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Seen

Facts:

120 pounds

5’8”

Breast size is all of, well, a handful.

These sizes portray the body that carries me.

 

At the ripe old age of 24, I have seen all sizes on my body. 140 pounds during my teen years; a curvaceous 186 pounds by the end of my pregnancy; and for 9 months I witnessed a miraculous transformation as my breasts ballooned from a perky size A-cup to size Oh my GOD your boobs are ginormous! I have pimples, stretch marks, and moles. Dark circles taint the area underneath my slanted eyes, and a rather large nose protrudes from my face. These are all facts. Another fact: On my worst days I want some of it altered, other parts removed, and I welcome the thought of implanting foreign objects underneath my skin.

For years I clung to the saying: “If you don’t like something about yourself, fix it.” Fix what? I thought. The external things? Is that what ‘the saying’ is saying? Or am I just interpreting it all wrong? Since grade 4, I incessantly coddled the idea that if I alter the smudged curves and crevices on my body, I will miraculously look beautiful and feel worthy. I declared, “If I lose that extra ‘insert absurd number’ of pounds, get a nose job, boob implants, and work toward rock-hard abs I will undoubtedly be happy, cured, full of confidence and love for myself. Finally, for the first time, the worries will subside. The anxiety will fade. I will feel equal to those more beautiful than I.”

It is maddening. A fantasy. A trap. A prison of lies.

I’ll admit it though, on my worst days I want bigger boobs, a rounder ass, fewer pimples, straighter teeth, longer hair, tanner skin, god you name it. The recipe for my worst days calls for the vilest criticisms of myself. You’re pale, your thighs are thick, your ass is saggy, your stretch marks are disgusting, you have buck teeth, you’re too thin, you’re too fat, you need to ‘tone up,’ you look like an ogre.

My worst days leave me depressed, doubtful, sickeningly delusion.

As I write this, I am still 120 pounds, I stand five feet, eight inches tall, and my breasts remain, well, a handful at best. Pimples stand their ground on my face, dark circles accentuate my distinctly almond-shaped eyes, and my nose is still – how can I put it lightly? – large. The difference today? It isn’t one of my worst days. For some reason, I am not lusting after a more beautiful body. For some reason, I choose to see things a little differently.

Gratitude fills me on days like today when I wake up to a calm mind, not yet verbose, not yet powerful enough to play tricks. I sigh with relief. I am hopeful that the cunning words of yesterday will be the gentle thoughts of today. I am ready. I think. I muster up the courage to look in the mirror as objectively as possible and take in all that I see. I am gentle with myself, a tad critical, but there is no mention of a giant ogre today. I wince painfully. The thought of accepting my less-than-perfect-figure is excruciating. To take in exactly what I see without judgment or criticism?? Terrifying. The idea of accepting all that I am? Colossal.

I look. I scan. I let go, loosening the grip on everything I’ve ever known. I trace the contours of the body that carries me as eyes unknown to me reflect mine. Pimples surrender to a face. I connect the dots of stretch marks and watch as whole breasts form before my eyes. Flesh, exposed and seen, is taunted by a hungry mind, ready and waiting to pour shallow pools of imperfection into each virgin thought born. And for a moment I stand in naked embarrassment scanning the eroded shore of my body as if to say Here I am, now take this grit and wash it out to sea for good.

I give life to the ghost of fear inside as I feed its existence and it feeds on me. Yet, it is in knowing this diluted path that I choose Truth over lies.

It is a hell of a lot easier to cling to the illusion of myself, believing that I am not beautiful; I am not sexy; I am not lovable. These thoughts would be easy to befriend yet again today. These thoughts are comfortable. This path I know all too well.

Truth is… the problem is not how I look; it’s how I choose to see.

Readers, watch your thoughts. Come to know and befriend the lies that feed upon your insecurities. Yes, they are lies. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you. Believing that your opinions are the truth is the veil through which you perceive reality. Lock away each nagging thought as it arises – they can and will relentlessly fight you with each dawning sun, each hour, sometimes each minute. You don’t have to live with your illusions. Truth awaits you today… It is always there… waiting to be seen.

 

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8 thoughts on “Seen”

    1. I’m so glad you’re still reading!!! Always happy to share (and hopefully help) — I love you! Can’t wait to see you walk down the aisle!!! You will look beautiful; you always do.

  1. Oh Kiley this is very touching! I personally find you beautiful, and I envy that (not in a weird way).
    I also find this inspiring. I as well struggle on a daily basis with what I look like, one day it can be with how “fat” I look, the next it’s my “ugly” face. I just want to say thank you, thank you for being you. You’re inspiring!

    1. Lorin! Thank you so much for reading — and of course, for your kind words. This was such a difficult topic for me to openly talk about — but SO many women (and men) are just like us, critical and harsh on ourselves. I could tell you a million times that you’re beautiful (because you are!!)…. but if you don’t see it… if you don’t truly FEEL it, then nothing outside of your inner voice matters, right? We just have to keep channeling positivity somehow. It’s hard as f*@k, I know. Thanks for being honest and sharing your insecurities. You’re not even close to fat; not even close to ugly. You really and truly are beautiful! Your dreams of moving out west are inspiring, and I hope you have more ‘moments’ when you feel really good about yourself. Flaunt what ya got!!!

  2. This type of brutally honest sharing of your struggle and growth in understanding is what marks your courage and assures your success at conquering these, and any other, obstacles on your way to changing lives with your writing. Bravo for your strength and compassion to share this.

    1. Ahhh wonderful poet and friend of mine — Matt — hahaha…. a big thank you as always! Thanks for reading, thanks for listening, thanks for understanding, thanks for HEARING me. (I know you know what I mean with all of this). Our chats, collaborative projects, and your compassion all helped make this post possible. So thank you for being such an inspiration.

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