There I stood, staring it down; this menace to my sanity. For so many years I have fought and battled and waged war against it. Countless tears, angry words, broken dreams, failed relationships, and unhealthy amounts of hate, among other things, have all been left in the path of this beasts’ destruction.
And now here I am looking at it in a different way. Maybe this monster, this devils playground is more than what I perceived it to be. Maybe there is a reason for the negative outpouring that falls from the lips of such an animal. Maybe I can understand the roots to this vile things existence.
Perhaps, that is what mirrors are actually supposed to do.
Instead of seeing what we want to see, the good, beautiful parts of us, we look into mirrors and see the ugly, broken, split, and bleeding parts of us. The hair that is never perfectly in place; the extra chins and the excess sand in our hour glasses that we can’t get rid of; the scars, the blood, the fat, the bones. These are the things the mirror shows us.
I have fought myself for far too long. Infinite memories are tainted by the reflections I sought everywhere I looked. And as always, I am disappointed in the reflection looking back at me; as always, I have turned away with disgust.
But today, something is different. Now, I am staring at this reflection of myself and I don’t hate it. I want to understand the poison. I want to love it.
I fear that I have been a sort of hypocrite with myself. All my life I have looked for, and seen the good in everyone around me. I never once had trouble seeing the beauty in others. I can see the pain and the ugly parts, but others beauty always shines brighter than their ugliness could ever glow. I have not afforded myself the same love. When I looked at myself I saw only the bad. I have seen my too-big feet, my mousy hair, my ever growing waistline and thighs, the imbalances in my skin color, my inability to control any aspect of myself. I never stopped long enough to see my own beauty.
I tell everyone I know to look for the good in life; to see the silver lining. I encourage those around me to love themselves and to be kind to their bodies. Even as much as I begged people to see the beauty in themselves that I could see, I refused to acknowledge any good in myself.
As I have mentioned before, my brain does not always function the way I would like. It’s almost as though I have two different brains and they take turns controlling my mind. One brain, the bigger one, is full and chaotic and always has something going on. This brain is never happy with the status quo. It’s wild and passionate, but cluttered. Big brain has millions of great ideas, but no ways of making them happen. Big brain is angry because it can’t sort through everything. So big brain screams and yells and huffs nonstop. Then you have small brain. This little brain wants everything to be just right. Small brain has post it notes, file sorters and color coded labels on everything. Small brain only handles one issue at a time so that it doesn’t get overwhelmed. Small brain is happy about its organized quiet life, but small brain gets a little claustrophobic.
The two brains take turns navigating my life. Big brain, who is kind of a bully, says it’s ok to buy that sweater even though small brain says to save the cash for the gas tank. Big brain tells me that I can go ahead and eat that bowl of ice cream. When I do, small brain gets upset and shows me a list of reasons why I shouldn’t. But big brain is right there smothering small brain. Small brain loses.
I discovered sometime last year that I can make big brain shut up long enough to let small brain have a say. Big brain wants to be more organized just as small brain wants to have more fun. When I take my medicine, small brain grows a little. And when I exercise, not only does small brain grow strength, big brain has to jump on the work out train too and trim some of its own fat. And even though it sometimes gets jealous, big brain likes it when small brain takes control and things start falling in line. I need these two aspects of brain to work together. I need them to be the same size so I can have the creative juices that big brain has, with the flow and organization of small brain. If I can go from have two separate brains, to one equal and balanced brain, I think life would be much less complicated.
You may have your own big/small brain issues. Some people call these personality issues. Some prefer the term mood changes. Whatever you call it, I am sure you have at some point, felt split in two directions. I have been working tirelessly to bring myself to a place where I can see the good in myself more often than the bad. This has taken time and patience.
It is only when I consistently take all of my meds, exercise and eat well, that my brain seems to even out. For a long time, I hated myself and what I saw in the mirror, basically as a result of an imbalance in my brain. I felt like my meds were tearing my brain up more than they were repairing it, or that I just had no control over anything, when in reality only I can control what happens in my life. More recently, I have been loving myself more and more.
I have committed to making some changes in my life and I hope that it will soon show. I am tired of hating myself. I want to love who I am inside and out. There is only one person who can make that happen. –ME
So, every day I repeat this mantra to myself. (Granted, it varies some days, and other days I have to say it through clenched teeth, but I am doing it and seeing results.)
I can be a better person, if I love myself.
I can be a better employee, if I love myself.
I can be a better girlfriend, if I love myself.
I can be a better writer, if I love myself.
I can be a better Aunt, if I love myself.
I can be a better sister, if I love myself.
I can be a better ANYTHING, if I love myself.
And you can too.
Well, how do I love myself? It starts with small things. I love myself by taking my medicine on time every day. Even though it’s annoying to have 7 alarms set for every day, it’s worth it. My meds allow my body to function properly and run smoother. I love myself by eating well. When I eat crap food or drink soda, I feel sluggish, bloated, tired, and achy. I never realized how true this was until I stopped eating crap and gave my body healthy real food. Now, even when my brain gets a little topsy-turvy, I know what will make me feel the best. I love myself by exercising. No one ever said love was easy. I once talked myself into believing that I was allergic to exercise. (I know it isn’t true, and I don’t tell myself this anymore) I have to get in a little exercise. Even if it’s only a walk around the house, I have to keep moving. I love myself by not allowing toxic people in my life. I need to surround myself with positive good things. And I will put these things out into the world around me because I understand that the energy I omit will bring good energy back to me.
I am not going to hate myself anymore.
I am going to find the beauty in this beast.