I used to hate myself. Used to hate so much about my appearance. My hair when it wasn’t “done”, meaning perfectly straight, which it is naturally incapable of ever being. My body because it wasn’t slim enough; too much muscle and too much fat in comparison to the svelte bodies I began to crave mine to be. I absorbed all the images this society and its media dished out to me about what was beautiful, and by omission, what was not beautiful. The regarded beauty was all white and almost none of it reflected the characteristics inherent to my ethnicity, whose beauty was dismissed to the point of disappearance.
Hate is a strong word and when I use it in reference to someone else’s feelings about themselves, they always resist. “I don’t hate myself.” Oh, okay. It is a hard pill to swallow.
What I’m talking about is a deep, urgent, secret longing to be “other” than what you already are. A strong desire to give up that which you have and are for that which you don’t have and aren’t, but want and want to be. On a spectrum gauging love and hate, these remorseful feelings of self-rejection sit opposite of love and squarely in conjunction with hate. If the word stings a bit or feels like a knife to the heart, good; one cannot love oneself and reject oneself at the same time. Some truths hurt so much, we choose to ignore them, to not face them; yet, what we resist persists.
To remedy the problem I had with my body, I became obsessed with managing what I put in my body. The irony is that I learned how to have an eating disorder from a television special warning about the dangers of having an eating disorder. Throw up your food or refrain from eating altogether. I thought it was brilliant, really. I thought I was in control. I was wrong.