I exit the shower and peer into the mirror. I gaze with scrutiny, passing judgement over every inch of my body. A dangerous cocktail of animosity and dejection streams through my veins. I can’t decide if I want to smash the mirror or cry. Negative words consume my mind.
Blemished. Deformed. Ugly. Obese. Flawed. Grotesque. Hideous.
I stroke the slashes from my most recent relapse, exploring the coarse but healing skin, closing my eyes and embracing the intense self-hatred that leads me to inflict these wounds. As my eyes move upward, I refocus on the girl in the mirror. Nobody taught me to love myself; I’ve merely learned to accept the misshapen and homely person I believe myself to be.
I begin to put my clothing on with purpose, hoping that covering vulnerabilities will suddenly improve the image I see and the harsh assessments screaming in my mind. No matter what, I can’t shake the inferiority I feel; the rancor permeates the air.
I glance at my phone, remembering the conversation with my best friend the night before. As I read over her words numerous times, I can almost feel her next to me, attempting to wash away the negative and replace it with something radically radiant.
You are gorgeous. Your hair is a beautiful color. Your smile lights up your face. You are full of beauty that you never even see.
My mind begins to question itself, waging a battle between the broken record that has played on for years with infinite remixes and this new song, a soaring melody by a lovely lady. There is truth in everything, right? I yearn to believe my beautiful friend, so what is holding me back?
The real obstacle is the same person that it’s always been: me.
Though perhaps I was not the initial source of these bitter beliefs, I can often be my own worst enemy. I allow the thoughts to linger in the darkness of my mind. I’m making the choice to replay the painful, poisonous memories that leave me feeling this way. I derail my progress towards a better life. I enable self-hatred.
What does this accomplish, though?
When we allow our minds to be controlled by others, we deprive ourselves of the exquisite reality of our own truth. Clinging to the insults of others means we cannot hold onto the compliments that come later. When we welcome hate into our hearts, we shun the love that we truly deserve.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve been told that you are broken and ugly far too many times. Perhaps, like me, you’ve been allowing yourself to soak in the pool of filth and negativity for so long that it has penetrated your skin and consumed your heart. Perhaps, like me, you’ve spent far too many mornings staring into the mirror hating what you see. Maybe you are a work in progress.
Maybe you can’t see anything different…yet.
I wish you could see it, though: I wish you could see the beauty in your smile, the sparkle in your eyes, the uniqueness in your shape. I wish you could see the person that I see, the person that I love… you. I hope that you will begin to see it soon. It will be a long road, and it will start very slowly with momentary glimpses into the true beauty that you hold. The truth is, my best friend is one of the smartest people I know (and she prides herself on being right), so in the deepest portions of my soul, I know that her words ring true. Embrace your real truth next time you look into the mirror: you are glorious and delightful… you are beautiful.
Previously Published on Project Wednesday