I take dumb selfies and send them to nobody, and I dance around my room in my favourite twirly white dress, and don’t feel ashamed of my thighs. Obviously, that’s not most of the time. But still. It’s something, right?
Lots of love,