I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about why it is that I'm just so hard on myself.
A lot of people are hard on themselves, I know that. I don't think I'm especially abnormal in that way. I don't consider myself some fragile birdie, a delicate flower, oh so unique in my constant self-loathing. But see, right there---I'm already beating myself up, talking myself down, trying to explain to you how I'm not trying to give myself too much importance, no, I don't think that highly of my own problems, I'm not special.
There are people with way worse issues than me, obviously. OBVIOUSLY. By all definitions I have led an incredibly charmed life in every way. I'm lucky, so lucky, and always have been. I have family and friends, a job and a roof and a cat and a car, everything I need to have a fulfilling life. I have not been touched by death, or crisis, or debilitating disease. My life has been blessed. I should be happy.
But I have a hard time appreciating all of it, and aware of that fact, I am not very nice to myself. I can't see the truth of what I have, and honestly, I feel like I have chosen to be unhappy. It's like I kind of enjoy it.
So, I eat. I am unhappy, and I make myself even unhappier with food.
I tear myself into itty bitty pieces, shred myself down, categorize my flaws, berate myself for them, stand in front of the mirror and judge, page through the annals of my memory and list my regrets, fixate on one wrong decision, go over the memories of my life and think of how they could have been different, remember sentences and comments I've made and analyze them from every angle, wish I could take back everything I've ever done or said, think and think and twist and turn in the wind.
I think very little of myself.
And I'm not very nice.
And when I feel just bad enough, I eat. Sure, I go through the motions of pretending I'm not going to, arguing with myself, resisting for a bit. But I know I'm going to eat eventually. Eat to excess. And then I immediately feel bad for eating, feel bad for giving in because normal people don't do this, do they?, get stuck in a self loathing cycle of thoughts, "I hate myself, I'm so fucking dumb, what is wrong with me, why do I do this, why do I do this to myself?", and I figure, "Well, now that I've done this, now that I feel just so awful, I might as well feel as bad as possible," and I proceed to abuse my body with food, and it goes on and on. And on.
And I am stuck.
There have been times in my personal history that I've eaten until I have been physically sick. There have been times that I've denied myself food until I've been so hungry I cried. I've eaten way past the point of being full, of wanting food, of being hungry, just because I could. Because I was bored. Because I felt like I deserved punishment for some perceived slight. Because it was there. Because I was hungry, because I wasn't, because I was lonely, sad, mad.
I don't always enjoy my binges. Sometimes I do, don't get me wrong. There is a dirty wrong joy in going through the McDonald's drive-through at 11:00PM, buying enough food for two and an extra soda so the familiar looking teenage girl doesn't think all this crap is for you, sometimes dropping the word "boyfriend" to pretend there's someone waiting at home for you to eat the majority of your purchases, and going home and pigging out. Their apple pies are delicious. Sometimes it's fun.
And sometimes it just sucks.
Seriously, I'm kind of a masochist.
And we come back to the "why". Why am I like this? Why have I always been such an anxious wreck of insecurities?
But then again, maybe there isn't a why. Or if there is, maybe it doesn't really matter, and that's not the question I should be asking. Because the why doesn't matter nearly as much as the what, and by that I mean, what am I doing about it?
I've been doing a lot better lately, at least with not using food as a weapon against myself. Even when I slipped up recently, it was not nearly as bad as it's been in the past, I didn't let myself get sucked too far into the spiral. But I still get stuck in these thought cycles where I'm just so...mean. I would never speak to someone else the way I speak to myself, I am just a nasty little bitch. I find a thought that I repeat to myself, something cruel and vicious that I won't share because typing it out would really just be too much, but believe me, I have said some not-nice things about people in the past but I have never been as hateful as I am about myself.
I'm taking steps to combat this. Therapy, and my happy happy pills. So much yoga. Spending time on myself, writing, meditating, ruminating. When these dark thoughts come to mind, when I start to beat up on myself, I fight them with positive mantras. It's all very hippie love.
I finally figured it out, after years of putting on my happiest face for the world and secretly crawling into bed at night so exhausted from the front I put on (the bubbly cheeriness is an innate part of my personality but is also a well-practiced act), that I needed to understand out how to be happy on my own. That is the only thing that is truly fulfilling and sustainable. There's no way I can be happy if I'm constantly judging and criticizing myself (along with everyone else, but that's another post), if I'm constantly waging an inner battle against my demons, against myself. If inner peace is what I seek, I have to work for it, I have to find it on my own. I can't expect it to fall from the sky and I can't wait for it any longer.
I don't want to hurt myself anymore. I don't want to be a masochist, constantly at war with myself. I want to be free and happy and at peace, and I know I'm taking the right steps to get there.
And if I can't entirely suppress my self-harm tendencies, I can just start getting tattoos.