Trigger Warning: disordered thoughts, heavily retouched photo
For those of you who follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook have probably noticed that I’ve been participating in Kenzie Brenna’s #SelfLoveBootcamp for the month of July. There’s a different theme every day, and I’ve honestly found it really helpful so far. I have definitely noticed a shift in the amount of compassion and love I have towards myself by doing the different challenges. Some of the days like #CelluliteSaturday were challenging, and definitely pictures I’m not used to posting, but I was proud of myself for doing them.
Yesterday was the tenth day and instead of empowerment after my post, I was filled with sadness. The theme was media literacy, and basically, the concept was to analyze the media, and in particular how so many images are retouched and do not have a disclaimer stating that. So the challenge was posting two photos side by side – one that’s edited, and then the original, while also having a disclaimer on the photos.
I didn’t think it would bring up uncomfortable feelings. I thought it was an important topic to be discussed and I wanted to be a part of it. Initially, I edited a photo of just my face but decided I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and use a full-length photo. Here are screenshots of my post:
I was afraid that I “didn’t do it right.” So I kept looking at other people’s all day long before finally posting mine to my Instagram account. As soon as I posted it I noticed a spike in my anxiety. The disordered thoughts began rolling in –
People will think the edited version is more attractive.
How dare you post this, what if you trigger someone with that fake photo.
You didn’t accentuate features like other people did. All you did was make yourself skinny. You did it wrong.
You claim you’re pleased with your body, but we both know part of you wants to look like that edited photo.
I was scared. I didn’t want to listen to the voice. I knew it was trying to tear me down. It wanted me to sink back into its trap and lose my newfound confidence. It wanted me to go back to associating worth with a size.
I reminded myself that being thinner doesn’t mean better. I am who I am, regardless of size. I told myself that the real me is beautiful because of the rawness.
I do my best to be confident and accepting of myself, and for the most part, I have been lately. However, I’m pushing myself to share the more vulnerable parts that I fear being seen by others.
Posting that edited photo directly next to the real me felt vulnerable, and clearly more so than I was prepared for. I could’ve chosen not to participate, or I could’ve deleted it. Instead, I’m choosing to make myself sit with this discomfort because being triggered and fighting through it is a part of recovery.