As an 11 year old girl, I was terrified of looking in the mirror. I was ashamed of the reflection looking back, confused as to why I didn’t look like the models on glossy magazine covers, or social media influencers that inundated my instagram feed. My mind basked in a quagmire of insecurities, a man made prison that was impossible to escape.
The pressure of studying at a grammar school, dealing with the painful memories of past trauma, and struggling with a constant loneliness in life, lead me to develop an eating disorder that would encompass the rest of my teenage years.
7 years on, as a young woman of 18, I have reached a turning point in my recovery and the way in which I view not just my body, but the world that surrounds it.
The truth is, we only have one body, one temple to house the entirety of life’s experiences, so why destroy it in an attempt to fit societies ever-changing standards?
A huge revelation for me was learning to be thankful for all that my body does. Since I was born, it has selflessly served me, continuously pumped blood through my veins and supplied oxygen to my cells so I can breathe. My body, like yours too, has fought endless battles against any virus or sickness I may have come across so that I can live my life to the fullest every second of every day.
No matter the weather, time or place, it has been relentlessly serving me for 18 years, and instead of reciprocating those efforts with love, I had despised it. Instead of showing gratitude I had reproached it day after day for things which it was not even responsible for. Instead of recognising, and appreciating my body for the beautiful home it gave me, I had continuously denounced it as an insignificant object.
It wasn’t my body that had let me down at all really, I was the one who had failed my body.
It was this epiphany that has guided me to begin to respect my body for all that it is and all that it has done for me and I hope that it will forgive me for depriving it of love, and continue to support me for the future years to come.
Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing an imperfect figure looking back, it’s time for us to see a powerful force to be reckoned with, for we are all an individual work of art. We are all covered with unique patterns and colours, freckles that cover our faces like constellations, or scars that trace down our skin like waterfalls.
The mirror does no longer need to be our nemesis, it is simply glass, and we are so much more than just a body reflecting back.