Content warning: this article may be triggering for those struggling with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
When I look in the mirror, I am not proud. Or happy. Confidence is the last thing I feel when I see myself.
On my face, I see the acne scars from when I got acne at nine years old. I see the birthmark in my eye that I get asked about every day. I notice that I have glasses, meaning not even my eyesight can work correctly. When I see my face, I see the hurt in me. It's awful. I see my face, and I'm ready to crawl back in bed.
Then, comes my hair. The curly, frizzy, thick brown hair with blond highlights. I look back to seventh grade when I had no idea how to handle my curls, so I slicked my hair up into a tight bun. (It wasn't cute.) When I see my hair, I see my dad trying to brush it out and get me ready for school after the divorce. Now that I know how to deal with my hair, it's not too bad.
As I scan the rest of my body, I cringe at the stretch marks on my hips. “Am I really that fat? My skin is having trouble keeping everything inside because I'm THAT fat? Really?" When I see my stretch marks, I decide that eating that day is a no for me.
Next, I see my self-harm scars on my thighs. From third-seventh grade I self-harmed. The scars are faint, but still there. When I see them, I get angry. Angry that an 8-year-old girl found peace over a razor. Angry that I didn't get the help that I needed so desperately, and still haven't. It angers me. It disgusts me. It HURTS me to know that there is probably an 8-year-old girl doing the same exact thing as I am typing this.
Regardless of whatever I see on the outside, I begin to take a deeper look. Into my mind and heart.
I see the girl who just got home from her third day of junior year. When she's happy to be back. But has never felt more unloved and despised in her life. I see the tears she cried the night before because she just wants friends again. She wants so badly to not walk the halls alone.
I see the girl who works so hard to please others, but never gets what she deserves. She doesn't get recognition, praise, or acknowledged. Everyone knows what she does, just doesn't appreciate it.
When I look in the mirror, I want nothing more than to be someone completely different.
If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse or mental health issues, call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.