body image

body image

I’ve been really down on my appearance recently. I’ve had a few extra pimples here and there and I’ve gained 3-4 pounds (my weight fluctuates up and down in a 5 pound range, so it’s hard to track what I’ve actually gained), and I’ve been angrily obsessing over it.

In moments of extreme self consciousness, I always recall a terrible night in high school spent crying on the floor of my parents’ room about my horrible skin. That was my lowest moment.

As a perfectionist, I’m always buying and returning products, second guessing myself, putting myself down and trying to pick myself back up again. I also tend to be hardest on myself when I’m dealing with stressful situations that are largely outside of my control. And this year has been stressful! Mattress warranty issues, car maintenance bills, unexpected tax payments, loose tooth fillings, doctors’ appointments. It’s all piling up and when it does I turn to the easiest person to take it out on: myself.

I hate my hair, my teeth, my skin, my body. And I know that I’m being unreasonable and that very little has changed with my appearance in the past few months. I know it’s caused by more than just a real dislike of my physical traits. But it’s still hard. It leaves me feeling restless for change, for progress, for perfection. I keep asking myself what I can do to improve. Eat better, change skincare regimens, dye my hair. But I’m torn because part of my perfectionism insists that I perfect my character, and arrive at a place of total contentment with who I am sans all the cosmetic bells and whistles.

So I’m stuck. And I’m sure I’ll find a way out soon. But I’d like to stop second guessing myself. I’d like to face the fact that life, appearance-wise, is all downhill from here anyway. It’s ok. 

About Leah

Leah Wise is a member of FIRE in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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4 Responses to body image

  1. Sonya Mann says:

    I know that feeling very well, or at least my own version of it. You always look lovely to me, an impression that is enhanced by your sartorial poise. Sending love & support! ❤ I also appreciate that you wrote a post about this, because it can be so hard to be publically vulnerable, but it matters a lot to those of us who struggle with similar issues.

    • leahwise says:

      I think I cover up my insecurity behind the confidence I feel about my clothing choices. But it’s good to be really honest with myself and others. Thanks for your comment.

  2. This is a really good post, Leah. I’m 35, and I’ve found that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten much more comfortable in my own skin. I feel prettier than I did in my twenties, and I care much less about how other people perceive me. I think there’s a sense of freedom that maybe comes with getting older, but I’ve heard so many women say they didn’t discover it until their 30s. Let me encourage you that it’s not necessarily downhill from where you are, and maybe your best days are yet to come. 🙂

    • leahwise says:

      Thanks for this. It’s good to have some perspective. It’s just started to hit me that getting older is inevitable. At 25, I finally realize I’m not a child anymore. When I was younger, I always told myself that things like acne would get better with age and, while that’s true, it hasn’t happened as quickly as I’d hoped and it’s coupled with other skin issues that come with getting older. I just need to realize that these things don’t ultimately matter.

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