Body Dysmorphia and Selfies
This weekend, my body dysmorphia and disordered eating thoughts intensified after a selfie-spiral at a friend’s wedding. Read on to learn more about how I cultivated self-compassion and quietly rebelled against my old patterns.
Brené Brown, The Buddha, and Daniel Radcliffe walked into a bar.
(I don’t know where this is going…but it may be the best start of a non-joke joke I’ve ever told. Ha!).
Three profound people asked to meet and share their thoughts on self-compassion. After plopping on barstools and taking long sips from their golden beverages, Brené started the conversation, as she typically does. “Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect, and experience empathy.”
The Buddah and Daniel nodded in agreement. A few more sips. Three frothy upper lips. And then The Buddah gave it a go. “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Brené put her hand on her heart and closed her eyes. The bartender gazed pensively into the distance.
Off to the side, Daniel downed the rest of his beer and added his final thoughts, “I used to be self-conscious about my height, but then I thought F*** that, I’m Harry Potter.” Their faces said it all: He nailed it! The key to self-compassion! Brené did a cartwheel and The Buddah started to mindfully slow cap. Finally, after a three-way high five, they all agreed to get matching tattoos that said “F*** that, I’m Harry Potter.”
And you know what? I want that tattoo too! I was reading through quotes about self-compassion this morning to soothe my heart and inspire this post, and it was this quote from Daniel Radcliffe that resonated with me most! Today, it wasn’t Brené Brown or The Buddah that hit home. It was Harry F-ing Potter.
But isn’t Daniel right? His sentiment really makes sense. “I used to be self-conscious about (fill in the blank), but then I thought F*** that, I am (fill in the blank with your name). I am awesome. I am enough.” Try to apply it to your life. I’ll go first. “I used to be self-conscious about my expanding and ever-changing body, but then I thought F*** that, I’m Kristen Mascareñas Wendling! I am awesome. I am enough. ” Daniel Radcliffe’s quote was exactly what I needed to read this morning. It made me smile and softened my heart to what happened yesterday: my selfie-spiral. Let me tell you what happened.
Yesterday, Cory and I went to a friend’s beautiful mountain wedding. At the wedding, I made Cory pose for selfie after selfie with me. Yep. I was that person. Narcissism? Nope. Just insecurity at its finest.
After every selfie, I’d quickly go to the camera roll to scrutinize the image. I didn’t look at the picture as a whole, taking in the gorgeous mountain setting or my loving husband. Instead, I narrowed in on all my least favorite areas. My face, getting rounder as each month of no dieting passes. My arms, looking softer and less toned now that I’ve significantly decreased my exercise. My waist, widening and evolving out of its previous hourglass shape. My hair, never falling just right or sweeping across my forehead like I want it to. Discontent, I’d ask to take another, this time with the angle a bit different or my hair pulled to the other side of my neck or my hand in my pocket this time.
“1…2…3…cheese.” Another picture. Another round of unkind scrutiny. And the insecure selfie cycle continued. What feels crazy is that if I would’ve just gotten one “good” picture, I would have felt happier the rest of the night. What’s that about? It’s almost like I needed visual validation that I was okay on the outside in order to feel okay on the inside.
A couple years ago, these negative reactions about my body would have resulted in me resolving to be “better” the next day. Starting Monday, I would get back on track, work out harder, eat leaner. I would let these “bad” pictures be motivation to work towards a new me.
But this morning, I woke up and deleted almost every picture I took yesterday. I didn’t want the reminder of those negative feelings. The feelings that fueled my eating disorder gremlins. That fueled thoughts like, “Maybe I should go to the gym first thing in the morning instead of writing this blog post. Yep, I need more cardio.” Or thoughts like, “I probably shouldn’t have toast at breakfast anymore. Definitely fewer carbs.”
Nope. Not this morning. Despite society’s wicked whispers, I choose to resist these urges. Today, I quietly rebel by eating two pieces of toast and reading quotes about self-compassion. I quietly rebel by being vulnerable and sharing this unpolished blog post about my selfie-spiral. Thanks, Harry (may I call you Harry?). I appreciate your rockin’ wizardry and on-point words. Like a magic spell that turned my selfie-spiral into selfie-compassion!
I used to be self-conscious about my expanding and ever-changing body, but then I thought F*** that, I’m Kristen Mascareñas Wendling! I am awesome. I am enough.
Comment below with your Daniel Radcliffe inspired "F*** that" quote! I can't wait to read what you have to say.
(And a big thank you and shout-out to @mymentalhealth.art for letting me use your amazing piece for the cover photo of this post. Check out @mymentalhealth.art's work on Instagram!)