Body Image Series, Part 4: My reflection & photographs

L1080183[Have you read the Introduction yet? Start here.]

April 2012 – This has been a really weird one since I left my husband. For the first few weeks, I actually couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror naked. Sorry if that’s TMI. It’s true though. Even though I wasn’t the one who had committed adultery, when I looked at myself, I felt a sharp, cutting shame that made me want to turn away, to cover up. I hadn’t anticipated that feeling and was very startled by it. To this day, I’m not really sure what to make of it. Anyhow, I followed the advice of my therapist and took a jacuzzi bath with epson salts in an effort to have a “healing, rebirth” experience (as hippie-esque as that sounded, haha ), and things have been getting better since then. I admit that, as always, it’s hard for me to see the positive when I look in the mirror, but I figure that’s pretty typical for a woman, right? At least the feeling of shame has started to dissipate.

Looking in the mirror bothers me, but that feeling doesn’t hold a candle to the utter self-loathing I feel when I look at a still image. I don’t know what it is, but every time I see a current photo of myself, my eyes well up with tears. I don’t feel like that all the time when I’m walking around experiencing my life. But somehow, when someone manages to capture and freeze me in a moment of time, I feel self-conscious and really disgusting. And I tend to wonder, “How did I not realized that I looked like that at that moment?” It’s so self-destructive I know. In all honesty, I’ve actually started avoiding the camera rather than going through the psychological trauma of having to look at myself later. And the weird thing is, in that smart brain of mine, I understand that I’m not incredibly repulsive, but I can’t seem to help having a near panic attack when I see current pictures. Another weird thing? Often, when I see old pictures, I think, “Wow, I looked really good back then. Why didn’t I realize that I looked good back then? I wish I had enjoyed it then!” It has always been this way, for as long as I can remember. So weird.

MelodyPhotoMorph

Show me a picture of myself today, and I will always be able to find a flaw. Show me a picture ofmyself even a couple months ago, and typically I’ll long to rewind time and be back in that body. What’s with that? It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I almost feel as though I can’t really see myself. Does anyone else feel this way?

Ok, speak to me, people. I want to hear from anyone and everyone. Especially those involved with porn and/or adultery. What do you see when you look in the mirror/at photos of yourself? Are you seeing reality or a warped image? Be honest with yourself.

[P.S. I am NOT fishing for compliments, so please don’t go browsing around my site and judging my pics, k? I really don’t want to go there. I want to hear from YOU about YOU.]

Other posts in the Body Image Series:

Intro: What am I supposed to look like?

Part 1 – Hair & makeup

Part 2 – Food

Part 3 – Media

Part 5 – Physical trauma & bouncing back

Part 6 – What is the healthy way? 

Conclusion: So … What am I supposed to look like?

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3 thoughts on “Body Image Series, Part 4: My reflection & photographs

  1. Dear Melody,
    After reading a few of your body image blogs and mulling thoughts around in my mind, I think I have this to say: In the world of psychology,validation is a well documented tool for building people up. It is incredibly powerful, and so is its antithesis, invalidation. You are absolutely right. We live in a world completely run by an industry that only profits if we feel bad about ourselves, and so everywhere we look we are invalidated which is supremely destructive to every woman every where. Even for the lucky few in healthy marriages. The difference is, for the lucky few with a supportive and validating spouse, that may be the “only” body image leg they are standing on, and with the uber destructive forces around them it can still be a really shaky leg. Any woman who has that one leg taken away would fall to the ground in an incapacitating blow, and I believe that is exactly where the industry (and the adversary) wants us. And Both are also poised to do their best to take out that one last leg through the degrading and destructive world of pornography. As you have probably learned by now with all of your anti-porn affiliations, turning the human body and intimate realtionships into an unachievable fantasy is the parlor trick that brings in the billions of dollars. It works on the men to distort reality and true beauty, and in its sick twisted backlash, it also works on the women victims who weren’t even a part of the filth in the first place. Overcoming this sick distortion in our own minds is difficult at best, but when it has been served to someone by the one person who they were supposed to be able to trust, and supposed to be able to receive that unconditional validation from, it is the most destructive and the most difficult to come back from.
    I believe one of the hardest, most important things we can learn and build as women is our OWN two strong legs to stand on. Easier said than done, but I believe it can be done with the same “baby steps” you talked about in your baby steps blog. And frankly it Must be done, we must find a way to empower women everywhere, if not, the consequences are bleak and right on our heels.
    I know that as women we are always surprised (though by now we probably shouldn’t be, because the system is set up to attack all of us) by the women we find out are struggling with self-loathing. It has been a constant for me most of my life, and of course as someone I look up to, I was suprised and so sad to hear that it is a struggle for you as well. Given what you’ve been through, shouldn’t be suprising to me, yourself, or anyone else. Just so you know, in your defense, (because it’s the unspoken compliments that people need to hear the most) you’ve always been one of those people who, in my mind, I’ve always thought “now THAT’S real beauty, right there. What a blessing.” And of course because I’m a woman it goes on to “how does she do it?” and “how can I look/be like that?” and I go where I shouldn’t because I’m insecure like that. But the only reason I say that is because when all is said and done I think we will be amazed at all the people who were looking up to us in beauty and in strength. I think you in particular will be super amazed and blushingly flattered, and will probably wish you had known it all along. 🙂
    And I will continue to work on learning to love myself because I have two beautiful little girls watching me who need two strong beautiful legs to stand on, so when the world comes knocking, they can tell the world to shut up, because they have mountains to climb. 😉

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    1. BECKY! All I can say is … thank the Lord for mamas like YOU! Your girls are blessed to have such an amazing powerhouse and beautiful example leading the way. I hope they follow in your footsteps. 🙂 I love your comments about standing on two strong legs and being empowered to the point that we don’t have to depend on ANYONE else’s approval for our self worth. True, true, so true. Yet–as we both know–so hard to swallow sometimes. It’s a tough world we live in. I’m so glad you’ve read my posts and found value in them. And you’re right. I am blushing. And on the verge of tears. Thank you for your kind words. I really think the world of you and miss you tons!

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