(Bottom left: 2017 • All 3 others: 2013) No make up, no edits.
I’ve been struggling with myself for talking or posting (on social media) about being authentic but knowing in the back of my mind that I don’t always share the bad along with the good. Being authentic is real, true and without intention to deceive. So, I realize I need to work on not only sharing the parts of my life that I’m proud of and that I love, but the parts that aren’t so great and that I don’t necessarily want people to know. So here it goes!
I would have never thought I’d be sharing pictures like this. This was a time in my life where I avoided friends, events, school, family, everything because of a multitude of struggles that I know were all interconnected. Acne, depression, self doubt/no self esteem, stress, weight control, etc. It was a mess. I tried over compensating for having acne by losing weight. If I was going to have acne and it wouldn’t go away, I didn’t want to be “fat” too. I worked out, I did meal replacements, I drank lots of water, but I threw up when I overate or ate something “bad”, cried in front of the mirror more times than I could ever count, obsessed over my self image. I used harsh products on my skin in hopes that it would work, but I only made it worse. I did accutane and my acne finally went away but I still wasn’t truly happy. I felt a little better about it but I still had to put make up on before doing anything or going anywhere because I didn’t feel confident without it. It changed an outward appearance but nothing changed within. I didn’t do things right, because it wasn’t coming from a place of love for myself and my body. I hated myself, my face, my body, my everything.
There was finally a breaking point for me, I didn’t want to live like that. I had to make a radical change and practice living differently. I’d already lost so much time feeling that way every day for so long, I missed so many opportunities, I lost and put strains on many relationships. I didn’t get to be the real me, indulge in friendships, or go enjoy my life!
I finally decided I was going to work on loving me for me. I decided to be persistent in affirming my worth. I was going to take care of myself in a loving way, treat myself like I would treat my daughter, my niece, my friends and family. Take responsibility for my well being and stop using excuses for being awful to myself. To this day and for every day after this, I will still be working on it. It’s nothing to be finished with, there’s no end to finally reach. It will constantly be work, sometimes struggle and sometimes victory. Because in reality, self care is a little different than self love, though still intertwined. Caring for myself will require self love, but self love requires facing ugly truths, being honest with myself and a certain degree of self-awareness. That’s not always easy. Just like any relationship with any other human, you compromise, you forgive, you work on it.
I take into consideration the products I put in and on my body, and try to make sure I’m treating it well. It’s one small step after another small step. The main reason I make sure to say this is because, I try (emphasis on TRY) to use mostly natural products for my skin as well as buying mostly organic produce, meat, and dairy but I haven’t kicked smoking cigarettes. So you see, I don’t always conquer all things, be the best version of myself and do everything I’d love to do all at once. It takes time, patience and really hard work. My life and choices aren’t always a perfectly filtered instagram photo.
I thought I’d share this photo, which is something I’m extremely grateful for and a photo that reminds me of where I was and where I am now. But also a humbling photo for me, that I was embarrassed and I was hurting and I was unhappy and I never wanted to be seen that way. To be completely honest, I still don’t love sharing pictures of myself that aren’t what I consider a good picture. Its really easy to do your hair, make up, pose just right, edit, and pick the best filter before you post a picture.. but its just not real. My point in doing this is to be brave and truly unfiltered, for nobody’s standards but my own and to know in my heart of hearts that all my practice and effort towards loving myself and being comfortable in who I am is working, and that it’s worth it. There are people in a place (or a similar one) like I was in and I want to show them that I have been there, I encourage them to keep pushing and love them for who they are. There are people working on self love every day, and I admire them and get inspired by them too. This photo reminds me that every day, but during those times especially, you have got to truly love yourself and find your power. Treat and pamper yourself because YES, you deserve it! There is one way to combat all self loathing, and it is promise, devotion and action towards self love.
I am at a place where I can be bare faced, and I am not obsessed or worried about it. That’s a victory for me. There’s a bunch of other things I’m still working on, and at times I still nitpick about my face or my body and have to turn my thoughts around, but those baby steps get me further away from shame and hurt, and closer to peace and loving myself with no conditions.
I know that when I was going through those times, even reading someone elses story was a little escape and comfort. So with all of that said..I hope if nothing else, this post helped somebody feel encouraged, accepted, inspired, or like they could relate.
With love, Bee