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).
Khloe…
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.

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