I woke up today and in my usual habit, immediately scrutinised myself in the mirror. Anxiety pending, I lifted my top to assess my stomach. Disgusting. I stood with my feet together and examined the space between my thighs. Unsatisfactory. I placed my hands on my hips to check the severity of my bingo wings. Unsightly. Desperately searching for consolation, I ran my fingers across my body to feel my bones, sucking in as hard as I could until I felt moderately satisfied with the person I saw in the mirror.
Resolved to not eating today, I stepped away from the mirror and prepared to put on my “I’m okay” mask.
I apply make up to cover up the pain I suffer from looking in the mirror. I dress myself in clothes I spent a fortune on to compensate for the rest of me. I take lots of pictures and I socialise online to prevent anyone discovering the truth that today, I am really not okay.
To the scales and the rest of the world I’m underweight, yet I know what I see and I know I hate it. I hate the way my belly folds and my thighs press together when I sit down. My cheeks are chubby and my calves are monstrous. To me I’m a walking atrocity, yet because no one else sees it I have to conceal my anxieties at risk of irritating people or seeming vain.
They tell you all the time to speak your mind and express yourself, but who wants to hear that a clinically underweight girl despises the very sight of herself because all she can see is fatness? Who wants to face the reality that because society has taught her that fat is bad, she thinks she is bad? The truth that I’m not okay all the time insults people, because a girl like me ought to be okay.
But the reality is that everyone suffers in one way or another and it’s okay to have a bad day.
Throughout my life I’ve seen girls drag each other down, tearing at the tiniest detail of another’s appearance to cover up their own insecurities. At the same time I’ve seen girls who are beautiful to me self-harm and internalise negativity – a category I probably fall into myself. We do these things because society (the society that creates false criteria for perfection in the first place) tells us that we ought to be okay; we are not permitted to have a bad day because there are worse things in life than being unhappy with your body.
But this is false.
For the girl who has to fight to leave the house in the morning, for she who avoids her reflection in fear, for the woman who pays for body modification in seeking ‘perfection’, the mental pain caused by being unhappy with your body is as real a problem as any.
So for all of us who face these realities – it’s okay to have a bad day! Embrace your bad days and respect yourself for having the courage to face them. Challenge the bad thoughts and remember that you are absolutely not alone. If your anxiety is too much, if you couldn’t get out of bed or if your eating was bad today then forgive yourself and allow yourself to move on. It’s okay to have a bad day.
Every one of us (male and female alike) who face mental struggle are heroically beautiful and we deserve love, no matter what our minds tell us. We are true warriors.