I Hate My Image

I remember when I was a little kid, I would look in the mirror and observe myself.

And I would notice how on my face there were these two ugly moles, how the way I moved seem so disgusting, how my face seemed like a monster.  How my body was not the perfect body. How I was weak and pathetic. And everyday I see my own reflection or whether I see myself in a video or picture, I would cringe. I was and still am ashamed of how I appear, act, and sound, and I would always want to hide.

But I guess this is how most adolescents are like, right? Insecure. But it wasn’t just a sense of insecurity, it was more of a sense of self-loathing. Why am I like this? Why can’t I be different?

However, this deformation was easy to ignore. Everyday I avoid looking at the mirror or being in photographs and videos unless I had to. Whenever I did Skype calls, I would always make sure my webcam was off. As long as I was not self-conscious, I could live on fine.

But ignoring yourself is a hard thing when society and those around you point it out. During school one day, one of my friends was telling me how most people see me as a nerd who just stays inside the house studying all day. And the more I heard him talk about who and who says what and what about me, the more my self-loathing became actual loathing against others. For a while I began to think this whole world was against me and had a negative view of me. And I would become sad, angry, and downtrodden at the same time.

Even worse, the more I heard how most people viewed me, the more that image became my own self-image. Even though I know that it wasn’t true, in my mind it became true. As Nazi propagandist Grobbels once said, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”

This anger, though, soon resided away as nobody mentioned it anymore for a while. And I thought to myself, hey that’s how strangers think. At least I have friends who know how I really am.

Until this past week, over Facebook I was talking to one of my friends how in this team there wasn’t really anybody I could really connect to. And she replied: “you just dont know it cuz u keep thinking like tat and stay alone and never go out.”

To hear a stranger thinking that I am a fucking nerd who stays at home alone and studies all day and never goes out is painful enough, but to hear a friend tell me that directly…. hurts twenty times more.

And when she said that, I felt like someone shot a bullet through my heart. I couldn’t even feel anger anymore; the only thing I felt was extreme pain. And I thought that she was my friend.

But no, it gets worse. Just recently today, I was hanging out with one of my closest friends from middle school, who brought one of his golf friends along. And his companion was like, “No offense, but you look like a geek.” I was about to retort back, until I noticed on a glass wall, my own reflection. The monster I had tried to avoid for a long time. And I looked at myself, and what I saw was a geek. And so I just shut up and pretended to ignore.

And then this same guy kept on making some more comments at me on how I sounded like a fob, how he was surprised I even had a TV because I didn’t seem like that type of person, and all kinds of shit. But what killed me was how my very own friend also echoed his thoughts. But  I kept on thinking, yeah, they’re right, yeah, I’m messed up. And so I suppressed all this feeling and pretended like I was having a good time and I didn’t really care.

But deep down inside, I felt myself dying.

Maybe the lesson I should get is that I’m emotionally messed up. That I overreact too much. And you know, that’s what everybody fucking says. Over and over. You are messed up. One way or another. Emotionally, physically, etc. That I’m a selfish brat who thinks I’m at the top of the world. That I need to get a life. That I’m just a book worm.

All these lies have become truths in my brain, to the extent that my truths has become lies. I don’t even know which is which now. I feel so mixed up.

But one thing I know for sure: it’s very likely that my friends don’t know me. They don’t even understand me. They think wrong things of me, that even I think wrong things of myself. That in the process, not only am I hating the image they are giving me, I in turn unintentionally hate my true self.


4 thoughts on “I Hate My Image

  1. Okay, they’re not very good friends if they’re treating you like that. I don’t think your friend meant to be offensive, but that was rather quite rude and she could have phrased it to you better. Or, maybe she thought she was close enough to you to say such blunt things. Either way I think next time she does that, it might be a good idea to ask her to clarify what she meant by “staying alone”. Did she really mean to imply that you’re a loner? There’s a distinction in between alone and lonely.

    High school is such a mess… you’ll meet better people in college! I was very lucky in that I had friends who embraced me for who I am and saw me through from when I was a very snotty young kid. Of course, the longest friendship I had was also the most fraught; my friend had seen me cry multiple times and saw me at my worst times. I grew apart from who I thought would be my eternal BFF (that friend doesn’t even know I have this blog. Lol). Friendships are tricky because they require you to be vulnerable.

    Meanwhile, until you get there, here’s what you can control:

    Of course you can’t please everyone– you’d go mad! Even if you were perfect and put together, some people would hate you for being perfect and put together (would be jealous, even).

    The biggest cheerleader that you have is yourself. To avoid looking for external validation, start looking for internal validation.

    I think the best way to go about validating yourself as a person is to build something of your own. A secret space, a secret routine. A goal that others haven’t pre-determined for you, and what other people don’t necessarily know about. People are weird in that they alternate between being mystified by other people and “pegging” people into little holes that they’ve fashioned for themselves. For example, I didn’t bring up my private exercise routine until it was stopped. Also I never talked about my writing stories and taking it seriously, not even to my closest friends (or family), until it got published. Setting goals for yourself and meeting them does wonders for self-esteem and a sense of the self outside of your friend.

    Also, be careful in what you pick and choose to celebrate with your friends. Don’t show all of your cards. Save some to celebrate with your imaginary friend/companion, but– and here’s the key point– if and only if you don’t trust other people to celebrate your accomplishments with you. You sound like you have pretty crap friends who take your drive and your curiosity about the world for granted. When you do tell your friends, let them know that it’s a matter of great trust.

    Last, and probably the most important, expose yourself to a more diverse age group, if you can. Teenagers can be shockingly close-minded. Old and young alike carry pearls of wisdom. If you aren’t doing it already, you can gain a lot from community service. (Also older people tend to be less petty, I’ve found).

    I hope this helps, and that you take these pieces of advice with a grain of salt.

    • I mention the inner goals, because trust me… when you’re fighting inner demons to become more disciplined (or, in my case, to write more), other people’s complaints seem so laughable and far away.

      Do you know what I did when I got into a Creative Writing class and felt like I had no one to truly celebrate what a momentous gift that was to me? I conjured an imaginary friend, the perfect friend who would celebrate with me. It sounds rather pathetic, but it worked for me, because I knew that while I can trust my friends to celebrate with me on other things, I couldn’t expect to understand this private level of joy, yet. It’s a game of patience, and perseverance, and I felt much better afterward.

  2. Also, to add: there’s nothing wrong with being emotionally messed-up. All people are different and at different points in life. Have you been malicious or ill-intended? That’s the true marker of character. You are, in absolutely no way, messed up for being more studious than your peers. So what if you come across as emotionally uptight? Laugh it off! Apologize if you hurt someone, but never, ever apologize for being yourself.

    “I have never met someone who is living a bold and successful life—and by successful I mean prosperous, kind, and in touch with the meaningfulness of what theyʼre doing — who has apologized for being perfectionistic, mercurial, unrelenting, or whatever their slightly controversial hallmark characteristics are.

    You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.

    Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone — profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.” -Danielle Laporte

  3. Hej Titus, how are you today?

    Well, the first thing that comes into my mind is that we always tend to think we need to be different – and then people will like us. You know what? I do not think so. I am a mathematician, too. I like to study, I am not very beautiful – and I often feel that people want to put me into a category and think they know who I am.

    The truth is: When I was a kid – I was quite well in playing tennis – and people wanted me to become a professional. You know what? I did not follow that route and did something else.

    Later in school, languages were my favorite subject. People and family thought I was going to be a writer and journalist. You know what? I studied maths and physics instead – and no one in my family believed I was going to make it.

    At the same time, my parents moved. My mother wanted me to come with her. You know what? I did not follow that route, and tried to find myself.

    I finished Maths. I finished Physics. In my job, today, I work in economy. People who only recently know me, cannot believe that I can write and am interested into literature. The do not believe that I play tennis. They think that I become a leader in economics. You know what? I help them to achieve their goals, instead – because this is a lot of fun – and all of us carry anxieties along. And they like me for being the strong and supportive rebel that I am.

    Well, I tell you, me friend – figure out who you are – how you can support other people to achieving their goals – bring pleasure and energy to them – and be yourself. You will see how people will positively react to this.


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