You step out of the shower. Take a deep breath as the steam slowly creeps up to the ceiling. Inwardly tell yourself to have grace. To speak words of love. Of affirmation.
Anything positive will suffice really.
You turn to the mirror.
You want so badly to love me.
But that brick wall of insecurity is hard to crack, isn’t it? Hours of well-rehearsed put-downs, lavishly cementing concrete blocks of not-good-enoughness stand little chance of tumbling against empty pebbles of appreciation.
Your eyes narrow.
Your laser focus rakes over the dimples of cellulite, a full pregnant belly, breasts that hover decidedly further south than a few years ago. You sigh over the muscles that used to outline strong shoulders, the contours that highlighted definition in long lost abdominals. Every glance is a reminder of what you are not. Every thought a condemnation of what used to be.
And yet, even then, it wasn’t enough. Do you remember?
I see you battle with yourself to come out ahead this time. I feel the tear trickle gently down your cheek as you envelop yourself in a great green towel. It’s rough on the skin, but you scrub away, as if you can slough away the imperfections.
And yet, this whole time, I have been at work.
Pumping oxygen rich blood through your body, giving life to a form you find inadequate. Regulating precious breath in and out of your lungs so you can speak words of biting criticism. Ensuring your muscles contract with ease as you tug your skin this way and that. What if this were a little smoother? Or this a little higher? Neural synapses firing with each creative jab.