Gargoyle

I have severe body dysmorphia. I feel absolutely horrendous and hideous and I’ve felt like that since I developed this at 13. It’s like how anorexics see themselves as fat even though they’re not, only I see myself as repulsive. I plan my life around being seen as little as possible. Dressing in plain and baggy clothes to be as inconspicuous as possible. Take less crowded roads. Go out in the evening. I’m convinced that when I walk outside to go to the local grocery store or whatever that everyone I meet on the street think the same way about me. I imagine strongly that there are people looking at me from the balconies or windows, being aghast with my hideousness. I imagine that the people who see me will keep thinking about me well after the brief moment because of how weird I am.

These thoughts pellet me viciously and drown me. I try my best to make ducaa in my head to distract me but it’s like having sharks circle the waters. My body nearly goes into lockdown mode and it’s bearable now because I’ve learnt to be compassionate and loving to myself so I won’t push it. But just a few years ago I had severe agoraphobia because of it. At one point I didn’t leave the house for 8 months. Not one day.

This is the first time I’ve written this much about it and I didn’t realize it was this bad..

On Learning to Trust Yourself

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” Song of Freedom” by Samantha Meglioli (2012)

 

Presence, not shame, changes how you see yourself and what you rely on. When you stop struggling, stop suffering, stop pushing and pulling yourself around food and your body, when you stop manipulating and controlling, when you actually relax and listen to the truth of what is there, something bigger than your fear will catch you. With repeated experiences of opening and ease, you learn to trust something infinitely more powerful than a set of rules that someone else made up: your own being.

[***]

When you believe without knowing you believe that you are damaged at your core, you also believe that you need to hide that damage for anyone to love you. You walk around ashamed of being yourself. You try hard to make up for the way you look, walk, feel. Decisions are agonizing because if you the person who makes the decision, is damaged, then how can you trust what you decide? You doubt your own impulses so you become masterful at looking outside yourself for comfort. You become an expert at finding experts and programs, at striving and trying hard and then harder to change yourself, but this process only reaffirms what you already believe about yourself – that your needs and choices cannot be trusted, and left to your own devices you are out of control.

Diets are the outpicturing of your belief that you have to atone for being yourself to be worthy of existing. They are not the source of this belief, they are only one expression of it. Until the belief is understood and questioned, no amount of weight loss will touch the part of you that is convinced it is damaged. A lifetime of suffering with food will fit right in  with the definition you’ve formed about being alive. It will make sense to you that hatred leads to love and that torture leads to peace because you will be operating on the conviction that you must starve or deprive or punish the badness out of you. 

[***]

You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself. The Sufi Poet Rumi, writing about birds learning to fly, wrote : ” How do they learn it ? They fall, and falling, they’re given wings.”

If you wait to respect yourself until you are at the weight you imagine you need to be to respect yourself, you will never respect yourself, because the message you will be giving yourself as you reach your goal is that you are damaged and cannot trust your impulses, your longings, your dreams, your essence at any weight.


Roth, Geneen. “Reteaching Loveliness.” Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. New York: Scribner, 2010. 84+.

 

Cleaning out my closet

Body dysmorphia. Eating disorders. Self-hate. For most of my life, I’ve hated my body. I’d wear over-sized jumpers to hide my big hips. I was nicknamed J.Lo in school; to some it was a compliment, but to me it was a painful reminder that I wasn’t the stick-thin girl I aspired to be. I remember being 11 and wishing I could cut off my hips. I remember being 12 and wishing I’d be diagnosed with diabetes so that I’d have to stop eating anything sugary. I saw my mum dieting and fretting about sugars and waistline, so I thought if only I had the willpower – or the diagnosis- to steamroll myself into thinness. I remember being 13 and reading a novel about a girl with eating disorders, which gave me the perfect idea to emulate her. I went through bouts of anorexia, and the thinner I got, the fatter I felt. I remember being 14 and wishing I could way 40 kg despite my 162 cm. That’d be a bmi of 15.

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Fat people are…

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
C.G. Jung


Trunks on the ground

Ever since I returned to social media after a long 5 year hiatus, I’ve noticed that the inner critic in my head has a slew of friends online. It’s as if everyone uploaded their pain to send them to others in a game of mental tag. ” You’re fat”, ” You’re ugly”; everything I hate about myself, “You are it”.

What’s worse than the shaming and trolling is that the people who try to instill a positive body image that has nothing to do with one’s fatness, and everything to do with uplifting people who hate themselves, these people are scorned for ‘encouraging obesity’ and ‘ glorifying fatness’. These unsolicited critics proceed to do a public service by letting people know that their fatness is killing them. Does cruelty kill? I hope so.

Who asked for your opinion? You think so lowly of someone based on their body that you think they can’t live and think for themselves? You feel you ‘must’ teach them how to live? You feel you must assuage their mortification by telling them to lose the weight to be adored and eventually feel better. You feel that’s what worked for you ; the only way you could bear looking yourself in the mirror was to fight what was looking back at you. You hated yourself and thought if you could gain people’s accolades based on your exterior, perhaps this would gloss over the gaping void that you fill with negative mantras over and over and over again… So, when you see someone who isn’t striving for the societal ideal, like you are, and somehow is happy – something you could never be- you can’t allow this. You are so consumed with envy that the inner reservoir of self-hate spills over and absorbs the happiness of anyone around you. You’d rather go on a tirade against all fat people till kingdom come and go through cycles of diets and shakes and this workout and that, than to look inside that inner void and face the aggressive emotional tumour that is depleting you of everything humane. You don’t want to face your fears, you don’t want to admit what you’ve come to think of yourself; that you are useless, ugly, unlovable ; you don’t want to admit all of this because you actually believe it. You believe the lies that you’ve been force-fed and now you hate anyone who reminds you of what you worked so hard to bury.

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