I’m not sure if other survivors have experienced this, but one of the hardest things for me to do is see myself. I posted a picture today showing the beard that I’ve been growing since we’ve been in quarantine. I had to take several pictures, deleting them over and over again because the just didn’t seem right. Finally, I found the one picture that was good enough and posted it. I tried to get my puppy into one, but he wasn’t having it today.
I have such difficulty looking at myself in the mirror. When I brush my teeth, I’m facing a different direction. When I shave, I look only at my chin and cheeks, which maybe why I get nicks so often. When I go to the gym, I look at everything but myself in the mirror, only checking to make sure that my form is correct. I’ll do anything to avoid mirrors.
Most of the time, I don’t even think about looking at myself because I’ve just developed the habit of not looking. For a long while, I couldn’t look at myself because of the shame I felt at what had happened to me. I truly believed that at 13 years old, it was my fault that I had been molested. I was also so disgusted with myself since I could never live up to the expectations that I had and what I had perceived others had for me too. Everyone else looked so perfect, I knew that I would never equate. Furthermore, I was running out of hope, and since looking in the mirror meant that you were reflecting on yourself and viewing all of the flaws, I wouldn’t be able to correct them. I was broken, I had caused my brokenness, and I could never have what it takes to fix my brokenness.
And that’s where faith came in. I believe in Jesus Christ. I know others that read this may not, and that’s alright with me. Everyone has faith in something. I have a name to mine. He repaired my brokenness. He helped me to not feel disgusted anymore because He gave me a reason not to, His love. He helped erase the shame because He helped me find an identity in something other than what I could do for others. I still have cracks and flaws, but I’m whole again. I hope through this journey, you can be whole, too.