I was born with a right club foot. It was corrected, but my right calf ended up thinner than my left, and my right foot smaller. For most of my life, I figured everyone had something “wrong” with them, and it wasn’t a big deal. Until I realized that, due to my right leg being slightly shorter, I’d developed scoliosis.
I went through a severe panic. I started to hate my body. While I used to wear skirts and feel fine, I’d need to pair them with legwarmers or feel extremely self-conscious in public. I felt ugly. I’d look at myself in the mirror and panic and cry. I’d hate the feel of hip against the bed when I slept, worried about it being higher than the other one. There was a tangle of anxiety in my stomach always present, always making me inadequate. Everyone had normal feet. I didn’t. Everyone had normal legs. I didn’t.
I was jealous of people who felt bad about their body size, because they weren’t alone. They had positive reinforcement everywhere. Almost everything out there that deals with body image (especially for girls) focuses on weight. And, usually, people who worried about their weight had “normal” feet and “normal” legs. I felt powerless. I couldn’t diet or anything. All I could do was hate my body more and more every day.
I made it through this period of self-hatred, though. My friends told me it wasn’t noticeable. I acknowledged other good things about my physical appearance: my face, my skin, my curves. And, now, I’m at the point where I’m trying to embrace my right leg. It gives me character. I’m pretty attractive, and that’s just something that makes me unique.
Body dysmorphia is “a psychological disorder in which the affected person is excessively concerned about and preoccupied by a perceived defect in his or her physical features”, but everyone seems to think it solely refers to eating disorders and worrying about weight. According to the media, not being okay with your weight is the only issue that exists, so therefore it’s pretty much the only one addressed.
But what I went through definitely was body dysmorphia. I had an issue that I over-focused on and made worse than it was. But I was told that it wasn’t body dysmorphia because I wasn’t focusing on my weight. The struggle was sometimes a lonely one.
I was able to get past my issues for the most part, though I still struggle. But there are people out there dealing with more noticeable things than mine, things that effect movement or speech. They’re beautiful, they are so beautiful, and the things about their bodies, our bodies, that are “different” make us even more beautiful. Do they know it? Does anyone tell them? They can’t find an article about this in a magazine. The love-your-body movement doesn’t deal with this.
They need to know how breathtaking they are. They also need to know that these things are often much more noticeable to the self than to others and focusing on these things can often lead to body dysmorphia and depression. More people need to be aware that body dysmorphia can be about a lot of things, not just weight.
There have to be other people going through the same self-hatred I went through a few years ago. People who think that things are much more noticeable than they are.
They need to not feel alone. They need to know that their bodies are beautiful.
Every single inch.
Is there anything about your body that makes you insecure, Lovelies?