To Exist Comfortably in One's Own Body: Insecurities and Body Image
Where do I even begin when it comes to talking about insecurities? I am almost positive that I came straight from the womb into this world concerned about what other people think of me because, quite frankly, it is all I can remember.
Like many women, my biggest insecurity has been my body image. I can remember being aware of my body as young as eight years old, but I did not start harming and neglecting my body until I was about 13. It began with speaking unkindly to myself. Every day before school, I would call myself ugly, fat, and worthless. I even remember crying to my mom in the car about how much I hated my body and how I looked. Of course she would tell me I was beautiful, but I always assumed she only said that because she was my mom. Moms are automatically programmed to think their kids are cute, right?
As I got older, my relationship with my body grew worse. I discovered I had a mental illness when I was 15 which led to hating myself. I thought that I had to hide that part of me, and the only way I knew how was to make myself look perfect on the outside. If I was perfect on the outside, no one could see how hideous I felt on the inside.
That plan was obviously doomed from the very start considering perfection does not exist. I spent most of my high school life living by impossible standards. I lost 30 plus pounds, I restricted foods from my diet, I punished myself when I ate outside of the routine I set, and I lived by the numbers on a scale and tags inside my jeans. I never went anywhere without makeup on, I always styled my hair, and it was rare to catch me in “comfort” clothes. People saw me as “put together,” and that was exactly what I wanted.
My breaking point occurred due to a superficial heartbreak from a guy who never fully loved me the way I deserved to be loved, and as hard as it was to go through that, it taught me about the real standards I should be setting for myself. I finally entered therapy during my time in college and began working out my own internal issues. I even did group therapy at one point that was centered around self-esteem. It was healing to admit my truths and recognize that I was not alone in the battle to exist comfortably inside my body and mind.
I am happy to say that with time I have been able to work on my insecurities related to body image and my mental health. I have finally accepted my mental illnesses, and I do not strive to mask who I am by what I look like. I am not healed nor do I now live without insecurities. I still do not love my body most days, but I have learned to become more content with her.
This body is the only home I truly know, and I recognize it is my choice in how I treat her. I can choose to be unkind and brutal, or I can choose to work with her. I can even learn to love her. The same goes for my brain--I am learning to love her, too.
With time I do believe it is possible to chip away at our insecurities. Whether we truly grow out of them is another question entirely, but maybe, with a little grace and patience, we might find a kinder, gentler version of ourselves that allows for growth.
Caysea is a passionate mental health advocate from the state of Georgia inside the United States. You can find her on Instagram @__caml.b and @__caml.b.art to purchase her body-positivity and wellbeing stickers