When I was in Jr. High, I had naturally frizzy hair, glasses,and braces. I felt ugly and a few boys in school said I was. What started out as a normal awkward teenage insecurity manifested itself into a full blown obsession by High School. I just didn’t want to be ugly anymore.
First I changed my haircolor, it’s naturally kind of a reddish brown. I colored it dark brown (at 12) and some people said I looked better. Every time someone said something negative about my appearance, I took it as something I had to fix instead of just their opinion. I had zero self esteem! I would look at myself in the mirror and cry everyday. Half way through sixth grade I stopped wearing my glasses, not because I got contacts, but to be “prettier”. I kept changing my hairstyle and trying different products to “fix” my naturally wavy/curly frizzy hair.
In seventh grade, I got my braces off! I started wearing more and more makeup and changing my hair all the time to be “better”. I could not deal with chipped nail polish and one ruined nail would make me inconsolable. I was spending hours every morning straightening my hair and getting my outfit and makeup just right. Then, one day in gym class, a boy called me chubby!
From that day in seventh grade I started dieting. I cut out sugar, carbs, whatever it was I heard worked until finally my Junior year in High school I was eating only 200 calories a day, exercising for at least an hour and often throwing up the little food I did eat. It worked! People started telling me I was pretty all the time! I would spend the next several years trying to maintain that.
Every break-up I would change my hair color again and think that if I was thinner, I wouldn’t have gotten dumped. It’s dumb in hindsight, but that’s how my mind worked.I had a complete meltdown in a dressing room when I was 22 because the smallest size jeans was tight on me. When I say meltdown, I mean I was crying uncontrollably, shaking and sweating for about an hour! And it wasn’t just my weight either,it was my hair, my skin, my freckles which I painstakingly tried to bleach with no avail.
I ended up with severe stomach issues,and arthritis due to all I put my body through. I’ve had burns on my face from too intense skin creams and I had over plucked my eyebrows so bad that they still won’t grow back completely. I’ve damaged my hair a dozen times and tried flat out dangerous methods to lose a few pounds quickly.
I wish I could say that I have completely overcome this and have great self esteem now, but I don’t. I eat more than I used to, but not enough calories to be considered “healthy”. The hair color changing is still a thing, although not as often as I used to.I’m slowly learning to let go of impossible standards and just accept myself the way I am. I’m so much better than I was, but I still have a long way to go…