Saying That You Feel Ugly and Calling Yourself Ugly are Two Extremely Different Things
So it is almost 4 AM here in Florida, and per usual I am awake till the crack of dawn obsessing over anything and everything. Recently, I did a shoot for a small reality show which was based around a blind date and going through each other’s phones. For months I waited anxiously to see the footage, and tonight I was finally able to watch it in which I was laughing positively and pinching my belly fat, crying inside at the same time. Looking at the set-up, it appeared to be the ugly duckling and the swan paired together, but deep down that is just a feeling and I know it is not a fact. That is why I prefer to say that I feel ugly rather than sealing the horrid perception of myself by means of two words: “I am”.
A few days ago, I wrote a post on here about men and their struggles with eating disorder in much of a positive and empowering tone. However, the very next day I was wearing a tank-top feeling very self conscious about breathing in public because of the way my perceived belly would protrude. That night, I took my medicine, got the munchies, and binge ate relentlessly and regretfully all at once. The next day, my belly and man boobs were in the back of my mind because I was not even all that hungry. However, night time came along and when it was time to shower, I got naked and saw my body feeling desperate, sad, and uncomfortable in my own skin. Earlier in the day I had no cup size and a flat belly only to feel like a balloon at shower hour. These feelings are symptoms of a common disorder known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Now, whenever I make mention about my own personal struggles with BDD, most of the time I am usually shrugged off because people think I am looking for validation. Additionally, when the subject comes up it usually comes off as if I actually believe I am ugly even though it is merely a feeling that comes and goes like a fair-weather side boy. For starters, anyone who talks about their mental illnesses should be treated as nothing less than brave for opening up about an issue that is still shoved under the rug by society. More to the point, I do not believe these things about myself but merely feel them so intensely that the illusion in my mind makes it feel so real.
Regarding tonight, seeing myself on taped blind date triggered insecurities that normally do not have any ounce of power over me. I didn’t see who I normally think I am whenever there is no mirror around for me and I’m free from my ego. Absolutely not. All I noticed was my hunched back, puffy cheeks, overly feminine qualities (which I’m unapologetic about but still insecure), and an image pale in comparison to the perfectly crafted wallflower across from me. I shed a tear and smiled all at once because of how grateful I am to be self aware, but the pain still exists.
All in all, I absolutely refuse to let my mind’s distortion inhibit me from moving forward in my life. It is still nearly impossible for me to love a body picture enough to post it online, and when I do its usually removed within a day or two because of my insecurities. In addition, whenever I take pictures I am usually hiding part of my face, giving a kiss on the cheek, or doing anything to avoid smiling because I feel my face is puffy when I smile and it keeps me loathing myself. Ultimately, my insecurities come with a wisdom that makes the pain all worth the while. Knowing that language is extremely powerful can help us understand that feelings are not facts, so feeling a certain way does not equate to being it as well.
Overall, these are the things I see when I look at myself, but they are not the bricks that build the house of my identity. Seeing the clip made me feel ugly but there is no ugly bone in my body. It took me forever to get to this point, but ever since I replaced “I am” with “I feel” before using the words ugly or fat, the pain of Body Dysmorphic Disorder became fifty percent less extreme than it initially was. Tweaking my language relieves the pain so much more than the four medications I take for these disorders. And the best part about it is that this wisdom doesn’t have a copay.