Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Letter to the Inner Critic

I caught sight of my arm's reflection tonight in the screen of my laptop. I was writing down a poem I had heard about cyber bullying in my journal and a dimple in the wrong place gathered my attention.

I proceeded to bend and unbend my arm -- a distinct line of where the excess fat of my arm shouldn't be appeared when I bent in.

My elbows have dimples . . .

There's always been this fight, you know.

I look back at pictures of myself before college began, before I realized how much he wouldn't fit into the future of who I would become, before I was acutely aware of how clearly able I was to do things on my own.

I look back at them and have to decide, whiplash quick, whether I will sob over the truth of the matter or laugh hysterically so as not to weep . . .

I thought I was such a big girl then.

I shudder to think about what I might say about pictures of myself, from this time in my life, in five years if I do not gain some semblance of control over how I fuel my body.

It is a vicious, cyclical, caution-taped area I live in.

People will handle any number of pitches from this life in any number of ways - food happens to be my cure-all for each molecule of feeling passing through my bloodstream --

Food is a comfort whether I truly require comforting or not.

I flirted with the skipping of meals in my teens and early twenties -- realizing quickly that control was designated for my schedule, for my pseudo-healthy relationships, for with whom and where and how I shared my body -- but never for how I cared for my body.

Hours poured over computer screens, weeks and months and years passed of me giving freely, even in the midst of self-hatred, simply to prove that I had something worth giving.

And for what?

So that I can come to be a functioning, working, responsible (albeit awkward) adult woman who catches a reflection of herself and ends up spiraling into panic and verbal self-mutilation?

Oh, no.

I'm tired of living in a world whose culture is seemingly defined on how many likes and followers one will acquire in a set amount of time.

I am exhausted with having to face the reality that looks will likely determine how approachable females are, as a sex.

I am devastated by young girls finding their fuel for the day, the week, their life, in what they're wearing, who they're talking to, whether they 'belong.'

I am bent over, embarrassed and terrified and grief-stricken, that I was, am, and probably always will be a woman who must face these demons head on.

I am guilty of seeking approval, of grasping for worth, in others. In relationships. In social media banter. In whether I belong to someone, to a group, to myself.

I got tired of seeing my reflection in the laptop screen --

So I picked it up and opened a blank page to scribble some words on . . .

It is my deepest desire to know my students won't grow up to be women defined by what other's believe her to be and men who get glory from being the definers.

It is from the bottom of my heart that I hope each sister I come in contact with in this life knows just how remarkable she is and that each brother I know is man enough to tell the women in his life just that.

From the very center of my soul, where I seem to feel all the feels just a touch too much, I hope fervently and without restraint that one day I may come before my reflection and not immediately begin with critique.

Maybe it's just time we all start believing in ourselves a little more and bringing roadblocks down on how we don't measure up.

Perhaps we stop living vicariously through comparisons and begin to vivaciously champion one another.

Let's put a damper on the hate filled language littering our 'feeds,' our screens, and our minds and begin crafting love letters to our bodies and thanking them for making it this far, bringing it this long, and continuing to move through each day.

I could yell obscenities at the dimples in places they don't belong or I could figure out a strategy to make myself better and love every stage in the process.

The choice is ultimately up to me.

No one else's permission is required for each of us to love ourselves.

(I just want to become more focused on loving the skin I am in than on who I need to be hiding all my skin from.)

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