It has taken me forever to accept that I cannot alter my face. I used to think that if I lost a little weight, I’d look more attractive. If I wore make-up more often. If I cut my hair just-so. If I… blah blah blah blah blah.
I compared myself unfavourably to every girl I saw, but especially to my sister (I still do, although I am really trying hard to stop this). My hair is light and fine, hers is a glossy auburn. I have small eyes with blonde lashes; hers are huge with soot-black lashes like butterfly wings. I have a long nose, too big for my face. My sister’s is cute as button.
I think my ed was partly a response to this perceived ugliness. I knew I couldn’t physically change my face, but my body? To an extent, that was under my control. I could mould that and shape it so that, even if I didn’t have a pretty face, I would at least have something positive about my physical appearance. I would have a perfect body, completely spare and pure and clean.
The funny thing is that when I look back at photos from when I was ill and underweight, I don’t think I look more attractive, but less. My face is gaunt and haunted, and not in a defined and angular kind of way. I look like a hospital patient, not a runway model.
I know that beauty is not skin-deep. I have never questioned this when it comes to others: I didn’t choose my friends because they had clear skin, white teeth or perfect bone structure. My friends are my friends because they are good, intelligent, funny, supportive, amazing, kind. How they look isn’t remotely important. It doesn’t even come into the equation. So why do I still struggle to believe that unless I look a certain way, I am essentially unacceptable?
Realising that this logic is skewed is the first step to self-acceptance, I think.