I Stayed

As you placed your hands in mine, I felt my stomach drop to my feet–creating another pothole in this broken road. The look in your eyes spoke before the words could fall out of your mouth. And while I had been wanting to throw in the towel for months, I couldn’t stop the heat from rushing to my face. I couldn’t stop the rage mixed with sadness when you finally said, “I’m leaving.”

“What do you mean you’re leaving?”

You just promised me not three days prior that you’d never leave me and that you were just feeling the weight of work on your shoulders. I attributed your distance to being overwhelmed. Despite coming home and you not even offering a hello, let alone a glance in my direction, until I finally broke the silence for the both of us–DESPITE that… I stayed.

Despite the lack of effort on your end to showcase any appreciation or love for me even the slightest amount–I stayed. More and more of me didn’t want to stay. So many times, I would loathe the fact that I’d have to come home to your cold shoulder. I would curse your name each time you dismissed anything I said or felt. More often than not, you filled me with stress and anxiety instead of relief and comfort. And yet… I stayed.

When we first began dating you jokingly, yet proudly, boasted about how you could have received a degree in bullshitting. You took pride in the fact that your charm could get you almost anything you desired, even if your words weren’t sincere. I never thought you’d apply those master skills to our relationship.

Like the time I saw a credit card on my credit report I never signed up for. The credit card you told me you never received because you didn’t want more debt– even though you just told me two weeks prior that you had gotten approved and received the card.

I called you panicking–thinking somehow someone stole my identity. You acted just as confused as I did. When I dug further… I found out that person (who essentially committed fraud on me)… was you. Without my knowledge or consent, you decided to add your debt to my already exisiting pile.

“But I only put you down as an authorized user.”
“I didn’t put you down at all.”
“I only put your name down as a reference.”
“I swear I didn’t do that.”

Or when it was my 25th birthday and you and your friend bought tickets for us to go to the Flyer’s game, even though I don’t like sports. You tried making me believe the two of you planned it out with me specifically in mind, yet you planned everything without my say. And then when you “forgot” to tell me your friend bought a fourth ticket and that you were inviting someone random through facebook, I realized you didn’t give a fuck if this was for my birthday or not.

When I refused to go, you kept repeating how selfish I was. As though I had no right to be upset. How dare I ruin your day? I failed to mention the part where you had me pay for my own ticket prior to my decision to opt out. Trustingly, I gave you the money to pay your friend. Yet you put him under the impression that you were paying for a ticket I had selfishly thrown away, and when he refused to accept it, you didn’t correct him by saying how the money was from my account.

And I must have missed the time when we were taught that pocketing the money that someone gave you and not mentioning it was the most selfless act you could perform. Because it’s not stealing if it’s from your girlfriend and you don’t tell her, right?

Maybe you were starting to lose your touch and your ability to keep your story straight. Or maybe I was one of the only people to finally figure out your game. I was the only one who saw through the facade you put on for others.

Your charisma and charm can win over the most stubborn of buyers with ease. When people first meet you, you’re captivating. You tell stories so elaborate, people can’t help but to soak in every word. You spin your web of exaggeration and you get people trapped. I know, because you spun your own web for me. The only difference is, they never lived with you.

They never saw the side of you I didn’t even imagine would have existed. I would watch your words come out of your mouth and fall like a song on people’s ears, noticing their trance of admiration at how personable you are. Yet I knew the monster you bottled inside. The monster that came out when we were alone and you could finally shed the skin you put yourself in–the skin that had not one fault.

As you held the doors open for me and casted envy on those who couldn’t help but think, “What a gentleman”…. all I could think was they didn’t know the fear the rage in your eyes can instill in people. But that rage only came out when I would do or say something to set you over the edge… right?

I know in the beginning, and seldom toward the end, I was insecure and, at times, overwhelming. You put up with my unpredictable change in moods. You put up with me when I’d question you fifty-or-more times on if you ACTUALLY loved me (because I just couldn’t know enough).

You stayed when I felt like life was no longer worth living and I was just taking up space. You stayed when I would wake up feeling empty and hopeless. I projected my pain onto you with insecurities and constant scrutiny because I just didn’t feel I was good enough to have someone actually love me. And that was wrong of me to do to you.

And when I noticed the effect it had on not only myself, but others, I promised you I’d get help… and I did. I could see the defeat growing in your eyes and I didn’t blame you for not wanting to stay then, because who wants to be with someone who doesn’t believe a word you say? But yet… you stayed.

Because I made you a promise. But then that promise turned into a promise for myself because if this relationship gave me anything, it gave me the courage to go to therapy. Group sessions and individual. It gave me the drive to take my medicine regularly because I wanted to be in control of my life.

Maybe therein lies the change in tide when it came to our relationship–me going to therapy was no longer for you. It was mine and something I was succeeding in. I slowly stopped projecting my insecurities onto you and accepted that you did, in fact, love me and I didn’t need to ask 50-or-more times a day. The days grew further between where I’d wake up wishing I hadn’t and I started to love myself.

When we would have our fights still, you would tell me I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I was. You would claim there was little difference to be seen. But how could that be true when everyone else says different and I control the words that come out of my mouth and I know the feelings deep inside of my own body?

You only said those things in situations where you were in the wrong, as if to take any blame off of you because there is no way you make mistakes. Not the professional bullshitter.

And while I am no where near in 100% control of my emotions, I am five times the woman I was before. I am a woman who feels confident because I learned to not obsess over appearance to the point where I couldn’t see the beautiful personality I possess. I am a woman who doesn’t feel the world crashing down when something goes wrong. I am so much stronger and possess so much more of the good in me than when we first began dating.

So if anything, thank you for at one point being my reason to go to therapy. Because while it didn’t save us in the end, It taught me that I can still save myself.

And there lies the biggest difference between us. I can admit to my faults and my flaws because they stitch together to make me the beautiful fucking mess that I am. I do not hide the weaknesses in me and I am not ashamed of all that I have gone through in life-the good and the bad.

You, however, had a mindset that it was wrong of me to reach out to others and share my story. No matter how many people would reach right back and rain down thank you’s on me. You didn’t like that fact that your perfect facade was being compromised by your faulted girlfriend.

But, babe, don’t you remember? I saw the cracks in you that you hid so well from others and despite them I loved you anyway… even if you couldn’t admit they were there.

When you put your hands on me for the first time, I thought maybe you had lost your mind– a moment of weakness, regret. You looked me deep in the eyes the next morning and apologized so sincerely for squeezing my shoulders too tight and shaking me back and forth.

“I won’t do it again, I promise.”

That was, until the night we were fighting yet again and you pushed me hard into the love seat. Not like you did when you couldn’t wait any longer and you needed to have me right then and there… the moments we’d embrace in the rawest, most uninhibited form.

Instead, you pushed me out of anger. With your nose just barely pressed against mine, tears streaming down my face, while you screamed at me at the top of your lungs, looking at me as though you could just kill me… your anger took over again and you slammed your head into mine hard enough to leave a bruise. And the next day, I’d wake up to the same piercing blue eyes and songbird voice telling me how sorry you were.

All people could see was the handsome, charismatic man who held open the door for his girlfriend and was polite to others. They didn’t see the man who punched holes in the walls, broke doors off hinges, broke game controllers–anything you could find.

When I expressed to you how I felt that video games were a priority over me, you threw your controller on the ground, scattering it into pieces on the floor. With cold, hard eyes, you looked at me and said, “See what you did?”

But, babe, I didn’t have the controller in my hands. I didn’t tell you to throw it. Babe, I didn’t even raise my voice. Don’t place this blame on me, I say to you.

Yet you list the reasons why you breaking your own controller was, indeed, my fault. And I sit and almost believe you. But therapy taught me to recognize manipulation; and you manipulated me until I didn’t allow it anymore and maybe… maybe that’s why you left.

One day while we were walking the dogs, you were filled with rage for a reason you didn’t even know. I suggested you walk back home because I didn’t want you to do something I forced you to do. And instead of taking it as me trying to help you, you threw the leash down and stormed back to the house even more angry than before.

When I arrived back home, you sat on the picnic table bench, head in your hands, tear-filled eyes and confessed you couldn’t control it anymore… that you were scared of what you might do. I held you. I told you I would stay.

You agreed to go to therapy. You had one moment of clarity and that moment was short-lived. Shortly after, you stopped the physical acts of anger on me, but yet instead, you mentally made me feel so small. You never went to therapy. You couldn’t keep that promise like I did for you.

When I told your mom, hoping she would help me help you, her idea of advice to me was to stop provoking you. I was pushing, and pushing, and pushing and how could I not expect you to lose your cool?

Because clearly this was my fault, my doing. It wasn’t a problem you needed to take care of because you are such a good bullshitter, you even had your family blind.

You could do no wrong in her eyes even if the wrong you did was blatantly in front of her face. Your ability to bullshit your way into making her blame me for your anger outbursts and violent behavior is a learned trait you picked up when no one had the balls to tell you that you don’t have to make everyone think you’re perfect.

It was the entitlement you were taught when you were held on a pedestal and idolized as a trophy your entire existence. Your ego was fed by those who claimed no flaws of their own and only shared their best attributes with others because… because why, exactly?

There is beauty in being broken, in having cracks, in rising above the flames and overcoming your struggle. There is relief in acknowledging your wrongs and not hiding them in shame because someone may find out. There is progress in recognition and only road blocks in suppression.

Yet I was told expressing myself meant I was in the wrong. I was meant to believe going to my mother, the one woman I trust more than anyone in the world to give me guidance, when I wanted advice on a relationship issue, was out of the question. You tried making me believe that this meant weakness and immaturity by confiding in her.

Because you were taught to hide the personal troubles you may be facing, you assumed I would conform to that way of thinking, too. But my mother raised me to be honest and open and vulnerable and strong and comfortable enough to confide in her about anything… including relationships.

You told me I should be discussing those problems with you instead. But when I tried discussing things with you, you would burst into frustration. And when I asked you to not get upset or angry, to just discuss these issues I’ve been feeling, it would only stir the fire.

Eventually instead of anger, you slowly just started giving up and began trying to stop the conversation with a single sentence every time; no matter the degree of the issue I had laid on the table, you would reply…

“What do you mean?”

I meant what I said. Every word that came out of my mouth painted an image clear as day as to what I was aiming to discuss with you. Maybe because you were told for so long to not discuss personal issues such as relationships with your own family, you in turn just wanted to find the knob to turn my voice down.

The more self confidence I gained, the less interesting you found me. You saw my heart was an open door and you had to shut it. In the beginning, I relied on you for my happiness and positivity. I couldn’t muster the strength to create my own. And although you stated how you wanted me to be more confident, the more confidence I gained… the further away you grew from me.

Did you realize you’d rather a girl who looks at you like the sun and makes their world revolve around you and your happiness, leaving her own by the wayside? Did you realize that you made a mistake picking the girl who dances shamelessly when sunshine reflects off her skin, pulsing warmth through her and speaks openly about what’s in her heart? Did you suddenly have the smack of realization that I was a little too much for you?

Too much life, too much love, too much emotion, too much openness, or maybe just too much me. Were you looking for a girl who would crawl out of their own fake skin with you before you crawled into bed together, keeping quiet any problems she may be feeling?

A part of me feels you wanted me to speak only when spoken to and only if it was a topic you would be interested in. I could not bring up important world issues with you or around your family because it wasn’t about the all-positive-world of sports.

You would stir in discomfort as I posted about depression, anxiety, my political opinions, my moral opinions, everything that makes me who I am. You “didn’t understand” why I used social media as a platform for my writing or my voice. You told me you were taught not to share that stuff about yourself. And while you claimed to respect others differences, you expected everyone else to feel the same as you.

While bombs go off in other countries as they are overtaken by terrorists, corruption, violence, disease, all of these very real life situations that hold great importance to the outcome of our world as a whole… all you cared about was what team was trading which player and how much their salary would end up being.

You could name the stats from games from any sporting event from the previous night with ease, but if I asked you about your stance on Syria, you had no idea anything was even going on. You didn’t even bother to ask because my interests were not important to you. Even when for years I tried my best to be able to talk to you about your own. My words would fall upon deaf ears as I would be talking about something with great passion. And you would almost always say nothing.

If you did speak, it was because I called you out for blatantly ignoring me, as if I was not flesh and blood sitting right next to you.”What do you want me to say to that?” is all you would give me. I have seen you flatter conversations more drywall than mine, yet you couldn’t muster up a simple one word answer to acknowledge that I was even speaking to you.

I’m sure you are aware already, but my mother didn’t raise me to bite my tongue, sit still, look pretty, serve the man I love on hands and feet. She never gave me a cloak of skin to slip into so others would have the false perception that I bare no flaws and I have no voice. She never told me to quiet my opinion because she never conformed to the role of a quiet woman herself, who simply exists to please men and others who can’t handle a woman who is unapologetically herself.

She taught me to speak my mind, voice my concerns, express how I feel, own who I am and love who I am. See, I know your mother taught you to be polite, be respectful, introduce yourself, hold those doors, and all of the basic essentials to be a decent human being. I know, because my mother taught me all of that as well.

But while my mother was teaching me about expression, emotions, connection, the vast world around me– you were taught the most important thing besides family is sports and convincing yourselves you had not one flaw in the bloodline. Your family cast judgment on your father for placing his hands on your mother so many years before, but never once stopped to think you could possess the same anger your father had given you from his unfortunate tainted blood line.

And how would they know when you had the label of perfection to maintain? Aside from the brief moment you recognized the imperfect blood from your father diluting the pristine blood from your mother, you refused to accept you had any issues controlling your anger. And fell back into the facade that you had complete control of yourself; that it had to have been my flawed blood and upbringing that started all of this.

See, babe, you didn’t hear the words my mother said as I sat at her feet asking for advice. You didn’t hear the times she told me I was wrong, and you were right. You don’t understand that some parents have the ability to not side with their child on everything. If I murdered someone in cold blood, my mother would not make up an excuse for why that person must’ve brought it upon themselves and it, in no way, could be my fault.

You tried infesting my brain and pushing buttons to make me act a certain way, be a certain way, as long as it was your way. But what you didn’t understand is that you do not have the keys to my mind and you could not gain control of the right buttons to change who I am, only causing you more frustration.

When I asked you what you loved about me, it took you as much brain power as when you’re solving an advanced calculus problem. How is it that you had so much trouble conjuring up one trait about me you loved, yet you never forgot to check fantasy football every day?

You fell in love with the idea of who you wanted me to be and the beauty I brought to the package. We’ve always seemed to be taught that a woman’s worth is determined by how attractive she is, but damn it, I swore you were different.

Sitting here alone in this house, staring at where you used to sit on this broken couch, I realize I can’t recall the last time you told me I was beautiful without me mentioning it to you first. Because, I guess for you, my outside beauty dulled the more you realized my inner beauty was not a masterpiece you were captivated by.

And truthfully, the more you let yourself walk around without your skin in front of me, the more I realized you did not captivate me any longer either. The person I fell in love with three years ago doesn’t even exist, even if you try to convince me you’re the same and that I just must be crazy.

I fell in love with the promises you made yet could never keep. I fell in love with the persona of a self driven man who was self sufficent and driven; when in reality you knew so little about responsibility. You give the impression of having it all together, yet I had to teach you how to budget your money properly. I had to explain to you to check your car for oil before you burn your engine. I had to remind you of household chores for two years and watch your mother cook your meals for you the last few months. Because apparently that was something that was suddenly expected of me.

I no longer looked at you the way everyone else does when you are still making an effort to bullshit them. I did not fall for the act of respect and love you would think to display onto me only when out in public. If I wasn’t enough for you when we were alone, I certainly am not enough for you in front of these people and I got tired of playing the game of pretend. Yet I stayed.

I stayed even though you had checked out of the hotel called our relationship. I stayed even though you made me question everything I love about myself. I stayed when push came to shove. I talked myself out of leaving so many times even though I knew I was not company you wanted anymore.

You did not care how my job was, you did not care to ask how my day went after I asked about yours. You didn’t care if I was talkative or quiet because it all sounded the same to you. You didn’t care to tell me the truth when I noticed the change in you begin to take place. With your piercing blue eyes and songbird voice, you tried bullshitting your way around telling me the truth about when your feelings changed.

I knew you didn’t love me the way you did at first. Your eyes lacked the shine you used to hypnotize people and your songbird voice was growing weak. I kept asking, yet you kept bullshitting as though you were using the college degree you claim you should have received.

But you could not fool me with your repeated lines stating you were fine. You may have fooled your loved ones for as long as you could, but I knew and yet you still tried feeding me bullshit on the silver platter you were unrightfully handed.

See, babe, I used to correlate a mans respect for the women in their family with how they treat all women, but I stand corrected. While I posses not an ounce of perfection in my bones and the ability to fit into the bubble you wanted me to join, I had enough respect to tell you how I felt at all times.

I know you would never lay a hand on a woman whose same blood pulses through your own body, but that didn’t stop you from using your hands to threaten me, to make me feel scared. And babe, I know you would have never raised your voice at those same women the way you did without a second thought to me. I know you would never intimidate those same women by standing over them with your broad chest. But that didn’t stop you from cornering me and reminding me without words you could easily crumble me like a piece of paper and toss me in the trash where you obviously thought I belonged. And still…. I stayed.

After months of you preaching how I should not look to my mother for guidance in situations I feel at a loss in when it came to you and I, you decided to turn to your mother when you made the decision to leave; without even giving me the respect to talk to me first like I always made sure to try to do with you.

And somehow you saw nothing wrong with you and your mother deciding we needed to break up, but me asking my mom how to better communicate with you and make this wreckage stay afloat was unacceptable to you.

Babe, it’s not my fault you chose not to listen to me. Babe, the only selfish one was you. Babe, you can’t convince me otherwise anymore. Babe, I fucking tried so hard. Babe… I stayed.

I look back now, accepting the fact that we were clearly toxic to each other. But I will not sit back and allow my voice to go unheard as you use yours to con more people into believing you’re the man you think you are. Because, babe, a real man would have controlled his anger… even if “provoked.” A real man would have sought help when the problem bloomed out of his control. A real man would have treated me like a person and not a convenient piece of meat.

You may have thrown in your chips first and called it quits, but we had both folded our cards long before that night. And each day I’m more thankful you decided to be the one who chose to say the words we both avoided for too long. Because I now know my worth more than ever before and I realize it is not required for me to stay where I am clearly not wanted.


When Your Mental Illness Comes Back

The truth about mental illness is that it never just goes away. You can go months or years and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, it can rear its ugly head and pull you back in.

It was something I was never really warned about as I went through treatment roughly two years ago. The sole focus was simply on getting better– learning how to cope and manage the turbulence it caused me on the inside before it could wreck havoc on the rest of my life.
There was a time when anxiety ridden days, sleepless nights, and tear-filled mornings seemed to be all I had known and ever would know. Before taking steps to better myself, I never imagined waking up with a sense of purpose, a genuine feeling of happiness, or the ability to control my anxiety and rollercoaster emotions.

Days would go by and I would be amazed at how much better I felt. Those days turned into weeks and those weeks into months, and eventually I lost track of how long it had been since I woke up with gnawing emptiness.

And then it came back. It was as though one morning I opened my eyes, and there sat my mental illness at the end of my bed. I asked what it was doing back; how did it get in? Had I not taken the key and changed the locks?

I looked directly at it and told it that it was not welcome. Yet I woke up each morning to my depression and anxiety sitting side-by-side until no skill I had learned could block out the thoughts they fed into my head.

But I had been doing so well. I thought I had overcome this. I don’t think I can go through this again. I didn’t understand. I worked so hard. What am I going to do?

Work hard again. That’s all I told myself. One recent morning I woke up, looked the unwelcome guests in the eyes, and told them I wasn’t going down again this time. I couldn’t simply give up.

I grabbed the hands of those who reached out to me, the ones who realized a difference in my behavior, my demeanor, my entire self. I sought out the love from others by being honest with my struggle, admitting when I wasn’t okay instead of trying desperately to cover it up.

There was a time when I felt the need to fabricate what I was doing when loved ones would contact me, or anyone would ask me what my upcoming plans were. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that my busy meant sleeping all day on the couch because anxiety kept me up the last few nights. I didn’t want to tell them that I was actually using all of the energy I had to get out of my bed to walk to the bathroom and back again.

This time I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to pretend I was happy when I simply just wasn’t. I didn’t want to lie about a made up obligation when the truth was all I wanted to do that day was sleep and cry and hide out. And I learned something so incredible… the moment you stop trying to hide your pain and struggle from others, is the moment you begin to heal.

I worked so hard to love myself. To be gentle with myself. To be honest with myself. But sometimes you need the love from others when your own tank has been depleted. And that’s okay. It gave me the fuel to work harder once more. And I finally know I am not weak for admitting that. We are taught that we can accept love from others, but only if we have enough love for ourselves. But you can’t tell me that support from another person doesn’t make all the difference in the world when you feel less than enough.

Today, someone told me I was starting to seem like myself again–that for a time, they were beginning to worry. They expressed their happiness to see me back to the person I truly am. Without having to mention it, I could feel their love wash over me and I let it fuel my desire to keep pushing as hard as I can.

Today, I woke up and no longer saw my mental illnesses sitting at the end of my bed waiting to be the first to greet me when I awoke. Today, I realized this is a fight that will never truly be over. Today, I feel victorious, yet prepared for the moment they break back into my home and try to invade my mind.

When your mental illness comes back, fight like hell. Fight until you win again. Because you will win again.

Hey, Khloe… Body Dysmorphia Isn’t A Joke

Allow me to preface this by stating that I’m sure Khloe meant absolutely no malice in what she said. I certainly know how to take a joke as well as make my own, so, please, do not tell me I need to be more lighthearted. Despite many people talking down on the Kardashian family (and though I agree on some levels why), I can’t deny that their success is astonishing. Their ability to market, not only their products, but their names, is something countless people envy and try to diminish, yet it can not be denied.

Maybe I should have more of a problem with the fact that for the majority of them, sexualization is the forefront reason for most of their success. Or maybe I should have a problem with the almost unbearable way they flaunt their wealth. But truthfully, it doesn’t bother me when a woman wants to capitalize on her body. Because it is exactly that: her body. And I don’t even talk down on what they choose to show the world, or what they keep hidden.

I can’t deny that I become hypnotized by their lavish lifestyles. I know it is disheartening when you think of the millions suffering to get by, millions who can barely afford to eat for the week, and yet there are people who spend so extravagantly. But who are we to tell them how to spend the fortune that is no one else’s but their own? Who are we to judge the charities they choose to donate toward, simply because they didn’t donate to help every single problem that exists in the world? We are all our own humans, with our own moral compasses, and our own passions and motivations.

So I respect Khloe Kardashian, and the rest of the Kardashian/Jenner “clan”. While I do not watch the TV show that helped them reach the status they have today, I am still intrigued by the mundane things they do. I am a woman of vast interests and one of them just so happens to be knowing about pointless celebrity “news”. I can dive into a full conversation with you where we dissect the very meaning of our own existence and factor in scientific evidence for proof, but that doesn’t mean I can’t fill a small amount of my time living vicariously through the lives of a celebrity.

It is a lifestyle I will never know, and one I don’t aspire to personally experience, but sometimes focusing on what Shay Mitchell had for lunch today, or what crazy ass workout Kevin Hart is doing, is almost relieving. If you don’t revolve your entire world around it, the mindless effort it takes to think about anything other than what stress is in your life, or in the entire world, is almost refreshing. You see inside these people’s lives who seemingly have everything and more, as they go to places you may never see, live the way you may never live, and it’s almost as if the bullshit going on everywhere else in the world doesn’t exist to them.

But maybe that’s what Khloe forgot… that there is a reality outside of what she knows first hand and sometimes the words she says may fall upon the ears of a person who (because of those words) now feels like a joke, or invalidated. A lot of people admire celebrities, such as Khloe. So much so that that certain celebrity’s actions and words have a very strong and lasting impact on their lives and their way of thinking. When a fan hears their cherished celebrity speak of something they ,too, have felt or understand, that connection grows deeper and, in turn, the more they idolize that celebrity.

It is not unknown to us all that there are even people who dictate their own behavior, lifestyle, and choices by what their idolized celebrity chooses to do or be. While I find certain celebrities to be not only talented, but genuinely honorable human beings, I do not cling so desperately onto their every move, word, or possible thought. My role models are the men and women who helped me become who I am today, both family and friends. But understand, it’s not wrong to hold a celebrity in such high regards as long as you know your reasons why.

Khloe has been an amazing voice for channeling your negative emotions into physical activity that creates a healthy mind and body. She inspired me and countless others when she worked tirelessly on her fitness (spending hours in the gym) all while being spoken so negatively about compared to her sisters’. She went through a divorce so excruciatingly public and messy, yet she still maintains her quick wit, insane loyalty, and self worth (as we know it). She is a role model for so many, as I’m sure she is to those younger than her in her family. And though some may disagree, she isn’t a bad role model to have.

But what Khloe said in a snapchat recorded by her sister, Kourtney, both upset and angered me all at once. And to add to those emotions, I am also growing a little concerned for Khloe, herself. I can only assume they were driving to the award show that just most recently happened. I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of it because I didn’t watch it. I only wanted to see what people wore and what speeches were given.

She and Kourtney were driving in the backseat to this award show and Kourtney was recording a series of random snaps, as she normally does. I was letting it play in the background as I folded laundry when I heard Khloe telling Kourtney to stop filming her because she looked “like a cow”. A few snaps later, I hear Kourtney state, “Khloe has another confession…” At this point, I’m actually watching the snaps because I wanted to see what Khloe was wearing that must’ve made her feel so uncomfortable.

Kourtney pans the camera to Khloe as she professes, “I think our whole family has a little bit of body dysmorphia; but I’m kinda into it cause it keeps us on our A game.”

Kourtney smiles, playing off the intentionally innocent remark Khloe just made, but I was left with my mouth hanging open and my face turning warm. I’m sure there are some of you who heard this as well and kept playing through the snaps without a second thought. I’m sure there are some people who have absolutely zero idea what body dysmorphia even is. And I’m even more sure there are some of you who suffer from this disorder who felt that little stab in your heart when she played it off as a more positive disorder to suffer from, something “easy” to live with.

So I need just a second to address Khloe myself, even if this never is brought to her attention. I need to do it so others know it is okay if you felt even a little bit of outrage or discomfort from her remark. So please, listen and know this is meant to make you understand, not berate you or call you insensitive (this applies to every person who looked past the comment, or has made a similar one at some point in time).
I know in my heart that what you said was no personal attack toward me or any of those suffering from body dysmorphia. I know well enough that as humans we say things with no ill intentions, yet sometimes we are unaware of the way in which others may interpret it. But please know there are some of us, including myself, who found what you said to be a hard pill to swallow. You brought up a disorder that is seldom spoken about, let alone explained properly, yet you did it in a way that ended up downplaying the severity of it all.

Body dysmorphia does not keep you on your “A game”. It consumes your every thought, action, and emotion to the point where you can’t even focus on becoming a “better you”. Because this disorder never allows you to see anything “better”, no matter how hard you try or which road you take. Body dysmorphia breaks into the door that controls your every emotion and thought, and fills it with false images and ideas that will literally drive you to the point of insanity.

Body dysmorphia is not something any of its sufferers are “kinda into.” Body dysmorphia made its way into us and we did not allow it so willingly as you portray you have done. It begins as a small obsession over something we don’t particularly like about ourselves, and it manifests into an overall disgust for even being alive.

It makes you feel like a monster, like you must hide from the world and shut yourself out. You look in the mirror and all your mind can see is the slight difference in your eye shape. And suddenly one eye is seemingly so much bigger than the other, that you’ve convinced yourself every single person has to see it too.

You are perceived as self absorbed when you feel the constant need to check your reflection in order to ensure your flaw hasn’t become more noticeable or that the makeup you took hours applying still looks exactly the same. People label you as attention-seeking when you simply cannot accept their compliments or their constant reassurance that whatever it is you are seeing as wrong is definitely not real or noticeable to anyone else. You are told it is in your mind but you see it with your own eyes and can’t accept that anyone is actually telling you the truth.

You take hundreds of pictures and compare. You weigh yourself every day and compare. You research for hours on ways to fix the faults that you are whole-heartedly convinced are there. You become filled with rage when you can’t just rip the problem off of your body and then extreme sorrow when you find yourself driven to exhaustion due to the constant obsessing. You can not focus on anything else in the entire world, expect for the fact that you are unlovable and unworthy because you can’t achieve the image you’ve conjured up in your mind for how you should look.

Body dysmorphia is so much more than low self esteem. It is so much more than lacking confidence. It is so much more than being dissatisfied with the flaws that, to so many other people, make you beautiful and unique. It is not being humble. It is hell. It is pure hell that you have somehow manifested in your mind and allowed to take over your ability to think logically.

We are told not to obsess about our appearance because it makes us vain, yet this obsession is far from adoration of one’s self. It is an obsession about everything that is wrong with you, even things that are not real. And that obsession can kill you if you do not seek proper help. It is not as simple as “think of it positively” and use it as a motivator to be on your “A game”. It takes months and sometimes years of basically rewiring your entire thought process to accept the faults that you have, while also learning to differentiate between the ones that aren’t really there.

This disorder drives people to such extreme measures that for some, death is the only way to escape the constant torture of never accepting the skin they were placed in. For others, self harm is a way to distract the mind temporarily. Some people seek the promise a plastic surgeon will provide, stating that they can fix the flaw you have fixated and morphed into one that, more often than not, doesn’t even exist. More often than not, those who choose the plastic surgery route will continue to believe there is some flaw remaining in what they sought to fix, or begin to direct that obsession to other flaws–continuing the torturing process.

And that’s the reason why part of me feels so concerned for you, Khloe, as well as other members of your family who you claim use this disorder as an advantage. Your lifestyle is filled so much with plastic surgery and constant fixing of things that so many of you believe to be wrong with your image. It is one thing to seek plastic surgery to gain confidence in a certain area, but it is a completely other thing when the surgeries are consistently going back to “fix” the problem you originally sought help for in the first place. Because body dysmorphia will have you so convinced that it still just isn’t perfect, and unless you seek proper help (that doesn’t involve a scalpel), your mind will constantly repeat the need to obsess and correct.

See, Khloe, not all of us have the expenses to walk into a doctor’s office and have them mold us into whatever image we have in our mind. Not all of us can mask our dissatisfaction in blinding jewelry and $1,000 lip injections and clothing to give us a temporary high to dull out the voices telling us how we still aren’t good enough. You can afford the luxuries to mask the things you find unflattering about yourself, yet a lot of sufferers can’t even afford proper pshycological care to fix themselves in the only way that works.

You have fought so hard to achieve the health and fitness that you have at this moment, and yet you still speak so poorly of your image. Articles fill the Internet of worry and concern over your obsession with working out and I sit and think for just a second that maybe you do actually suffer from body dysmorphia. Maybe you play it off as being something positive in order to shove down the fact that you are suffering from the obsession to obtain the image of perfection that is simply not realistic. I wonder if you mentioned the disorder as a way to allow yourself to finally admit it, yet in turn downplay its severity in order to convince yourself that you have control of it.

But the only way to achieve any type of control of the mind that has been overtaken by this seemingly overlooked disorder, is by seeking professional help. Body dysmorphia is not something you live comfortably with and learn to see positively. You need to fight twice as hard as the voices in your head and the images your mind is distorting in order to find any refuge from this disorder. You spend countless hours in tears, convinced you’re destined to never achieve the ability to look in the mirror and love yourself–flaws and all. You force yourself to stop the checking and obsessing before it even begins. You allow yourself an allotted amount of time to look at your appearance, in efforts to reteach your brain to stop the obsessing that is seemingly routine for you.

You spend hours in therapy, dissecting your triggers and figuring out coping mechanisms to help you gain control of your thoughts and harmful thinking. You tell yourself every day you are beautiful and your flaws are minuscule compared to everything else that makes you the living, breathing, worthy human you are. You tell yourself until you stop hating the way it sounds. You tell yourself until you begin to actually feel it in your heart.

You tell yourself until you’ve finally replaced all of the ridicule with self love and acceptance. But what’s even harder, is you must tell yourself to accept that you will always fight to stop from repeating that negative cycle ever again. Despite the progress, you have to fight through the times when you feel the obsessing begin to itch at you. Because even when you finally have learned to love yourself, you still experience self doubt. And those of us with body dysmorphia have to actively make sure to never let that self doubt eat us alive.

Khloe, If you or any of your family members truly suffered from even “a little” body dysmorphic disorder, you’d probably be more sensitive to the issue. But what you may have failed to connect together is that it is hard enough for those of us suffering to accept and admit we have this problem, let alone be open about it to others… and when you threw that disorder out to millions of people viewing you, you made many people believe it can so easily be changed. While you meant to be lighthearted and “funny”, you more than likely made a girl or boy who looks up to you, feel as though their body dysmorphia is simply a joke.

You downplayed the suffering many of us have gone or are going through. You made those of us who have overcome this battle feel momentarily infuriated that you can so thoughtlessly assume your entire family suffers from a “simple” disorder that they somehow have turned into motivation. No successful motivator would make you believe your entire worth depends on your achievement of physical perfection and you are worthless without it. No one motivates you by tearing down your worth and burning it to the ground every single day.

You can use hate in order to motivate you. But self hate does not allow growth and body dysmorphia is nothing but pure negativity looking to suck you dry. Your simple “confession” made me feel like maybe I should have tried to make my constant self-berating into constructive criticism instead of seeking the help I so desperately needed. And just as quickly as that thought passed, I realized that if I had never sought help and heard your seemingly harmless view on this disorder, I would have probably been extremely hard on myself for not being able to take the approach you claim to use yourself by making its negativity into a form of motivation.

Because that is just not how you deal with a mental health disorder. You don’t look at bipolar disorder and put a positive spin on the lack of control in your emotions and behavior negatively effecting your life. You don’t make eating disorders into motivation to eat healthier. So why the hell would body dysmorphia help you in any positive way?

I sincerely hope that you do not suffer from this, nor do I hope for anyone in your family to suffer as well. I would much rather this be a comment you mistakingly made without thinking of the possible repercussions. I’m certain you’re either widely uninformed about the extent of suffering a person endures because of this disorder, or are trying to downplay your own suffering in some way or another.

Body dysmorphia is not something I wish on anyone, even those with a celebrity status, whose mental state holds no meaning in my life. But please understand that it is a very real problem that countless people fight every waking moment in order to not allow their life to be overrun by the disease infesting their brain. Please understand that there are some who won’t wake up tomorrow due to the painful fact that body dysmorphia completely stole what little desire they had left to live and fight.

Khloe, please understand that there are people who will push off, or completely avoid, seeking help for this problem– Simply because you gave the impression that it is not a serious topic worthy of a real discussion and proper treatment. Understand that rehashing those moments of unworthiness is far from easy for me. Recalling the inability to understand if what I see regarding my appearance is real or imagined, provokes a sad, painful, and terrifying feeling I worked my ass off to overcome. Please know that if I could have used it to be on my “A Game”, I would have done so long before I even knew what it was I was suffering from.

So please, don’t claim to possess control of something you simply don’t fully grasp. And if you truly feel you and your love ones may suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, Khloe, please seek to educate and make time for proper treatment for you, and those you love.



“Suck it up,” she said half sarcastically as a joke, half smart-assed as I sat on the bench with my head in my hands, knees uncontrollably bouncing up and down, as if my legs were about to break off and run away without me.  All noise has been shut off around me, and the only focus I have is on my breathing–trying desperately to get myself to calm down.  People keep talking around me, trying their best to soothe me, but I don’t hear a word of what they’re saying.

“Please, everyone, I just need you to back away from me for a minute, or I will seriously freak out,” I finally said, sternly enough to make everyone hold their breath all at once for a brief second.  “I’m having a panic attack.”

“Why are you having a panic attack?” she scoffs at me.  As if I could even truly answer this.  Like she expects me to be able to calmly describe to her why exactly it is that I am about to jump out of my own skin–when I don’t even know how the hell to describe it.  She wouldn’t understand even if I tried.  So I don’t… knowing full and well she will roll her eyes, and label me as weak and dramatic.

But that’s how some people are.  They can’t grasp the concept that mental illnesses, no matter the degree of suffering, is an actual problem.  So instead of showcasing even the slightest bit of empathy toward you, they shake their heads and laugh–thinking to themselves (or even sometimes saying aloud), “There are far worse problems that you could be worrying about,” “You’re just seeking attention,” “You’re being dramatic,” “Get over it.”  The list goes on.  What they don’t realize is, if we could just “GET OVER IT”, don’t you think we would?

Tell me, how does one fake feeling as though they are having a heart attack, feeling as if their airways are closing, their body is shutting down, yet at the same time wants to run far, far away?  Aside from actors and people who happen to be extremely manipulative and persuasive, any person who has suffered from true anxiety and panic attacks know full and well how excruciating it is.  But for those who are lucky enough to never have had to deal with such problems, they will never truly grasp what sufferers go through.

Because it’s uncomfortable to talk about, isn’t it?  Depression.  Mental illness.  Suicide.  It makes people squirm in their seats.  It’s not as though you can meet up with someone, have them ask you how you’ve been, and you casually respond, “You know, I’ve been really depressed lately.”  Instead, we’ve been trained to lie or sugarcoat what’s truly going on.  “I’ve been okay,” is the safe response.  It doesn’t strike questions; it’s not completely lying.  No one wonders about “okay.”

Mental illness just has a sour taste to it.  It’s almost difficult to get out.  And when usually talking about mental illness, people tend to take it to the extreme.  Schizophrenia.  Psychosis.  Multiple personality disorder.  Suicide either tugs on people’s heart strings, or completely fuels their fire about how selfish and cowardly it is of the person who was suffering so deeply they felt the only way out was to end their existence.  Because those who suffer depression bring it upon themselves.  There are far worse things in the world than what we struggle with.  That’s the assumption.

Yet, we live in a world where it’s socially acceptable to fully showcase your ass and tits on multiple social media sites.  Where men speak openly about degrading women in so many ways, but speaking openly about depression and mental heath causes people to stir in their seat, searching desperately for a new topic to discuss.  We live in a culture where bad bitches and side chicks are given more respect than the girl who cries herself to sleep every night, because she’s the “crazy” one, the one dealing with real emotions deeper than the kind you get from spreading your legs open on a Saturday night. We’re living in a time where men are praised for bagging multiple bitches a week, yet the men who are suffering to make it through the day are put to shame–told to be a man, just let it go.

We live in a world where we’re put down for feeling weak… for being human.  We are treated as if we are selfish for being so out of control of our emotions that we just want to hide away for a while until you don’t feel so empty inside–because other people out there in the world have it worse.  They tell us there are people being shot, people fighting wars, those struggling with poverty, genocide, slavery, cancer… you name it.  As if we don’t realize this already.  As though we don’t already feel full to the brim with guilt for the fact that most of us have food on our table, a roof over our head, a job, clean water, average health, yet still feel as though our lives are meaningless.

We are not selfish.  We see the pain in others and feel it just as deeply.  We know that what most other people deal with is far worse, and we can empathize with them.  Offer them some sympathy.  If we could, we would make it all go away in the blink of an eye.  We would wish that any one else suffering, no matter how extreme or minuscule the problem they are suffering is, would just disappear.  We would never wish it upon anyone else.

People say they are here to help, yet more often than not, end up pushing those in need down even further.  Telling them to just get over it.  To think more positively.

If only.


Someone Out There Will Love You — Damaged or Not


I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s no where near easy to be in a relationship with me.  Many have tried and more often than not, I would cut off ties with them because I could tell they wouldn’t be able to deal with the handful that I actually am.  I’m not exactly sure how my current boyfriend has remained determined to make this relationship work with me.  I’m sure there have been times where he has wanted to pack up all of his belongings and walk out of the door without a second thought.  During my episodes, I can see the frustration, confusion, and complete helplessness in his eyes, however despite all of that, he will hold me tight and promises he will not go anywhere.  He promises that I’m not crazy.

Because sometimes (a lot of the time) that’s exactly how I feel… like the crazy girl every guy has tried to avoid.  Many times I have heard my friends complain about a girl they started seeing and ended things with strictly because, “she was fucking crazy, man.”  During those moments, I would laugh along with the rest of them, all while asking myself, “Is this what guys have thought about me?”  Countless times I have found myself on the bathroom floor, head in my hands, knees to my chest, and sobbing uncontrollably.  My mind replays the moments I have seriously considered just offing myself because I can’t take the unbearable pain ripping through my chest.  I think about the one time I actually tried and failed.  I think about how insecure I am on so many levels, and how my emotions are more fickle than the weather.

But the way they describe these “crazy girls” doesn’t sound like me.  I never obsessed over the person I was with.  I have never forced someone into a relationship with me and came on too strong.  I never lingered after a failed attempt at dating a person, trying desperately to make it work. This is how they describe these “crazy girls”, but I feel even crazier than them, yet I have somehow managed to maintain a relationship where the person I’m with would never compare me to the crazy girls he, himself, has dealt with.

Because dealing with depression doesn’t make you crazy.  Having anxiety doesn’t make you unstable.  Being insecure does not mean you aren’t capable of maintaining trust and love with others.  Mental illness does not define who you are as a person.  Instead, it becomes a part of you that you just have to learn to manage and control as best as possible.  Struggling does not mean you are not worthy of love; it does not mean you will never find someone who will stand by your side and accept you for every part of who you are–the good and the bad.

Depression does not dull the fact that my heart can be filled with utter joy and happiness.  It does not mean that I stay in my house for weeks at a time.  Depression doesn’t mean that I am constantly crying.  It doesn’t mean I am a downer. All it means is that when I feel pain, I feel it deeper than most others do.  Depression means that sometimes I don’t want to face the day.  Depression means sometimes I need a little push to get through.  Depression means the strong person inside of me can’t bring herself out today, but she will be back.  Depression means I am struggling.  It does not mean I am weak or lesser of a person.  My boyfriend knows this.  When I go from happy one day, to feeling complete misery the next, he doesn’t sigh in frustration and tell me to get over it.  He doesn’t make me feel guilty for not being myself in those moments.  He kisses me, looks me in the eyes, tells me he loves me, and can only say he hates seeing me in that state.  He tries.

He fights equally as hard as I do, as if this is his battle too.  Many times I have looked at him, eyes swollen shut from uncontrollable tears, and told him he deserves better than this.  He doesn’t deserve to have to watch me crumble to pieces and pick myself back up over and over.  He doesn’t deserve to have my mental illness hurt him.  Inside it rips my heart in half at the thought of him leaving, but the look on his face when he feels defeated from not being able to help me hurts even more.  He never fails to tell me he’s not giving up.

He researches to figure out what he has to do in order to help me during these times.  He asks me what I need, and when I don’t even know, he just sits with me, holds me in his arms, and assures me this won’t last forever.  Even when frustration overcomes him, he controls his anger instead of throwing his hands in the air and giving up.  He doesn’t see me as damaged.  He doesn’t see the cracks all over me from the many times I have had to put myself back together.  He doesn’t see this as a struggle.  He sees this as a speed bump.  He stays confident, even when I am far from.  He knows what I’m struggling with isn’t by choice.  He knows that if I could wish it all away, I would.  He calms me when I begin to make a mountain out of a mole hill.  All of this… because he loves me.

Each person deserves to be loved, no matter if your life is in complete order and carefree, or if you struggle each day to maintain a state of balance.  You can’t hide who you are.  The moment you put the veil over your true self, your wounds, your past, your pain– is the moment you are setting yourself up for a let down.  Let people see you for who you are.  Own your story because nothing is more unique than something that is your own… something no one else can take away from you.  If a person can’t tough it out during the times when you are on the brink of giving up, they will never truly accept you for who you are.  And you deserve to be loved in the realest way.

A Letter To My Therapist

I physically felt as though I could not bring myself to do this assignment.  At first, I was determined to write down the exact moments I would look in the mirror, what thoughts ran through my head, how I felt in that moment, etc.  However, the first day I woke up ready to track down each of those things, but as soon as I was in front of the mirror, it was as though I completely lost track of what exactly my intent was in the first place.  As if routinely, I looked in the mirror (completely forgetting to note the time that I started looking) and began my checking “checklist”.  And I did this each time I looked in the mirror that day, and the days following.

Truthfully, it’s as if the mirror is almost a part of who I am.  It’s something I don’t even notice I’m doing.  Time becomes obsolete once my eyes become hooked on my reflection.  It sounds so vain when I hear myself admit that.  As if I am obsessed with looking at myself, because in a way I am.  But obsessed in a way that I didn’t even realize until I tried my best to do this assignment of figuring out the length of time each day I check myself in the mirror.  Check for all of the imperfections and to make sure that no more have somehow appeared since the last time I checked not even an hour prior.

Here’s a brief outlook on what I do when I check.  I wake up.  I wait as long as possible to look in any mirror, in fear that somehow overnight my appearance completely changed.  My skin probably got worse.  My teeth may have gotten smaller.  I’m worried about who I’ll see that day when I look in the mirror for the first time, because every single day is different.  It’s not as though one day I see brunette hair, then the next I think I’m blonde, or anything of that sort.  I just fear that the faults I see and I obsess over will get worse… and some days my mind tells me that they are.  Then it’s as if the very next day, my flaws aren’t as apparent to me.  I feel a little bit more comfortable with who I am, but never totally.

Once I can no longer force myself to avoid my reflection, I inevitably look in a mirror, and it’s as though I completely lose track of everything around me.  Time ticks away as I mindlessly start by looking at my eyes.  Are there dark circles under them?  Do they look small or are they a bit bigger today?  Next is the eyebrows.  I put my face as close as I can to the mirror and look for stray hairs that need plucked.  But it seems as though they just never seem to be symmetrical, so I look back and forth for an unknown amount of time before I put down the tweezers in frustration and then move onto the next item on my check list.

Since my face is already close to the mirror, I begin checking my skin.  The once beautifully clear and soft skin I had has now been ruined by my incessant need to pick at each and every pore, because I swear there is something in there that needs to come out.  This part is what keeps me entranced the longest.  I start at my forehead, the one area I don’t pick at.  I scrunch my eyebrows up and see if the wrinkles have gotten any deeper.  I pull my hairline up to see what it would look like if my skin was a little bit tighter.  Then I move onto my cheeks.  I pull the skin back to see what that would look like as well, and then I begin to examine the flaws.  This is where I become obsessed.

In my mind, I yell at myself, “STOP DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING.”  But during this whole time, it’s as though nothing else in the universe exists, and even though my mind is telling me to stop before I get started, something inside of me seems out of control and my hands come to my face and I begin to pick.  I pick the scabs that have formed over pimples that finally healed.  Some leave scars.  Little reminders of my lack of self control.  Some days the little monster that controls me during these times listens to the pleas from my mind telling it to stop.  Some days I feel as though I’m going to start, but I can bring myself to walk away.  But other days… most days, there’s no stopping me.  Sounds completely fade.  I have no peripheral vision.  All I see is what I have become fixated on and the only thing that snaps me out is when I eventually become fed up and frustrated at the fact that my skin, like my eyebrows, will never be perfect.

I move on to my hair… the one thing I don’t tend to completely berate about my appearance.  I run my fingers through it and feel around to make sure I haven’t lost any over night.  I grab it in my hand to feel the thickness.  I turn from side to side to see how I will have to wear it that day.  If it’s too unmanageable, if my waves didn’t lay just right, I have to pull my hair back.  I apply multiple creams to it, in order to protect it, and then comb through and am usually satisfied with the outcome.  Some days I panic thinking my hair has thinned out, in which case I’ll give myself scalp massages, thinking it will stimulate hair growth.

Teeth run neck and neck with my skin.  I make a wide grin, to see if my teeth look even remotely straight.  I put my face close up to the mirror again and slowly move my head from left to right, checking each individual tooth.  Check to see if any have new chips, if any have shrunk, if any have gotten a cavity.  I then proceed to brush my teeth anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.  Because they never feel clean enough.  I didn’t get every single tooth… every nook and cranny.  I then use mouthwash, then floss… sometimes twice.

Lastly, I go to the body length mirror.  The one mirror I spend the least amount of time in because I am repulsed by what I see.  The cellulite on my stomach.  The stretch marks on my thighs.  The way my stomach doesn’t sit flat even if I suck it in.  I instantly regret what I ate the night before.  I pinch the fat that lies upon my hips and squeeze the fat that rests in the middle of my belly.  I wish so desperately I could just rip it off and get rid of it for good.  I am always frustrated by this, but I’m too disgusted to obsess.

The one time I do find some solace in is when I can find things to occupy my mind from the need to check in the mirror.  While working, I am kept busy for most of the night.  However, if I see a reflection, I can’t help but to look in it, even if only for a second, just to get a glimpse to make sure I’m still me.  While I walk with my dog, I am free from any mirrors, any reflection…the one and only time I feel peace and my mind feels quiet.  But I can’t walk my dog forever.  I can’t walk my dog all day and avoid mirrors.

Making myself focus more on how much I check may not have resulted in finding out the length of time I waste obsessing over the monster I see looking back at me, however it did allow me to be more aware of what I’m doing when I’m checking and a general idea of the amount of time is spent doing so.  In the last week since I was given this assignment, I have definitely been checking less.  I constantly feel the need to check, but I have been telling myself to either not look in a passing reflection, or when I feel the urge at home, I reflect my energy to something else.  I wouldn’t say I have mastered this.  I would say about 70% of the time, I succumb to my checking habits, but I’ll take 70 over 100% any day.

**PSA: I do not share these delicate parts of my life to gain sympathy from people. Each time I hit post, I worry about who many stumble upon my page, read one of my posts, and immediately form assumptions that I am attention-seeking, sharing too much, or that I am a completely broken person–a lost cause. The darker details of my life are shared in order to release some stress inside of me, but also in order to reach out and let others suffering from depression, or other mental disorders won’t feel so alone. I do it in hopes that I can help others in any way. No, my life is not like this all of the time. I am a outgoing and happy girl who just so happens to have a little trouble fighting my own demons.  So please, if you’re someone who reads this or any of my other posts, I pray you read it with an open mind and heart instead of judgment. Struggling is not weakness. Writing is my solace. Helping brings me peace.

Body Dysmorphia 

My eyes slowly flutter open as the light of a new day shines through the crack in my window.  I can already feel the effect from last night’s binging.  I place my heavy feet on the floor, and summon all of the strength within me to get myself out of bed.  I walk toward the bathroom, my own little secret hell.  Mirrors telling me I’m not good enough, the scale telling me to just give up eating in general.  My arms feel as though they have grown twice in size overnight.  My face feels as though I am a squirrel preparing to hide away nuts for the winter.  My stomach is bloated and my hips bulge out.  I stand in front of the mirror and do all that I can to fight the urge to want to take my fist and shatter the image in front of me.

One by one, I start picking apart each of the pieces that make me feel uncomfortable.  First, I begin with the weight.  I hop onto the scale: another pound gained, and my heart begins to race.  What will I do to lose that pound?  I should probably just not eat for the entire day in order to make up for everything I ate just last night.  I go back in front of the mirror and begin pinching at my fat.  My love handles fill my hands and I wish so desperately that I could just rip them off.  Next, I stand sideways, sucking my stomach in out and pushing it back out, only getting nauseous at the fact that it’s nowhere near flat.  People claim that when they look at me, they see a girl at a perfect weight for her height and age.  What I see when I look in the mirror, and what I feel down my bones, is far worse than that.  How can they not see the cow that I am?

Next, I begin checking my pores, looking for any new blemish that may have appeared overnight.  At one point in time, I had flawless skin.  The occasional monthly breakout usually consisted of one or two pimples, but would soon fade away.  Yet, despite there being nothing there, I would still search my skin for one tiny imperfection.  Now, over years of damage from not washing my face properly, and the torture of squeezing each pore to the point of it being nothing but blood, my face has become a map of scars for each time I have felt the urge to fix the imperfection staring back at me.  My therapist tells me to make myself walk away from the mirror when I feel the urge to pick my skin, but the urge consumes me.  I see one tiny pimple and decide to pop it.  With its release comes the release of my anxiety as well.  But one is never enough.  I see hundreds of bumps in need of being dug at, popped, and gotten rid of.

I move on to my teeth and my eyebrows, always infuriated with how they’re never exactly perfect.  So many people have told me what beautiful teeth I have, but how do they not see the slight crookedness?  How do they not see that one tooth is bigger than the other?  Or the chips in some of my teeth, making them far from perfect.  Far from what I need them to be.  I brush my teeth, rinse with mouth wash, and floss—all while observing each tooth from every angle possible.  Did this tooth shrink over night?  I just hit my top tooth off a bottom tooth, did it chip it?  I pull out my tweezers and begin my obsession with my eyebrows.  I can never get them to be identical to one another, but determined, I stand in front of that mirror for a countless amount of time plucking each individual hair off of my face in hopes that just one pluck and I’ll finally have symmetrical eyebrows.

It doesn’t stop there.  Oh, no, not even close.  Body dysmorphia completely consumes my everyday life.  I check my nose to make sure that it hasn’t grown over night.  I stand in front of the mirror and pin back my ears, debating on if I should get surgery to fix the one that slightly sticks out a bit more than the other.  I pull back the skin on my face, trying to see what it would look like to have youthful skin like I did just five years ago.  I check my hands, the wrinkles in them seemingly becoming deeper by the hour.  My one breast is bigger than the other.  My one ass check is bigger than the other.  My one eye isn’t the exact same shape as the other.  My right dimple is smaller than my left one.  My mind begins to swirl as the imperfections manifest into my brain.

And then the checking.  Oh god, the checking.  Did I just chip my tooth?  Let me take ten pictures and compare them to the ten I took just a month ago to make sure it looks the same.  What about my smile?  Did my teeth move?  Take a picture and compare.  Smooth your eyebrows over in case they are messed up.  Do you have anything in your teeth?  Get your floss.  Is my skin getting better?  Take ten more pictures so I can compare.  Sitting down and I can feel the fat roll over my jeans, I have to pinch it and push it back in otherwise everyone will judge me.

Checking, degrading, checking, degrading.  Who is that monster in the mirror?  I woke up yesterday and I thought I recognized myself for a second, but I don’t know this person today.  It’s always someone different in the mirror looking back at me. I have body dysmorphia, and my struggle is so much worse than words can describe. Because no matter how many times you compliment my beauty, all I can see is that monster looking back at me.