My guilty secret: confessions of a secret self-doubter

I have a confession to make. Whilst doing my best to write about body image and celebrate women for who they are, not what they look like; I have secretly been fighting an old demon. My hourglass, for the past month, has felt decidedly grape-shaped.

What I assumed was a  time-of-the-month bad-everything day (you know those…) has spilled over, and the body image problems I thought I’d shaken off in my early twenties have suddenly and inexplicably returned. It’s bizarre: rationally I know I have the same face and the same body I’ve always had – never model pretty but perfectly adequate for carrying around my brain and other important bits – but emotionally when I look in the mirror or see a photograph of myself I feel a prickly mix of inadequacy and revulsion. It’s an unpleasant feeling I know too many women will recognise. And I’ve been keeping it to myself, hoping it will go away: embarrassed that after posts and posts of encouraging women to celebrate themselves for who they are, I couldn’t even keep to the beat of my own drum.

Why is my mind doing this to me? I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I am determined to conquer it. I have imposed a blanket ban on using critical words against myself, and am also (Busenfreundinnen style) resisting my normal urges to compliment other women (sorry lovelies, I’ll shower you in affection when I’m back to normal.) I’m trying to focus on the things I can do that are important to me, and celebrate them over my arbitrarily issued limbs and features.

And most importantly, I’m coming clean to you. In a harsh and unforgiving culture towards women, body image isn’t just a mountain to be climbed once and left behind. It’s an ongoing quest, a battle against constant challenges by external forces that conspire to make us feel inadequate. Perhaps it is only together, by being open and honest when we have these feelings, that we can make enough sense of things to beat them forever. What do you think?

Kussen, lovelies xx

 

 

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3 Responses to My guilty secret: confessions of a secret self-doubter

  1. En Bouton says:

    I can relate, and I totally agree that being open and honest (even though it can be terribly hard – it certainly is for me) is the best way forward… being a champion of positive body image shouldn’t mean having to hide or dismiss self-doubting feelings when they happen. I hope you’re able to feel better in yourself soon.

    • Thank you. It’s actually amazing how cathartic just coming out and talking about it has been: it seems as if feeling like some kind of hypocrite was compounding the problem. I realise now that instead of failing in some way, I’m just proving what a difficult thing it is to deal with and why we need to work so hard to support each other to increase body confidence. Do you have any tactics for keeping positive? I’d like to write again about it as a support tool for others finding it difficult x

      • En Bouton says:

        There probably isn’t a single approach that will work for everybody, but what I’ve been trying to do recently is to take control of my body image, as opposed to letting other people influence it (directly or indirectly). Essentially, it’s saying “other people are welcome to their opinions, but I am the one who gets to decide whether my body is okay, and I don’t need permission to feel good about myself.” Just saying that is hard, let alone putting it into practice! I do think it’s worth a try, though.

        Besides that, I totally agree with focusing on the things that are important to you, and also (if possible) doing things you enjoy that aren’t body-image-related. If I’m having a bad body image day, I try to remind myself what really matters to me, avoid anything that feeds into the negative thoughts, and distract myself when I start getting obsessive.

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