This is a self-indulgent post, a piece of writing I have chosen to share with you because I have had enough of hating myself, I have had enough of looking at people and wishing I had their life, their hair, their sense of style or their dog. I am tired of the shallow excuse of a world we’re forced to be a part of and I intend on making a difference, starting with my attitude towards myself as it is only by knowing yourself that you are able to overcome the opinions of others and live as your true self. Some of you may know that I suffer from a number of personal issues relating to my appearance. These issues are I'm told, purely psychological, they’re in my head. I am not bulimic, anorexic or obese. I don’t suffer from lack of sense or limb nor do I have an internal disorder such as diabetes. I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010 but as the consequences of over medicating a patient were not taken into consideration, I decided to disassociate myself with the cocktail of side effects. The entire notion of something getting worse in order for it to get better just doesn't make sense.
Back to the previous paragraph, I struggle with dermatillomania. I stand in front of a mirror, every day. I look at my face. I look at it again. I can’t see my face. I remember being able to see it. I recognise my eyes, mouth, ears and nose but it’s as though I'm not really there. I try to look at my face. I really try. I lift my hands, I feel my skin and I stop, I softly scratch over every imperfection, I squeeze, pick and pull every millimetre of dry or damaged surface. My vision becomes blurred as I attempt to salvage my skin by removing blackheads, hairs and other imperfections. I put in contact lenses and I look at myself again. My skin is red, raw, weeping, bleeding. I don’t cry. I rectify my mistakes with make up or a heavy face cream and it’s really not obvious anymore. Such behaviour is never limited to one part of the body but is often concentrated to one area which becomes the site for self-destruction. I have been doing this since I was a teenager because despite my family telling me I was beautiful, I never understood why. I don’t see what they see. The reason for this is other people. It is the effect other people had on me. Outside influences caused me to feel inferior for so long that it has almost certainly stuck. The phrase “you’ll get over it” is no longer worth listening to, no one gets over anything and there’s a booming industry out there to prove it.
Despite the above flaw in my personality and inability to deal with the past, I am otherwise a healthy, intelligent, normal human being. By using functional contextualism, a modern philosophy of science, I intend on predicting when such incidents will occur and influencing myself against such situations. Self-knowledge is the key to overcoming all that negatively exists in my head. I need to ACT: Accept my reactions and be present. Choose a valued direction. Take action.
The next paragraph is an honest account of my first day at school, of the people, some of whom I'm ‘friends’ with on Facebook. A few of them are married and some even have families of their own. I often hope they teach their children better than their parents taught them. As an adult, I feel that perhaps their behaviour was caused by their own insecurities at the time, their home environments and by what was deemed as acceptable by their own parents.
I brought a small cool box to school on my first day, a dark green one with a white lid and handle, in Doha; we would all bring them so that we’d have something to sit on in the playground. In England however, it was a different story. The cool box was smacked out of my hand onto the ground, my lunch was trampled on, my tie was pulled, my buttoned up oversized blazer had its buttons ripped off with one swipe of a hand down the front. They walked off laughing. Alone, I stood outside, staring at a banana crushed into the dirt. Alongside it was a carefully and lovingly prepared sandwich made by one of my parents. I don’t remember what was in the sandwich. The mini cheddars were ruined. I picked up the juice from the ground; we used to buy the multi vitamin tropical fruit juices from Lidl. The juice hadn't been stepped on, which I later discovered was something people at school enjoyed doing, stomping on juice cartons became quite a common sight. I wiped the mud off the top of the carton, revealing the unpierced silver foil circle, pulled the straw from its plastic cocoon and drank the juice slowly. There was a lump in throat so large I can still remember how it choked me. I didn't want to cry on the first day but I did, of course I did. I cried sat on a green and white cool box sipping juice with dirt on my hands.
My family put up with so much as I protected them from so much. My attitude towards them was often a cry for help, a way of venting the frustration I felt at school every single day. I left home young so I wouldn't burden them with my inevitable phases of self-hatred, I needed to be away from them in order to grow, in order for my mind to be left alone to process all that had happened to me. I often find myself shying away from people, I don’t enjoy social events where one might be expected to make conversation and I find it hard to communicate with others on a daily basis. I over analyse the world around me, constantly. My childhood was complicated to say the least and the repercussions of such complications affect my confidence and self-esteem as an adult. There is one person in my life outside of my family that I finally trust, whole heartedly and because of this, I have decided that now is the time to make a difference in my life, to put behind all of the comments, back handed compliments and violence I was subjected to and to embrace what I have now. It might seem juvenile but I came up with a plan today, every time I say something derogatory about myself, every time I compare myself to other people, every time I damage my skin because I'm feeling sad and it somehow helps, I will add a coin to the jar on my desk.
I am my own person. You are yours.