The last few weeks have been a challenge. I've been biting my nails so much that they bleed, and the tips of my fingers hurt. The other night I had a long lucid nightmare in which I was being hunted and ultimately choked to death. I lay half-awake when I came out of that, wondering what the fuck was going on with me. Somehow in my exhausted state, it became clear: throughout each and every day, my internal narrative is nearly always centered around something negative. In my head, I'm never good enough: I'm not talented enough; I'm not thin enough; I'm not pretty enough; I'm never going to be successful; I'm never going to be financially stable; I'm never going to be content with what I have; I'm never going to be happy where I am; I'm never going to be able to follow a routine; I'm never going to be able to stick to my goals. I remind myself of all of my shortcomings all time. On top of that, I then criticise myself for not doing enough to improve upon my shortcomings.
It's time for all that to end.
How? I'm not really sure. Writing this out, publicly, is a step. It's not about other people reading this as much as it is knowing that I've laid this out somewhere visible, somewhere outside of myself, as a way to keep myself accountable to it. I'm so tired of the way I talk to myself and the negative stream-of-consciousness I carry with me everyday.
It goes like this, for example, when I look in the mirror: all I see are my under eye circles, and the small fine wrinkles that are forming there. I see pores that never disappear, rather seem to spread across my cheeks, and stubborn spots that pop up despite best efforts. My hair is dry and limp and overdue for a cut. My chin is fat, the profile of my face is atrocious. My décolleté is discolored, my shoulders have marks. My stomach has never been flat. Why can't I just eat better and lose those last few inches? And I clearly haven't been working out enough because my love handles have filled out. My face looks fatter lately, too. It's hot outside but it's no excuse, I should be waking up at 6am to go take a walk at least. I'm so lazy. My ass looks disgusting, my stretch marks are spreading. Why aren't I doing any squats? Why can't I at least do some yoga? I need to stop eating carbs in the evening. I need to try that diet where you fast two days a week. Why can't I just get my shit together?
As for what I'm seeing in reality, this is how I look undressed (full disclosure - not a recent photo and a bit more flattering than if I took one today). Sharing this on a public platform is kind of huge for me, as I'm the sort who still doesn't wear anything above the knee - who hates being seen in a bathing suit - basically I don't like to expose my body at all:
I look at this picture and I can recognize that my self-criticisms are largely overblown - call it body dysmorphia, or a severe case of perfectionism. And yet, they continue, because I haven't managed to manifest my image of personal perfection - physically, professionally, creatively, socially.
These terrible things I say to myself are my daily narrative. It's so normalized, I've never stopped to think about how harmful it is to have this negative filter on my thoughts all the time. Talking to myself like this, seeing myself this way is really just making everything worse. It's not just limited to my appearance - it's how I deal with myself in every possible way. And as a result my negativity manifests in anxiety and mild depression, both of which I've dealt with for years. This state of mind also often keeps me from rousing myself to do things which, I'm sure, would push me to greater heights. It's a cycle of self-sabotage.
I've been doing a bit of reading, and listening to people who are wiser than I on these matters. What has become very clear is: if I'm not right in spirit then I won't be right in mind and I won't be right in body. Everything about my human experience originates from my inner being, and it's the most important thing I need to be caring for. This was a pretty profound realization to finally make.
So I suppose this post marks the start of a journey of sorts, engaging in whatever the process is towards being truly, authentically well. I might document it here, again just as a way to keep myself accountable to it. At 28 I'm not expecting radical changes - but I do want to at least live more vibrantly, confidently, and happily. Very rarely do I stop and reflect on all the amazing things I get to do and see and experience - instead I get lost on the things I don't have, or something I didn't do well enough. Call this an awakening, call it maturity - whatever it is, I'm glad it's happening.