Mental Health

Getting Rid of Pedestals

I think a lot about the ways in which my self image consciously and subconsciously rule my life. The idealizations people hold of me, although frustrating and limiting, sometimes fill me like a guilty pleasure; a dirty habit that continues to manifest and take hold of me.

And I know the ways my own perception and idealization of myself and my life hurt me. Those who surround me are held to impossible standards, including myself. Agitation and conflict arise as I try to micromanage behavior to fit a mold I can’t even squeeze into myself. In turn, life starts to look out of control and wild, spiking my anxiety and creating more problems and more issues over things I can’t and shouldn’t control.

I know I do these things. I know that much of this behavior is a defense mechanism, sprung from trauma and low self esteem. What I haven’t done is fully own up to it. I haven’t been harsh with myself, clinging to a false sense of independence and self that gets muddled by the genuine work done in rebuilding my self esteem and interactions with others. I’ve done very real work within myself, but now¬†that I’m dealing with core, deep set issues, I’m scared.

I’m scared to own up to my weakness, I’m scared to allow for change when I don’t feel ready. I’m scared to sit down with a therapist and trust a stranger with my emotions. I’m scared to allow someone in, not only because of trust, but because I don’t know how I’m going to move forward with shattered idealizations.

Mental Health, Student Life

And God Said, “Let There Be Titty Shirts”

One of my favorite shirts is a low cut, cropped wrap top that’s ruched on the side. It’s comfortable as hell while still managing to make me look put together and rarely needs any readjustment throughout the day. Rarely do I wear it though, the first day I ever sported the top growing increasingly more and more self conscious. By my mother’s standards, it’s too revealing of a shirt. It cradles my breasts too well, makes my waist look too tiny, too slim.

I remember the influx of eyes glued to my chest as I walked through campus, just trying to get to Calculus. As if a target was drawn on my chest, I faced a bombardment of hungry eyes that seemed to undress me with their stare and glares from other womxn for being so bold to accentuate my features. The day was long, full of anxiety for how other students were looking at me. The boys in my Calculus class spoke softer to me, as if their throats were clogged by my chest. The whole day felt as if I was on display, instead of enjoying my outfit and going about my classes.

Campus fashion itself is an odd social category within student life. Any resemblance of effort is associated with a lack of intelligence and passivity instead of a source of strength. Recently, I’ve tried to combat this predicament by not caring and dressing however I like, strolling through campus as if I owned it (might as well do with how much I pay for tuition) and letting the sunshine hit all the right places. This sense of self slowly dissipates as the day continues: trying to be confident when you’re actually self conscious is a tiring act. As the sun starts to set, I worry about how much I’m showing. I worry I’m going to be grabbed by a stranger. I blame myself for looking good.

This cycle repeats everyday, as I attempt to break free from trauma and anxiety ruling my entire life. Everyday I wear a low cut shirt, I slowly develop more and more confidence within myself and my ability to rule my own life.