ke·loid (kē′lo̵id′) noun: an excessive growth of scar tissue on the skin
I'm invited to a wedding next month, and as usual, I have had a bit of a melt down. It happens every time I am looking forward to something fun and exciting: weddings, celebrations, gatherings, etc. It happens just about each time I have to think about how I look. And every time, I hate myself for acting so ridiculous.
The more I think about it, what angers me today is not what I grew up with. My parents may have had less tact than some parents and thought they were helping us improve ourselves. That is not how it turned out. I was always thin skinned and sensitive. Being compared to others made me seethe with rage and jealousy that my parents thought other children were better than me. Their comparisons never motivated me to eat less or study more, I just hated myself more. I was sure there was something hopelessly, incurably broken about me. My poor parents had to love me because I was their disappointing child and they were stuck with me. Their methods didn't work out too well on my brothers either, even though neither are as sensitive as I am.
I should have grown out of my sensitivities. I've lived away from them for almost two decades. Their cutting words have become less frequent, a combination of distance, less contact and their having given up on fixing my faults. And yet, the scars remain. Much like keloids that stay behind as ugly reminders of past wounds, I see the effects of their words and ways each time I prepare for something I look forward to. Each and every one of their words flood my mind as I stand naked in front of a mirror trying to prepare. I'm reminded that I won't look good in anything, that it's a waste to buy anything decent before I lose weight and 'fix' my problem spots and on and on. And every time, not matter how hard I try, I break down. I ruin things for myself and everyone around me--which makes me hate myself even more.
Today was basically the last full day I had to try to look for a dress to wear to the wedding. I wanted to find something within my 'budget'--a number so low that even I know I couldn't find anything decent with that price. I had already gotten into an argument with M over this, but today was more than I could take. I was asking a friend to come and help me find something, but I refused to go to the mall where she suggested we start our search at Nordstrom--almost always her first stop. "Nordstrom?!", I said to M, "I can't go to Nordstrom! I can't shop there." And that was the beginning of my breakdown. With each word, I was beating myself up more--I was thinking and saying everything I have ever heard and hated. The worst part is, no one needs to do anything to me any more, I've been trained well and am on autopilot. I would never treat anyone else like this; why would I be more cruel to myself than I am to strangers?
Despite the angst ridden morning and my still burning eyes, I have found some dresses--almost all of them from Nordstrom. I'll only keep one and will go to the wedding to celebrate my friends. But I need to stop this. I'm too old and too exhausted to keep beating myself up in this way. I try so hard not to repeat their ways when I deal with my brothers and husband--something that took me a while to realize and let go of. I have to have at least as much respect for myself as I want others to have for me.
This may have to be my next project.