…..When will I be the fairest of them all??
Tell me what I want to see,
The exact illusion of my delusion.
Show me who I am, but let it be me;
The me I see, not the reality.
©Kelsi M. Meireis
Please excuse the randomness of this post as I haven’t previously written and edited this one. It comes directly from the chaos of my mind….
Well, thank goodness the holidays are at an end for a while. I love them and am sad to see them go, but at the same time I will not miss the stress. I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful.
Mine were slighlty stressful as my poor mother-in-law fell and broke her kneecap on Christmas Eve and my little niece had terrible respiratory infection. I got to fix the supper and cleanup afterwards. It was still fun.
At therapy today I felt like I actually learned something about myself. (True, I may have previously known it, but the realization of it came today.) We talked about how I focus on physical appearances, especially my own, a lot. I begin to realize that this is deeply rooted in my core self-image, which is very negative, even to the point of self-loathing (which we already knew I struggle with). My therapist says this is a link to my “well documented tendencies to be self-defeating”.
In the last month I have started to notice some of my self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. I’ll think something and then tell myself how defeating that is. The problem lies in the fact that I don’t care. I want to care, I really do, but I don’t, and I don’t see myself changing that fact any time soon.
If it makes me feel better about myself and just in general, I tend to do it, even if I’ll be miserable about it later. I am glad that I did not invent this, lol; that I am not the only one to struggle with this type of thing.
My therapist says I have this belief system that my thoughts tend to run against constantly. I think what he was talking about was that one of my “beliefs” is that I have the right to feel good about myself, which for me means feeling pretty, and to do whatever is needed to achieve that even if it means going against something I think is right or something that is beneficial to me.
A good example of this in my life is in the choice of church I have decided to attend and belong to. My church is very strict, generally speaking, compared to other denominations; compared to the church I was raised in, ie. the Methodist Church. We don’t believe in putting emphasis on the outerward appearance; no makeup or hair colour/style, simple dress. Simplicity, economy, and modesty are the things we are to judge with. (No, I’m not amish…)
When I began to come to this church I tried desperately hard to fit in, to be simple, to give up my mode of dress. It worked for awhile, but I couldn’t hold on to it. I felt miserable about myself when I looked at me, and since my appearance has a lot to do with my self esteem, it had a very negative impact on me. So I began to wear makeup again and to style my hair as I liked and I felt better. I gave myself permission to feel good again, in maybe the only way I knew how, even though it runs perpendicular to my thoughts on how I should be, the beliefs of my church, and the benefits I recieve from following the church.
It’s like an alcoholic who tries to quit drinking. Even though it is good for him/her, he/she is miserable as they withdraw from it. So giving in to the drink again is the easy thing to do, even though it might not be the best course of action for them.
I don’t know if I am making any sense here. I think I am, but there are too many words. If I would have written it out first there would be less. As it is , you get a taste of my thought process on a day which, has in general, been a good one.
Even as a child I struggled with self-image. I remember I would sit on my grandmother’s bed, look in her mirror, and wish I was that girl; the girl I saw in the mirror. After a while I would realize that that was me and that I was pretty (that I thought I was anyway), but it would never last.
When I worked as a hairdresser my friends would comment about how I couldn’t walk past a mirror without looking in it and about how conceited I was, when the exact opposite was and is true. I looked to reassure myself that I still looked how I percieved myself…. If that makes any sense.
I know that it might sound weird to some of you, but when I look in the mirror without my makeup on and my hair done I don’t see me. I know it is me, but I don’t recognize her and I as the same. When I have my hair done and my makeup on, that is when I see myself in the mirror.
I never believe people when they complement me, not even my Husband. It makes me feel better to hear that a perfect stranger said something nice about me, though. So much in fact that I grope at it for days and even weeks afterward, just to make sure that I didn’t dream it up.
I hope to eventually give myself permission to overcome this, though I know it won’t be for a long time. I realize that I will/am aging and that my physical appearance will not always be what it is now. It is only a matter of time til I will have to give up this delusion of mine or go to extremes to maintain my own self-image.