I am my biggest critic. I know what are my strengths and my weaknesses. I look confident, assured but I suffer from the worse kind of self-esteem. I hate this body that has sustained me all my life. I hate how I look, loathe the stretch marks on my skin, abhor the acne scars and just dislike how I look. Some days, I try to fix myself with better clothes and make up. Mostly, I just embody the ugliness and brave out. My reflection on the mirror has been hurled with so many unkind words that it has created an immunity called indifference.
Talk about the struggles of clicking a good profile picture (countless attempts at various angles to hide the double chin, the flabby everything and to look decent), or the struggles of getting through a social event without feeling like the ugliest person in the whole wide world. This insecurity goes to the extent of hating any form of candid shots as I am unable to control the angle. I also absolutely do not believe it when someone says I look nice. I can’t believe that because I have a mirror and my mirror does not lie. I am after all honest with myself, I am my biggest critic.
This much of hatred towards this vessel that sustains me and my life experiences is sad. What is sadder is that I am not alone in this. I see it in my sister who avoid dresses because it accentuates her so-called big hips, I see it in my cousin whose life goal is to erase the acne scars on her face, in my friends who will easily criticise how they look. These are women who are intelligent, compassionate, kind and beautiful. These are the same women who would shrink themselves as much as they could, to fit a mould called beauty. Heck, I would like to fit that mould myself.
I would never say all the things that I tell that girl in the mirror to anyone else. I am able to see beyond a person’s physical appearance to see their spirit yet I can’t see mine. All I see is an extremely imperfect face and body that does not fit in. A face that will never be called beautiful, a body that will never be just the right shape and of course a person who will never be labelled as attractive.
That is precisely what it is, a label. Off late I have realised that by reinforcing these thoughts, I have essentially shrunk my entire existence under a label called unattractive. I have diminished my spirit as being ugly. I have failed to hold my thoughts or my humanness at an esteemed position. Many a times, I have shrugged off my own achievements because at the end of the day, I presume that looks will matter most. I have disappointed myself by applying a standard that I would never prescribe to someone else.
Most of us do it. We talk ourselves into believing that we lack beauty. A lot of times, women like me make up for it in substance because we know million other women are better looking. Hours of reflection has taught me that it is unhealthy, being part of this invisible competition to find a worthy spot in the world.
The wise me knows that I have my spot, like every other individual to fill this world with the marks that are unique to me. The world has space for every kind of looks to exist and thrive. The wise me also knows that it is going to take a conscious effort to make the girl in the mirror believe that she has a place. She just has to believe that her beauty lies in a place deeper than her skin.
p.s. You too might have a girl in the mirror, waiting to be broken free.