In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week is drawing to an end. This year’s theme has been Body Image. Something that I struggle with on a daily basis. I possibly always will. And yet, I’ve learned to live with it. Most importantly, happily so for the majority of the time.
The mirrors in my home (and beyond) can be inordinately cruel. There are plenty of mornings that the only thing they are prepared to show me is the maleness I inherited from my old life. To give them their due, they are particularly effective at evidencing every last trace of Chris.
I eventually settled on trying to accept that this is no bad thing. Without him, I am nothing at all. So even a sometimes daily reminder is something I will not be sad about. However, there are still days when there is not enough makeup to hide him from me.
But that’s probably more about where my own head is at on any given day, than any radical changes in how I really look. The trick has been learning how to live with that kind of frequent insecurity. And yet somehow, I mostly have.
I just can’t control how I actually look, barring surgery that is unacceptable to me. I can’t stop myself from sometimes focusing too intently on the things I don’t like. But control is still possible. And therein lies a kind of peace. I do dress in a way that helps me blend in more quietly. Although I grow ever braver with colour. My make-up is also never too “out there”. Except the nights it deliberately is. And so I mostly pass without comment.
I unfortunately remain my harshest critic. The world at large is far kinder to me most of the time. But I’ve come to learn that this is sometimes just how it is. It’s OK to not be OK. Just keep getting up. And just keep moving forward. If you can manage that, the rest of the world might meet you halfway. Quite how I became such a positive cow remains an absolute mystery. But here I stand.