Real Life: Body Dysmorphia & Fear of Mirrors
4 Minute Read: Body dysmorphia, eating disorder recovery, body image, body positive, body neutrality.
I look at the pictures here and think: “Should I post them?”
They’re before-bed bathroom selfies on a random weekday. I decide they’re passable, or else would've deleted them.
Thing is, I have NO idea what I actually look like.
I dislike 9.9 out of 10 pictures of myself and fear what the camera will show. Similarly, my take on what appears in the mirror is 99 percent not my friend, whether at home, yoga, or anywhere else.
If there's a "good one" or a “good mirror moment,” I think: "Well, that’s just the angle or lighting – not how I actually look."
When it comes to Insta, I avoid fancy portrait filters and such: I'd rather know and show what's as close to "real" as possible so I’m not misleading anyone (including myself). And I still do not know. It changes day to day. I cringe most of the time. I beat myself up for caring.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is something you likely can’t imagine if you don't live it.
I haven't had it my entire life – "just" since age 12 or so (I'm now 43). It’s part of a bigger addiction to perfectionism, sourced from a deep belief that “I am not enough.”
Even as I've stepped out of unhelpful eating patterns and made it my life’s work to help others with theirs, my distorted body image isn’t something anyone can “just fix.” Side note:
Please don’t send body positive vibes my way. I get the urge; it may make you feel better, but doesn’t help me.
What does help is to keep breathing, practicing, investigating...with as much mindfulness and softness as possible. One day, then the next. Staying with the practice. Returning and returning again.
What I see in pictures or in the mirror probably won’t ever be “healed,” but I can hold it with compassion, care and recognition of our shared humanness. I can see and honour the wounds it comes from.
I can also say, firsthand: If this is you too, know you’re not alone and you’re not broken. Know my heart sees yours, and sends you so much tenderness.
Also, here are some…
Recipes + Links
Also meet the new emojis. Prosthetic limbs, menstruation icons, mix-n-match People Holding Hands, oh my!
Less and good enough. “I sometimes wonder how well these superlatives, and our quest for the best of something, end up serving us. What about the possibility of replacing better or best with good enough? The reality of my own day-to-day life is that living simply and keeping a pared down collection of well-loved items often isn’t about having the best. It’s about making the best of what I already have.”
A polar explorer's beauty uniform. "Before that expedition, I had always assumed that I was intrinsically me. I thought Felicity was a specific, definite thing: this is who I am, these are my values, this is how I react. But out there, I realized that me, my character, is the space between all the people that have huge influence in my life. When those people and outside influences were taken away, suddenly my character didn’t have a form anymore. I felt fluid. It made me realize just how much the people in our lives help shape who we are – and how absolutely essential it is to surround yourself with others that reflect the values and the character that you want to have. People who are good for you." (Also note her grocery-store challenge upon returning home.)
Apple cranberry paleo oatmeal. Eat this. Stay warm.
How do you do with cameras, mirrors and seeing yourself? I’d love to hear in the comments. xo