Most people who are fat/overweight/obese (and even some people who aren't, like those with body dysmorphic disorders) hate looking at his or herself in a mirror.  They reflect our flaws, they reflect what separates us from how we want to see ourselves.

I have a fun and unique issue with mirrors.  Growing up, my mom would have me lie with my head in her lap, and a bright light shining on my face.  She would proceed to inspect my face -- popping pimples and pushing blackheads (of which I have many).  She would show me the especially large ones and say "good job."  Each session would end up with me scrubbing my face with a hot face cloth.

Though my mom has passed, I have kept up with her perverse sense of grooming, of inspecting (or as my friend in the UK calls it, scrutinizing) my face for flaws.  And it's moved to other places on my body.  I find the errant hairs on my neck.  The ingrown hair in my armpit.  The double-follicle on my leg.  And the perverse thing is that if I perceive a flaw, a blemish, I will dig at it until I bleed.  Gross, right?

Over the past few years one of the areas that has received much of my attention is my abdomen.  I hate it.  I look at it in the mirror and i hate it.  It feels so apart from me, and what I want to look like.  I push and pull the fat in different directions and wonder where I end and it begins.  I try to find where the parasite attaches.  I can't go at my abdomen with a pair of tweezers or a pin and remove the whole thing, but I do find ways to injure it as it has injured me.

It's an anxiety disorder that perpetuates itself.  When I'm stressed out, I tend to break out and find more flaws with my skin, so i feel the need to pick more, and it brings me relief, but then I get scabs and scars that I scrutinize and map with my fingers.  I've had to cover my mirrors.  I've had to sleep with gloves on (or else wake up to a bloody pillow case).

Wow, okay. tangent.  What i really wanted to write here was that when I was scrutinizing my abdomen, I thought about portrayals of fertility goddesses all through ancient cultures.  They all had abdomens/bellies/pooches.  Being fat in some cultures is the epitome of beauty.  So I kinda threw myself away from the bathroom, away from the mirror just hating the society that has shaped my hatred of my own body, of that which makes me feminine.

So i'm just going to promise myself now that I'll try and love my flaws a bit more. Those flaws were made by a person who hurt greatly and needs my love and compassion right now.


thank you thank you thank you for showing me I'm not the only one with a mom like that. And in turn, you and I have the same anxiety, from the scrutinizing all body parts and squeezing anything and everything to the stomach/parasite issues. Thanks for writing about it.. It's nice to know I'm not alone!


Jania -- While I'm glad I could write this to comfort you, I'm absolutely horrified that I'm not the only one with a neurotic mother. My psychologist likened it to Munchausen by Proxy. Our moms caused/exascerbated the injury to show care/that they could heal our skin. It's sick, isn't it?


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