Taking some time to really focus on me and my wellbeing this year has been quite the interesting ride thus far. Of the things I’ve had to come to terms with are the many ways in which negative self-thought and self-talk are pervasive in the way I define who I am.
Moving forward, I’m going to be posting more pictures of myself on my social media platforms; not everyday because that seems too hard and drastic, but “more” in a way that feels right to me. Doing it because I am so incredibly comfortable behind the lens and so awkward-possum in front of it. It’s … (funny? Ironic? Insert some word here) because the consistent response to my expression of negative self image has always been how pretty I am as exemplified by the fair amount of attention I get from strangers regarding the way I look. The problem is that this encouragement still is subscribing to the notion that how I feel about myself should be linked to how other people view me, even if that view is positive (for the most part–not the post to get into the ways in which attention can be and often is harassment can be and often is violence).
For various reasons I chose to disassociate myself from my physicality the best I can, despite it being such a central part of my identity. I’ve always been so uncomfortable with being praised for things I did not work for, especially when there are so many things that I work so hard for (like how awkward is it when people compliment you on your name?!). I’ve been uncomfortable with compliments to the point that I spent a lot of years demanding that those close to me didn’t compliment my physicality at all. A second reason for the distance is that it’s hard to embrace something that you associate with heaping so much violence upon you (both directly and indirectly as a result of unjustified jealousy and anger from others). Apathy can be survival when you can’t figure out how to gain control of a situation.
I’m not sure if Instagram is the right medium for me, but it’s what I’ve got right now so we shall see. The whole idea leaves me anxious as I’ve always split what I think to both of extremes of the spectrum swinging back and forth like a pedulum: on the one hand, wanting the social praise as something to validate some portion of me as cool and desirable (as a replacement for inner self validation I don’t have?) and on the other hand, not wanting to be desired (read: violated) at all.
That being said, I now can see that a refusal to engage can be just as unhealthy as obsessing, in some ways it can be a form of obsession in itself. Shooting for some middle ground that will hopefully lead to self acceptance this time around which I guess means embracing it? Or at least being able to respond to a compliment by saying “thank you” and meaning it. Or at least not cringing in the mirror.
Interested in going on this journey with me? Follow me on Instagram: @qualityofintent ( instagram.com/qualityofintent )