Strap in, you’re in for a ride

OK, not sure if I’m going to have the comments on for this post or not, I’ll see how I go when I’ve finished typing it first. And I’ll warn you now, I am not re-reading or editing, so here you are – warts and all (pun intended).

I don’t know when I was diagnosed with body dysmorphia, I honestly can’t remember, I think around my early 20s. It’s not something I share easily with people and often when I do share it, I get scoffed at. Most helpful.

Most of my childhood,I had short hair, I swam daily, it was just easier to manage. I take after my Dad’s side of the family, I was tall and gangly. I was often mistaken for a boy. In the past few months I was mistaken for a boy again, when I checked into the hotel in Muscat, tired and weary – headband on for two day old hair, ‘Sir, may I help you?’

I’ve been mulling this post over for about 24 hours, since I posted this picture up on Instagram. When I left the house, a few hours earlier, I was happy with how I looked. In this picture, I cannot tell you how much I hate myself. The waiter took the photo at the end of a meal, we were relaxed, happy, our sides aching with laughter. Many people would look at it and think ‘That’s a picture of Maddie’, no more no less.

I look at it and freak out is that how I look?

That is it?

That no matter what I do with my hair, at the end of the day – it will look like a short back and sides?

That I smiled for the camera, was feeling great, then got passed my phone back and had a internal meltdown at how awful it was. But I can’t ask five other people to repose until I look like me?

That my main problem with pictures of me, is me? My face?

There’s a picture of my upline and region on the Arbonne conference page, there I am again, looking awful. No one else can see the problem. Again, I’d left the place we were staying thinking I looked ok in the morning, when the picture was shown to me I froze.

There are days when I hate myself so much, I can’t bear it. I don’t feel comfortable in anything I wear, because what is the point? I have size 9 UK, 43 EUR, 11 AU feet – I hate shopping for shoes, the looks I get (or perceive, I’m aware this is a mental condition) when I ask for and try on the larger size shoes) make me feel awkward, uneasy, clumsy and gauche.

I hate shopping for clothes, jeans, undies – you name it, because when you try stuff on, you have to look in the mirror. I’m typing this in our bedroom, we’ve got sliding mirror doors on the wardrobe, to go to sleep, to sit up in bed, I have to have mine open so I look at my (now dusty) clothes. I’m better than I was, I no longer do my mirror in a compact, so I didn’t have to look at my whole face.

I get pictures with those I love, but then I hate myself.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this, other than for awareness I guess. I want people to know, be more understanding when I freeze or get clumsy. When I get told to slow down when I’m talking, because I feel so awkward – I just want to go. I’m light years away from where I was, I don’t have panic attacks now. My last black dog episode was over a year ago. Work is going well. I’m busy, valued and having fun with my colleagues, despite the challenges!

And yet, and yet.

Our dear friend was down this weekend, we went to a park today, I waited for coffees, called a friend who is going through some serious sh!t in the interim. When the call finished, we were playing with a bubble wand. Hanno videoed the three of us. All I saw was my shape, my squint into the sun, how I look nothing like I feel.

And that is the crux of it all. My outside does not match my inside. My perception of me is ‘other’ I look in a mirror and think, that’s ok. I see myself through photos or film, and I’m hideous. In my mind. My issues are wide, long and deep. I thought I was doing ok. I’ve been running, I feel strong again. But still something does not match.

Still other.

Still not enough.

I heard an interview with Karen Elson in the week, married to Jack White, she was a model and said that she loved that the fashion industry admires the quirky and unusual. I literally looked at my phone and laughed out loud. Really? Is that why women are spending fortunes on acrylic nails, false eyelashes, lip enhancements and fake tan, because we’re allowed to celebrate the unusual? Why then do all we see are orange, identikit, kardashian-esque across most media?

I’m as guilty as the next person on using filters on my posts, but I’m also not afraid to put up a picture of me with no filter, bed-head and a cat draped like Davy Crockett around me, because it makes me laugh – so think others will laugh too.

Arbonne is wonderful and makes me see another side to myself. Our nations collectively are called ‘Ohana, meaning family. They truly are to me. They’ve kept me going on many a dark night; I’ve been in fits of giggles with them, and wept over how the network marketing model has enabled a difference to people’s lives. From the Personal Development we all do, (daily), to the pushing out our comfort zones, you come as you are, but we’re going to bring out the best in you.

I’m so much stronger than I was before, but goddamit… I wish this frickin’ thing would sugar off.