Body image. Self esteem. The boogie monster. These are all things we’d rather not fight with. Honestly, it’d be nice if they shook hands with us or sat down and had a cup of tea, rather than stirring up havoc in our minds.
I’ve battled with all 3 since I was very small (yes, even the boogie monster, though he’s hunted by Sam and Dean from Supernatural in my head now so we’re on relatively good terms). There are days when they are so overwhelming and all-consuming that I am practically helpless. I am like the blonde chick at the start of Scream – albeit without the massive rack – I try and run, I try and hide, but all I do is end up at the bottom of the stairs with a big knife of self-pity and self-loathing stabbed in my back.
I know I’m not alone in this. There are millions of others out there who struggle daily with the reflection they see in the mirror. A lot of those people cannot find anything about themselves that they truly love. Their vision of themselves is so distorted that even if it stepped out from the gilded frame to slap them in the face, they wouldn’t recognise the beautiful parts of themselves.
Frankly, I have days like this.
It might come as a shock for those who see me every day, because I am the epitome of happiness. My smile stretches so wide, it’s like the Grand Canyon. But buried under that smile is a gulf so deep, I often feel swallowed whole by the sheer enormity of my own self-loathing.
Why am I sharing this, might you ask?
Because despite this, there are days when I am myself again. There are days when I see myself for the truly wonderful person I am. There are days I laugh at my ridiculous mind and its ridiculous thoughts, and I stare into the sunrise with purpose.
Frankly my dear friends, I live for those days.
These are the days that I hope.
I’m sharing this part of myself – this dark, empty part – because (and I know it sounds cheesy) I want my friends and anyone else who reads this to KNOW they’re not alone. There is beauty and wonder and magic in everyone. You would think, in my profession (social work), that I would despise humanity. Well, I don’t. I can see past the despair and dirtiness of this world and I cherish the love and magnificence that is underneath.
I believe – and you may curse me for this – that there is something good about every single person on this planet. I don’t care how horrible they are or what they’ve done. There is a sliver of humanity in every being. What I’ve found is – people tend to squash that tiny piece. They bury it, they kick it aside, and they ignore it. My biggest fear? That I, too, will be buried alive under the weight of my depression.
I don’t want that. Oh God, I don’t want that.
I don’t want that for anyone else either.
You know what keeps me from suffocating though? My ability to share my concerns. I know that there are people in my life who notice when I don’t call them for a few days, who text me when they work out something’s up. But I don’t clutch my pain to my chest and refuse to part with it. If anything, I scramble to offer it over to somebody – often in the simple gesture of a hug or a clasped hand.
So where am I going with all this? Well, this is my tiny sliver of goodness that I am giving to you. Take it or leave it, it’s your choice. But know this – help is always out there. There is enough kindness in this universe to wrap you in blankets forever. All you have to do is ask. Don’t be afraid. Stand up to the boogie monster, which is really only a distortion in your reality. We are the makers of our own world, and we can overcome. True, there will be days when we will bury our heads under the covers and not want to move, but there will also be days where the sun will shine and we’ll open our eyes and be able to face the day.
Friends, let us not wallow in our hurt or our self-pity. Let us embrace what we have to offer the world – that small piece of wonder which always makes us beautiful in someone’s eyes.