I Don’t Hide My Insecurities, I Hide Behind Them

“I don’t know,” I say with a frown as I angle my body sideways in the mirror. “Does it really look okay?”

“It looks fine,” my best friend replies, rolling her eyes. “You look good.”

I smooth the ruched fabric over my protruding hipbones. They are the part of my appearance I will never accept, no matter how long I spend trying to convince myself that they’re normal. I spin one way, then the other, watching as my shape goes from backyard stick to lopsided pear. But nobody wants to hear my complaining, so I just sigh and move away from the mirror.

“You don’t dress like you hate your body,” a friend remarked once as we ride the el to our downtown destination. I didn’t know how to respond to that. I didn’t even know what that meant. I felt like I should be offended, but I wasn’t sure why.

I’m bothered by a lot of things about myself, not just my hips. I’m bothered by how quickly I clam up in social situations and how easily I blush when I’m embarrassed. I hate that I have to work twice as hard as the people around me to do something as simple as eating breakfast in the morning, because my brain refuses to process things the way that it should. I hate that I take everything personally and spend maddening hours feeling guilty for things that aren’t my fault.

And I’m open about all that, I really am. I write posts like these that present my inner turmoil for the world to see. I crack jokes about my social ineptitude and never fail to cry loudly when the situation demands it. And I guess when I put it like that, it sounds kind of admirable.

It’s not.

I’ve been known to drunkenly disclose my eating disorder when I’m scared someone is getting too close. I tend to use my awkwardness and social anxiety as an excuse to avoid putting myself out there. And I guess, yeah, I don’t dress like I hate my body, because I don’t want to feel like I’m lying. I emphasize the parts I hate the most for no good reason other than the fact that I want to drive people away. Truth be told, that’s the one thing I know I’m pretty damn good at.

Some people hide their insecurities, faking self-confidence until they start to really believe in themselves. Some people actually embrace the parts of themselves they don’t love, because they know it makes them beautiful and unique and human.

Not me. I hide behind them, using them as a crutch, constantly making excuses to wallow in self-pity. I dwell on my insecurities until they’re all I see, and I make myself believe that I don’t deserve good things because of them. I’d rather force people to leave right away instead of waiting until I’m attached and the loss actually hurts.

I hide because I can. Because drowning in self-pity and self-loathing is the lifestyle I’m accustomed to, and because it’s easy, and because that way I’m the only one who’s allowed to hurt me or hate me. I hide because that’s what I do.

I take one last look in the mirror on my way out the door, turning away when I feel the tears brewing in my eyes. Someday maybe I’ll be really, truly brave. Just not tonight.

 

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17 comments

  1. I think in regards to the insecurities and disorder the best thing to do is to just put yourself out there and early on in the going, whether it be with new friends, bf, etc. that such things you should disclose as others who would really want to be your friend or get to know you will be understanding of your situation and in some ways be able to help and give support.

    a slighly different note though related is that you should try to worry or focus less about the things that make you different from others i.e. your breakfast example and just be yourself- and from reading some of your past posts I think that is something to be proud of.

  2. Gwen, I can relate to this post… everything in it, the body image, hiding behind insecurities, using them as excuses for self-pity.. I know, because I was just like this. I am only just now realizing as I type this, that I’ve finally, incredibly gotten out of the self-pity habit (con-incidentally, i shed that habit at the same time I broke up with my boyfriend).. But I’ve been there…
    This post explains the inner turmoil so well.. And yes, it IS admirable that you can write about yourself this way… very well-written!

    1. It’s kind of hard not to wallow in self-pity when everything seems to be so unfair…but honestly, I have so many good things in my life that I can’t just sit around and whine about what’s wrong. I’m glad you could relate to it – and hopefully I can learn a lesson or two from you on how to get out of this mindset!

  3. I hope it makes you feel less insecure to know that I was pleased to see a new blog post from you. I enjoy your writing even if you think it is a tool to push people away.

  4. I really enjoyed this post.
    Here’s the thing, though – through your insecurities you’ve developed a confidence some people will never understand. Your crutches, your safety nets, by putting it out there, you are owning your disorders. You are an amazing woman, and the fact that you are self aware is honestly I think one of the best qualities you can have. Way to grow!

  5. This is lovely in it’s vulnerability. I was at first a little sad for you, but then I remembered being 21. It is a complicated time under the best of circumstances and it takes work, so much more than you think it should at that age, to sort things out.

    It’s wonderful that you are able to look at yourself, really see what’s going on and you pay attention. That’s a gift and you’re a great writer. Well done.

    Oh, and I love your name. When wrote my very first book, had to pick my first heroine’s name, I chose Gwendolyn. Great complex and utterly beautiful name.

  6. I enjoyed this post. So often our own self image prevents us from truly experiencing all of life’s wonders. You already have a leg up in that you are aware of using these insecurities to push people away.

  7. I hope voicing your thoughts helps you to heal a little bit. And know you are so unique and beautiful with that voice, that there is only one single beautiful you and it’s okay to be heard. ❤

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