He asked me what my biggest insecurity was. Fidgeting with the grass, pulling it up between my fingers, I struggled with the words. So I let a soft “no” leave between my lips. I wasn’t comfortable telling him. I stared at my fingers, my insecurity felt so obvious to me. I didn’t understand how he didn’t notice. Everyone did.
They had to.
They ask me why I couldn’t change what was bothering me. And I do. I constantly spend money trying to remove this and that. Picking at myself when I’ve gone too long. My fingers grab at self hate. These nails scratch the surface, digging deeper and deeper, leaving cuts and reminders. Awareness that they can see what I hate. I break down under the pressure. Tossing and turning in bed, as if it’s too hot in the room and this comforter is suffocating me, wondering how I could continue on like this.
I know that I’ll never be enough for myself if I continue on this way. I try to remember that I’m more than this. I’m all these positive things people say I am. But it won’t change what I hate. Simply dull the anxiety when they notice.
When we stared in each other’s eyes I looked away without thinking. I wouldn’t allow him to think he knew me.
When people look in my eyes suddenly I feel beads of sweat forming on my forehead, my mouth goes dry, and I can no longer maintain contact. And it’s not just a glance. They stare into my eyes as if trying to see into my soul. I feel naked. I know they can see every regret, fear, and dream I hold dear to my heart. I can’t ignore the way I shift my weight from hip to hip in hopes of discouraging the eye contact.
If I’m being honest
I’m scared that if they find the secrets I keep close to me, they’ll no longer want to talk to me. They’ll disappear because I’m not who they thought I was. So I don’t open up to people as much as I want to. I remember him holding me, tears coming down my face, as we talked about why my ex wouldn’t talk to me. Why seeing him on Facebook with his new girlfriend hurt so much even though I was falling in love with someone else. Why that boy from Florida moving on without me hurt as if he had broken up with me.
Because it meant that this personality I had taken time to develop was imperfect. That I was not someone who could be trusted or loved or that I was enough. And I’m afraid people see through me.
As we stared in each other eyes, he slowly closed his, taking time to find the right words, “You know, your eyes are beautiful. Right?”
They keep telling me it’s okay. That this isn’t the biggest thing in the world and of course I’m still beautiful.
I never said I wasn’t. The words never left my mouth where I suggested my beauty was only surface level. That you couldn’t swim in a pool of my self esteem, nearly drowning from the depth in which I loved myself. This is just different. A new experience that I don’t know how to navigate.
So I call my mother for guidance. But sometimes I can only reach my sister who I’ve seen cry in fitting rooms as she struggles to find pants that fit. As she focuses on the number they’ve given her instead of how she feels in them.
And her struggle isn’t mine. But I can understand why she couldn’t focus on how she felt as the number swirled around her head. Now her words are laced with suggestions of eating better and exercise. She’s not wrong. But I don’t need that.
The space between my thighs closed months ago. I cheered and proudly showed off the lack of gap. My ass is finally coming in and I can go to the club without feeling self conscious. They mention how I’m getting thicker and I shake my ass in celebration. But now when I try to slip into pants, I find they no longer fit.
And I’m not sure how to deal. I keep saying I’m tired of buying new pants. Am I really? Because I joke about how I love spending money. I’m headed to buy emergency jeans right now…so is that the difference? Emergency jeans means I don’t have any other pairs.
Or maybe I’m no longer sure how to envision myself. Gaining weight doesn’t hurt until you try on clothes.
Maybe I just need to stop putting on pants from last year because this is this year and this year I’ve gained weight.
I spat the words out, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. How could I use these moments to speak so lowly of myself? I paused cause I was my greatest friend. I needed to speak gently to myself.
It didn’t work.
Disgusting and worthless. The words felt like labels on my forehead. And I couldn’t help but think they were true. In the pit of my stomach I knew I deserved every terrible comment anyone made about me. I looked in the mirror, wiped the tears from my eyes, and repeated my mantra. I would always remain light and love. I asked around, wondering they saw the same in me. Their words came gentle and kind but I couldn’t see anything in the dark.
This feeling of uselessness didn’t last long. Only long enough to remind myself this confidence I built ain’t always solid. Sometimes it takes more that positive words and kind friends to love yourself.