Posted by: Clare | May 21, 2010

I don’t even recognize myself

One of my friends from 6th form (the last two years of high school in England, if you want to go to college) tagged me the other day in a picture on facebook. An innocent action, common for all of us I’m sure, but seeing this picture was such a strange experience for me, it brought up so many emotions. This is the picture:

I’m the one in the black dress. This was taken at around this time of year exactly 10 years ago, in 2000. I was 17. It was the dress rehearsal (I assume, since there is no real audience) of my A-Level Drama class performance of Willy Russel’s Stags and Hens.

I barely recognize myself.

At the time that this was taken I thought I was the fattest, ugliest person to ever walk the earth. I looked in the mirror and hated everything I saw. I never felt like I was having an ok day, like maybe I looked alright, I always felt sick at the sight of myself. I was desperately shy, despite the fact that one of the things I loved most at the time was acting. I loved acting because for a short amount of time I could be somebody else.

I look at this picture and I cry for the girl I was then. I wish that person’s head wasn’t in the way so that I could see my legs. Look how skinny I was! I had a ridiculously small waist, and my collar bone could probably have cut someone had I let them get close enough. And my arms, not a bingo wing in sight!

I was good in my role in that play, and I looked good. Yet I couldn’t even look up at the audience to accept their congratulations because I didn’t feel worthy of it. I was too fat and ugly.

My goal right now is to get to my pre-college weight, which is around the size I was in this picture. But this time I want to do it as healthily as possible. Be not just healthy in the food that I eat and by exercising, but get healthy mentally, too. This picture was taken after I had been diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and had been “healthy” for almost a year. HA, right. I remember my habits during that year, and they were far from healthy. I admitted that I had had a problem and convinced myself that I was ok again. But it just doesn’t work like that. You can’t click your fingers and fix yourself when you suffer from this kind of disorder (actually, I imagine it’s the same with any disorder).

Today, ten years later and around 80lbs heavier, I still struggle with the mental demons that Body Dysmorphia has placed in me. I am obsessive compulsive about many things, I am often depressed, and I still think I am the ugliest, fattest girl to ever live (I know that there are people who are literally bigger than me, but this isn’t about the literal – this is about what I see in the mirror).

I want and need (for health reasons), to lose weight. I get scared to go all out when it comes to working out or dieting because I know that my obsessive, unhealthy habits will come back. But I HAVE to work out and I HAVE to make healthy choices when it comes to the way I approach food. It is such a tough battle, but I know I can do it.

I suppose this is as good a time as any for an update on my goal. I am currently down 9lbs. This isn’t very impressive given that I started tracking it in mid-January, but if I’m honest I haven’t been going balls to the wall on exercise (uh, not even close, actually) and while I’ve definitely been making healthy choices I don’t eat necessarily like someone trying to lose weight. So 9lbs isn’t a bad loss. I definitely need to step up my game though. Stay tuned.



  1. Thanks for sharing that, Clare. It was very candid. I’m sorry that you have had to struggle with this, and I pray that you now see yourself as precious and beautiful in the only eyes that matter – the Lord’s. And for what it’s worth, I know you’re a beautiful person even though I think we only hung out that one time by the pool when you lived up off 183.

    Hugs from Deutschland!

    • I still live there!

      It’s funny that you say that, at Church yesterday body image issues were briefly brought up as an example of something that often gets in the way of being able to open your heart fully to God. I think that this is for sure my biggest challenge, letting go of those issues enough to accept that love. I open it up to give, but don’t always let it in. I know I’m a good person, but I don’t feel worthy of love because of my image issues (which is ridiculous, I know) and that obviously is a roadblock. I’m working on it though!

      • Wow! That’s awesome — I really don’t like moving every 1-2 years, and that’s the way it’s been for me since 2002. You’re lucky! I moved in 2002, 2003 (twice), 2005 (twice), 2006, 2008 and 2009. That makes 8 times in as many years.

        Also, I’ll keep you in my prayers. I hope that’s ok with you.

    • I don’t know why it doesn’t let me “reply” to your second comment. Annoying!

      I really appreciate your prayers, thank you!

      I have a post about my apartment that I need to write…lucky and at the same time not so much haha. I’ve lived in this apartment (and in Austin), longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere in my life!

      • Anytime!

        And I’ll be looking for that post. 🙂

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