Siobhan.

I guess it had been a long time coming, long before the final break.

I sat before going in to see the therapist and I wondered, when did this really start?

Yes, she was absolutely horrid. She was a bully, a narcissist and in my personal opinion, a bigoted sociopath..But she was the major catalyst to what feels like a breakdown, not the cause.

If I had been more secure in myself, in my worth, in who I am…Then she would have had no power. And that is why over the last few weeks I’ve taken the time (when I’ve had the time) to look inwardly. To look at me, what exactly is my problem with just being me?

I know, we could all argue that nobody is every truly relaxed with being themselves, that it’s ‘just life’. We all have stress on the daily and that we get on with it. Thats really all there is to it. But is it?

Am I just supposed to embrace and accept feelings of self-loathing? Am I just one of the unlucky ones it strikes, and makes miserable for each and every one of their days? Surely, there can be another way, a happier way.

I cannot remember other than that I was a child, when my pschy shifted.. When the un-ease set in. I am not sure I know if it was the birth of my brother, or just the way I desperately wanted my mother to love, hell, even like me for as long as I can recall..

What I do know is that from around seven or eight, I felt inexplicably angry and/or worried inside. Confused, anxious, and I think even afraid. I wasn’t afraid of discipline, or even failure – I was afraid of myself. I was silently afraid of the way my mind would run away with itself, the way it told me to lie for attention, to make people like me, and to become smaller, more attractive – to ‘fit in’.

I was afraid of the way that, even though I didn’t understand why, I was somehow uncomfortable with being ‘Siobhan’. I craved, ultimately, to be someone else.

I wanted a new name, like Chloe or Melissa, one of the names that everyone liked. I wanted a name that whenever you heard it, you saw the face of someone who was beautiful. I wanted to be able to find my name on headbands, for people to be able to say it properly.. And mostly, for it to just not be so ugly. It made me unhappy to see it written, and hear it spoken. I hated the way it felt in my mouth. It didn’t feel like me, I did not want it.

For the longest time I silently craved being short, small. I longed to be tiny, be perfect. I dreamed of having dainty little feet and hands, and being ‘pretty’. I would have given anything to be petite with dark, auburn tinted hair and brown eyes with porcelain skin and a delicate, warm voice. I know, because I imagined it enough times, enough times to be confident of just one thing – that I, with my over-bite and big, uneven teeth, that I with my sandy hair and uninspiring eyes of dark blue ..That I was simply not enough. 

I was uncomfortable living in my body, I am uncomfortable living in my body. Even today if left unattended, my mind rushes to a place where I am not me, and she loves it there. A place where I am not irritated by existing within  my large, heavy bone structure. A place where my jaw is softer, my face is smaller, I am smaller. A place where I stop replaying the comment a class-mate once made about me having ‘dinosaur bones’, and a place where I can shrug off the pain I feel whenever  I recall the times people referred to me as ‘big built‘.

For the longest time I have felt defensive, waiting for the attack. Constantly on edge, irritable, uneasy, and at times, unkind. It has cost me friendships, it has forced me to be in relationships of a nature that I did not deserve, to accept behaviours from partners, family, that I did not deserve. So I’m finally done.

I’m staring the woman in the mirror straight down and telling her what I think – only this time I’m going to let her tell me, as she’s tried a million times, that I’m wrong..and I’m going to listen.

I’m going to accept when she tells me that the woman in the mirror is beautiful, not in comparison to the auburn dream she thinks she should be, but just in her own, soft way.

I’m going to listen to her when she tells me that she is clever – that she can articulate her words both written and spoken with such finesse, that she is talented.

I’m going to agree with her when she tells me that the woman staring back at her is funny, that she makes people laugh, that she brings them comfort and reassurance.

I’m going to nod my head and smile when she tells her she is a good person, one that people love, that people like, that people need.

It won’t happen over night, there will be days I tell the woman in the mirror to leave me alone, days that I ignore her and cover my ears..

Sometimes I will want to be the monster-in-the-mirror, and thats okay. As with anything worth doing, it will take time..But we are making friends..my reflection and I, one day at a time, one day at a time.

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