*Trigger Warning: body image, body dysmorphic disorder*
My dad always wonders why I am so enamored with old photos. Photos from my past. Photos from other people's past. I like seeing where I came from. I like seeing how far I've come. I honor my past.
I look through old journals. I look through old pictures. I look for myself.
I feel most free when my hair is down and I shake my head "No!"
I spent this morning reading through an art journal of mine that I kept from age 18 to 20. Throughout the pages of old school selfies (taking pictures on my old camera and having to wait for them to develop), what's most upsetting is my constant talk of bodies, specifically my body. On one page, I made a list of body parts of mine that I hated. I write endlessly about "needing" to go to the gym. I call myself "fat" several times. I find various reasons to hate myself.
When I was little, I was in the kitchen crying while saying, "Nobody loves me!"
At the same time, I showcase a strength that I often forget about it. I read some of these words that came out of my 18-year-old mind, and they are weighty--so heavy that these words would anchor me in the deepest sea.
Anything can be brought to life as long as its yours.
This journal I hold in my hands; this old, sullen part of me, reminds me to love myself. It reminds me to keep my heart pumping loud. It reminds me to live unashamed of my past, present, and future.
It's crazy how being diagnosed with a learning disability makes you feel so inadequate... until one day you realize you've been perfect all along.
This journal chronicles my first use of the birth control pill. It recites Bikini Kill and That Dog lyrics on its pages. It questions authority and gender inequality. It's so very insecure.
I'm so tired of people telling me I'm "too forward." What the fuck? Is it such a crime to participate in one's life?
There's so much ugliness in these pages; beautifully articulated ugly thoughts of disordered eating and anxiety. It reminds me how real teen grrrl pain is, lest I ever forget. I don't want to forget.
I want to be loved and accepted and beautiful and creative and sexy and strong and myself.
These relics of my past are special to me. They show the process and progression of my curly-haired self. I look at old photos and journals so I never really lose myself.
All of me is preserved; every single piece.