Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A mental illness involving obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance.
It's exhausting living in a society with unrealistic beauty expectations. All my life I have struggled with my appearance. I've had body dysmorphia for as long as I can remember. Always comparing myself to others; wishing I looked different. My insecurities controlled my life for years. Filling my head with nothing but negative thoughts. Admiring someone else's beauty without questioning your own is difficult, but it can be done.
In grade school, I hated everything about myself: my frizzy hair, my brown eyes, my height, my fat face, the list goes on and on. The moment my mom gave me permission to wear makeup, bought me a flat iron and green colored contacts was the start of my obsession with altering my appearance. By high school, I couldn't leave the house without a full face of makeup. It was my security blanket. I had to wear it; I felt naked without it. The anxiety I experienced to look "perfect" was unbearable. Towards the end of high school / beginning of college my makeup wearing days became less and less, until one day I came to the realization "I don't need this stuff on my face to feel beautiful."
I've overcome my fear of people seeing the real me. I embrace my natural beauty; the way God made me. I love myself and I'm comfortable in my own skin. I accept my flaws, instead of hiding them from the world. I love everything about myself that I once despised: my frizzy hair, my freckles, my thick eyebrows, my brown eyes, my big nose, my body, my height, my face. All these features make me Jessica, and why would I want to be anyone else?
Honestly, body dysmorphia never really goes away; I just know how to cope with it now. I still have days where I change my outfit 100 times because I hate the way I look. My biggest insecurity? My smile. The one thing people complement me on the most is an imperfection in my mind. I am my own worst critic. One of my fears was cutting my hair short. I've had short hair before and always hated it; I allowed my hair to define me. Well last week, I said "screw it!" and made the decision to go short-er. It is the most empowering feeling; it actually gave me more confidence. Who says long hair equals beauty? "A women who cuts her hair is about to change her life."
I've learned a lot about myself this past year and falling in love with myself was the best decision I made. There is nothing more attractive then confidence. Society’s standards of beauty will get old, but being comfortable with yourself never will. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We are all beautiful. If we strip ourselves from our makeup, hair, and material things then what's left? The real authentic you.
If you don't love yourself, you'll never see how beautiful you really are.
"Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself." - Coco Chanel