Mirrors. Bane of most people’s existence, yes? Agreed. Not only do I have a damaged relationship with the mirror, I may or may not have the world’s worst full-length mirror. It’s so bad that other people comment on it. Nowadays, I’ve got it partially obscured with pictures and quotes that distract me. It doesn’t help much, but it at least makes me feel proactive.
Anyhow. I wanted to write today after reading a friend’s post on body dysmorphia. I think it’s something that affects most people in some way or another, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. You still see what you see, regardless.
I always assumed I was a little off in how I saw myself. I remember looking in the mirror, seeing my bones sticking out, seeing my clothes hanging off me, and still being convinced I was the same size I’d been x number of pounds ago. I knew it wasn’t logically right, but I really couldn’t believe that my brain could be that far away from reality.
When I was in the hospital in my teens, they did an exercise with us that, while it didn’t make the dysmorphia go away, definitely showed me how wrong my brain was.
- Get a large piece of paper, at least 3 feet by 6 feet. We did it with the paper taped to a wall. I don’t think it works quite as well with the paper on the floor, but it’ll do in a pinch.
- Draw an outline of what you believe your body to look like.
- Stand (or lie) in front of your outline, and have a friend trace your actual outline.
- Stand back and be amazed.
I did my best to draw exactly what I saw. I was convinced that I was bang on the money, even a little on the small side in some places. The actual reality shocked me. I was at least 6 inches off the mark in my torso and hips, and my arms and legs were probably double their actual size. I was almost right with my height . . .
It doesn’t make me see things any differently, but it’s nice to know that what I see is wrong. I don’t know if it will help anyone else out there, but I figured it was worth a shot.
Just remember: there’s a chance that what bothers you isn’t what’s on the outside, but what you’re missing on the inside. If you can dedicate hours a week (day?) to fixing your body in the gym, don’t you owe your insides the same chance?