I know I rolled back onto Instagram without acknowledging the almost 4 weeks I spent away from social media. For those of you who only know me through this blog and social media, you may not know that this is pretty much my modus operandi. I am one of those “bury it deep down until it disappears then bounce back like it never went down” type of people. It has worked phenomenally for me in my professional life where I am constantly faced with high stress situations that need to be resolved fast enough for me to prepare to tackle the next; however, I understand that it doesn’t work (and, quite frankly, hasn’t worked) in the realm of personal issues, especially when I am held accountable by all of you. So here we are. I am literally shaking while writing this and even getting through this first paragraph has taken me about 4 days, but this is necessary. I would be doing a disservice if I only showed the sparkly, cute outfits, lollipops and unicorns Instagram perfect world without discussing the very real issue of body dysmorphia and the uphill battle I just went through to get back to a near normal me.
Let’s start from the top.
A month ago, I hit the lowest point I’ve ever been in during all 26 years of my life. I got my heart shattered into tiny pieces by someone who had already done it once before and then had to deal with a Gemini who loved hard and hated even harder. I am no stranger to heartbreak but the compounding circumstances I found myself in, on top of a high stress professional life, set me over the edge. And for someone like myself who is proud of the fact that she can overcome near anything, spiraling out of control like that was terrifying. Worse of all – I couldn’t stop it. My usual “bury it deep and deny deny deny” coping mechanism was useless to me because in order to bury and deny, I first had to acknowledge what was wrong and I was unable to do that. Instead, my insecurities manifested themselves as body dysmorphia. I felt ugly and unworthy of love. I rationalized that the reason I had been dragged through it by two men so closely to each other was because my body was outside societal beauty standards. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, couldn’t bear to see my own reflection to the point where I would brush my teeth in a dark bathroom. I was thrown into fits of uncontrollable anxiety every time I was forced to leave my home and I couldn’t even fathom the thought of getting in front of a camera.
There was no enlightened moment or pivotal point at which things turned for the better. “Better” became an extremely relative term and the self-doubt and intolerable negative self-talk started to subside. They formed this huge wall in front of me and slowly, minute by minute, day by day, I was able to chip at the wall in front of me. As I sit here, I can’t really pinpoint anything I did to help – I didn’t change my daily routine or start journaling. I just stayed authentic to myself and allowed myself to really feel everything I was going through. When I felt ready, I completely restructured my social media feeds. I started following people that looked like me and shared the same life philosophy as I did. I leaned on my family, especially my brother, who helped me chip away at that wall.
Ultimately, I stopped running and decided to live through it.
I can look into my own eyes every morning and can finally stand in front of a camera. This was the first shoot I did after a month away and I won’t lie – I was terrified. I was shaky and uneasy, constantly adjusting my clothing and hyperaware of the space my body was taking up. But I got through it. And I am better for it. This isn’t a self-help article or a Buzzfeedesque ten step guide to feeling better about yourself. This is really just me tying up a one month journey through a whole load of crap. I don’t have any answers and I am still not 100% myself again but I’m getting there. I understand I am human and I will inevitably find myself feeling this way again but this experience has taught me that I’m strong enough to fight through.