You : your worst critic.

If dealing with the symptoms of Chronic Illness wasn’t enough, we also have to deal with the physical changes in our bodies, and having to face them mentally.
With detiorated health and immunity, comes physical changes that we have no control over. For example, I have lost weight at a ridiculously fast rate so I’m currently all skin and bones, my hair is falling out in clumps, my skin has turned to sandpaper and all of the colour has drawn from my face and turned me into a ghost. I look in the mirror and see someone who is sick, but I honestly cannot see the change in my weight. Others, can and they aren’t afraid to point out that I have a ‘problem’. They aren’t afraid to say,
‘wow you look shocking today’
‘Have you seen your um… face?’
‘What is happening with your hair?!’
‘You’ve lost SO MUCH WEIGHT’

I know that people aren’t doing this intentionally. They are stating facts, and probably don’t really know what else to say. So, um, maybe just don’t say anything at all?
Because yes, it bothers me, and I have no control over it.

If you read my post from earlier on in the week – Parents in the Shadow of Illness – you would have read that I was sent to an Adolescent Clinic in my earlier years. Sufferers of Anorexia, Bulimia and Body Dysmorphia were sent to this clinic too, so I was exposed (at a very young age) to this disease upclose and personal.
I didn’t know exactly how each of these teenagers felt, but what I understood from my time there was that they looked in the mirror and saw a completely different image to what was actually reflecting them.
I saw them hide behind their oversized jumpers and baggy tracksuit pants, and then further behind a trench-coat, because they weren’t happy with themselves.

I, myself, had been diagnosed with ‘Borderline Anorexia’. I remember asking myself, what the hell is the difference between borderline and straight out anorexic? We’re all underweight.
Why further break us down into smaller stereotyped categories?
Someone then told me that my illness was causing me to lose weight, and these teenagers were ‘doing it to themselves’.
No. It is not something that you ‘do to yourself’.
It’s a mental illness, or some people like me had no control over it as it was an alternate issue causing the weight-loss. It didn’t matter because it led to the same thing in the end; being underweight, unhealthy and judged.

When it comes to Body Image in general, why is it that we always believe our worst reviews? We can never accept a compliment, and when someone has the nerve to criticise our appearance, we let that cloud our mind and eat away at our thoughts.
There is always something, with EVERYONE, regardless of gender or social status.

Why do we become obsessed with wanting to be like someone else? As skinny as the celebrities, as tall as the models on runways, as attractive as that guy/girl you just saw on the train? (and here’s another thing, don’t gender discriminate. Guys suffer too). You’re looking at one girl, wishing you had her waist. She’s looking at another girl, wishing she had her breasts. That girl is looking at a guy, wishing she had his hair. And that guy is looking at another guy, wishing he had his body. It’s an endless cycle.

Isn’t there something beautiful in being DIFFERENT?
Imagine a world where we all looked exactly the same – that there was a median for men and women. Yes, there would be nothing to compare ourselves to, and no individuality! We would all blend in and there is no fun in that, is there?

There’s always something to complain about.
We wish our teeth were brighter.
We wish our thighs were skinnier.
We wish we had less spots.
We wish we were taller, shorter.
We wish we were curvier.
We want smaller breasts.
We want larger breasts.
We want less hair, more hair.
We want to be darker.
We want ‘natural’ skin, yet we use more makeup.
We want to look ‘beautiful’. What is beautiful, really?

I think that the true definition of ‘beautiful’ is being able to completely accept yourself with all of your flaws and imperfections.
To be able to look in the mirror, and PAST all of the negativity, and be proud of who we are, where we come from.
Sure, it’s great if you want to work on yourself and create a better you, but don’t interpret that as losing yourself in creating someone else.

As I said above, this illness has made my own personal view of my body and beauty, pretty harsh. Sure, I have the occasional day once every few months where I have a family event, slap on some make up and try to look ‘pretty’, but that’s rare and it doesn’t mean that I feel good on the inside.
I still cry every day because I don’t look the same as I used to. I cry because I feel unattractive. I cry because I can’t fit into my favourite clothes anymore. I cry because my body is working against me.

I am like you, my worst critic.

So here I am, flaws and all, sharing with you that it is PERFECTLY OKAY to not be someone else’s definition of perfect.
That we are beautiful with our illness, and without.
Bad Day vs. Not so Bad Day
We need to stop hating ourselves, and start loving ourselves.
You, are not alone X

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39 comments

  1. This post is so inspirational! It’s so funny how we accept critical thoughts as truth, but dismiss all the good ones. My illness tells me everyday how I look horrible and how ugly i look but it’s time we accepted how beautiful we all:) you still look absolutely amazing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great topic! It’s difficult to feel attractive or even comfortable in your own skin while the body falls apart. I feel like a swamp beast most of the time, but I do my best to see myself differently. Sick or not, we’re all uniquely beautiful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beauty is subjective. I am a photographer. I have photographed numerous people over the years. It’s been my experience that almost no one wants their picture taken, and most everyone is displeased with their captured image. When I look at your images all I see is a beautiful young lady. Your eyes are amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I gotta agree with dimdaze. I’ve been doing the art thing for a long time and beauty iss subjective. I look at these photos and ya on top in comparison a person could say there is disparity.

    Really tho the foundation of beauty is strong and resonates throughout. Your face has a very commanding presence, strong shape, beautiful wide eyes framed perfectly by your choice of eyewear. And lastly a criminal set of lips that shield an illuminating smile.

    I know it can be hard to see these landmarks of beauty in a desert of despair. There have been occasions in my life that I’ve felt like only a shadow of the man I desperately wanted to be.

    Some people do still see the beauty. Do yourself a kindness and let those people marvel in your strength. It will feed your tired body and lift up your spirit 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Your Welcome 🙂 I hope my words have left a favorable mark, not internet creepy sorta mark lol 😉

        All I ask in reply if you’re feeling up to the task is… Pay it forward.

        Like

      2. It was really good. The sun was out here and the snowbanks are melting. I went shopping for a new day pack and then treated myself to dinner. Finished the day with a little photography and a bottle of de-alcholized wine (I quit drinking 2 Yrs ago, too hard on my GI) and I have this ritual regarding smoking. I quit that too but I still by a cigar every year and I just look at it… Lol. I never smoke it. Just sit with it. 😛 a reminder of all the tough choices I’ve had to make and my commitment to a healthier lifestyle 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. omg lol sooooooo much snow here! This year we had record snowfall. I can send you pictures. Legit 5 foot snowbanks on each side of the roads. Can’t even see the street. We had 200 Cm in 4 weeks! There are still small mountains out there melting 😛 I think grass is starting to peek through in some places now… 10 Degrees Celsius today, Spring is coming!

        Like

  5. I recently read a quote from a famous fashion model who said, paraphrased: You need to come to terms with whatever you see as your greatest flaw, because it is what will define you, make you beautiful, and in the end will be your largest asset as a model.

    Different is beautiful. I love, admire and appreciate people FOR their flaws, not despite them.

    Learning to celebrate others this way has been easy for me; learning to celebrate myself the same way has been the hardest struggle of my life. But it’s a fight I refuse to lose.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most everyone struggles with body image to some degree. I told my daughter EVERY day that she was beautiful and she never saw it. The illness effects so much more than just the physicals, and it is so hard to see past the pain and the effects of the illness. You are such a beautiful person inside and out. If it means anything, your writing is reaching so many people in need and making a positive impact. So, look your illness in the face and shout out loud,” YOU DO NOT HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE!! SO THERE!!” {Cyber HUGS}<3

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I struggle with so many body image issues and its lovely to hear someone articulate positivity so well. This post helped me. Keep blogging, keep thinking through the stuff, keep sharing it with us, please. I’m sorry that I can’t offer any comfort other than this: you’re helping. You’re doing good. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s all of the comfort I need, honestly. I didn’t write it for people to tell me I was beautiful, or critique me. I just wanted to reach out to people, and you have made me realise that I have. Thank you for reading Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I spent a whole summer throwing up every morning because of the strength of my panic attacks, and every time I looked at myself in the mirror I cried. And also, people (friends and family) have told me all my life “Gosh how thin you are! Gosh I can see your bones! Gosh, but do you eat at all?”. Maybe they didn’t do it intentionally, but for sure they weren’t paying me a compliment, and after realizing that they were hurting me they went on. Then I gained 10 kg in 4 months and they still had something to say!!!
    I wish I had been there for myself in those times, to tell myself how beautiful I am.
    You are beautiful!
    Hugs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d really love to see a post about that day. I know it would help me but it would help others. I wish I was there for myself in times like that too. Thank you, thank you. It really does mean the world to me xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this post, and you have beautiful teeth! I’m jealous lol, mine are so weird, but idc, we all have things we don’t like about ourselves, and things we do like 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Cassandra. Yes. I’m a dog. Actually that is our 6 year old Chihuahua / Maltese mix pup, Spinks. She is much prettier than me so she stands in for me sometimes. (I’m an old guy) I too deal with depression, chronic pain and other stuff so I know where your ideas come from. I also know from your picture and your blog that you are a sincere beautiful young lady. If you don’t mind I am going to follow you, at least for a while so that I might visit and exchange ideas. I might (ha!) complain a little too much but you can always close the window of it gets to be too much. Nice to meet you. Leo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Haha hi Leo. I have a dog too – her name is Bella. She is older as well.
    Tell your owner that I appreciate her reading my blog and providing feedback, and I’m happy we’re apart of the same little community xx

    Like

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