Suad Abdoun //
A few months ago I wrote an article about the racist history of fatphobia, in which I briefly discussed my eating disorder and struggle with body image issues. I ended the article on a positive note, claiming I would do my best to destigmatize the way I think about beauty standards. I felt really good about myself after writing that article as I had thought I had finally made strides in loving myself and being content and confident in my skin.
But I have a confession to make: lately, I have been hating my body. It started as soon as the weather got warmer and more skin had to be shown. I found myself bundling up on hot days to hide my body. I started obsessively body-checking myself every time I passed a mirror. The way my body looks has been the only thought on my mind the last few weeks. It’s almost like I can feel every single molecule that makes up my existence and it’s the most uncomfortable feeling in the world. I just want to be so light, small, and perfect that I just disappear into nothingness. It’s not just my body either﹘My face has unfortunately undergone the same scrutiny and relentless self-bullying. My eyes are too close together, my hair doesn’t look right, and my face is an odd shape. Sometimes, I wish I could just take scissors and cut all my imperfections to the right shape, the desirable shape.
The worst part about body image issues is they seep into every part of your life. I saw an unflattering picture of myself and it ruined my day. I caught sight of my reflection in a shitty campus bathroom mirror and almost cried. I was secretly proud of myself for forgetting to eat because I have been so busy. I don’t like to talk about these things – it’s embarrassing to admit I have such messiness inside of me. It almost makes me feel pathetic. But I realize I have to talk about it because I cannot spread a message of self-love and body acceptance if I do not acknowledge the truly, deeply ingrained truth of patriarchal standards. These feelings have come alongside a heaping portion of guilt. Guilt about spreading a message of self-love, all while being an absolute hypocrite by hating myself internally. Then I realized many women probably feel the same way I do because even if we tell ourselves we are free from and outside of society’s harsh boxes, it still finds a way to seep into our consciousness.
Self-esteem is a mental health issue and like other mental health issues, it cannot be fixed by simply deciding you are over it. It takes a lot of hard work and it’s not a straight path. You are not alone and it’s okay, we’re all in this together.
Lots of love,