I woke up this morning and climbed into the shower like I normally do. I washed my hair, lathered the shampoo up and massaged my scalp. I rinsed my hair and sat under the warm water for a few minutes. I grabbed the soap, and began to rub it all over my body, working up a small lather. I placed a foot on the side of the bathtub, so I could wash that leg and did the same with the other leg. I kept looking at my body parts and I began to remember an image I used to have of myself – an image I used to feel some pride.
I turned the water off. Opened the shower curtain and grabbed a towel to dry off. I stepped out onto the floor cloth, to catch the excess water that fell off me as I rubbed the towel over my body getting the wetness off me. I hung the towel on the hook and turned to look at my naked body in the mirror just outside the motel bathroom.
I didn’t like what I saw.
I had not truly looked at myself in years. I have not been happy with myself in years, so why would I look. I have not felt proud of myself in years, so what could I possibly like now. As I looked at myself, I realized that I am not just overweight, but I am what the charts in the doctor’s office calls “grossly obese”. I can feel my self-hatred rise. I can feel myself getting ready to admonish myself (a.k.a. Hilda’s Rant). I can feel the disappointment I have in myself for letting myself go.
But that’s not really what it is, I am a stress eater – I use eating to comfort myself, because I forgot how to deal with my anxieties. But, if I really look at it, it goes beyond eating. I eat to feel good, I drink to feel good, and I have sex to feel good (mostly it’s alone…but you get the idea). I do little things for little moments, but they have big impacts when I combine all of the self-destructive behavior. And today, as I looked in that mirror I felt myself cringe. I really looked at myself and I really saw that my user name goes beyond my soul and has affected my physical being. I’m tarnished.
I had a friend, recently in an email, indicate that I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect. It’s true. I’m not happy unless I’ve done my absolute best at everything. And when I can look at something and see the imperfections of things I knew I could have controlled, I feel like a failure. Today, I’m looking at my naked body, looking at every fat crevasse, every roll, every cottage-cheese looking crap on my legs and ass. I can see my stomach crowding out my entire body. And it hits me that I don’t see an imperfection, I see the culmination of all the mistakes of my life – all the failures of my life.
And the case of the “shoulds” hit me… I should have done this, I shouldn’t have done that, I should, I should, I should…
And worse, the anxiety begins to overwhelm me with how to go about fixing this. You see, that’s my instant response to something I don’t like – How do I fix it, so I do like it? How do I achieve my ideal? I know I can do it, I can do anything I put my mind to, right (Remind me sometime, to explain why I think THAT concept is a major fallacy)? I can be a very directed person when I have a goal. My problem is that I’m not good at accomplishing several goals at once, and I ignore EVERYTHING around me until I accomplish said goal. I’m obsessive about things that I feel are important. It’s a fucking annoying trait I have – to the point that it has annoyed those around me. It’s part of the whole way I go about trying to achieve perfection.
But today, I looked at my naked body, and I haven’t truly looked at it in years. Although, I’m not happy with it, it was intimate in the sense that I’m willing to look at it.
Maybe, I’m going to take a step towards loving myself…