I’m Learning To Love Myself Despite My ‘Imagined Ugliness’

woman putting makeup in front of mirror
kevin laminto / Unsplash

It’s winter.

I huddle in the bathroom with bare feet on the frigid linoleum floor.

I peel off my sweat saturated layers telling myself that maybe I will love my body once I am leaner or more muscular.

I cringe as I make eye contact with the creases and blemishes that reflect so loudly back at me.

I ache for collar bones and defined shoulders.

I pull at the skin that hangs and I dissect the soft spots on my stomach.

I stare and try to remember a time when my body was not something that needed to be fixed.

I go to the gym everyday with the expectation that my body will bounce back to the way it was before childbirth, before alcohol, before heartbreak.

And here I am, the queen of encouraging others to love their bodies.

Maybe it is a means to cope with my own self- hatred, a sort of penance.

There have been times where I have given up good men who loved me because the thought that they could love someone as revolting as myself was unfathomable.

I have struggled with body dysmorphia for most of my life.

I like to refer to it as “imagined ugliness” — saying it that way helps sometimes.

The definition of “imagined” is believing something unreal or untrue to exist or be so.

I don’t know what is real when I see myself.

So why do I hate my body? Because I think I should. Because I think that hating it will inspire me to change it.

I know I am not alone in this. I know you can relate.

I know what my body does and I am thankful for it.

John Keats wrote, “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty, that is all ye know on Earth and all ye need to know.”

So this is my truth. It is beautiful. I am beautiful.

I will continue to leave myself sticky notes on my work computer with positive affirmations.

I will continue to find one thing I like about myself each day.

I will let myself be loved by someone.

I will continue to believe that one day I will be liberated forever. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

“You’ve got to let go of who you were, to become who you are.”

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