Contributed by my dear friend Misha….
I Love My Reflection
As a child I was told I was the pretty one and my younger brother was the smart one, starting right in elementary school.
As we got older my brother was enrolled in private school and given whatever he needed to succeed. I went to public school and was encouraged to start studying beauty so I could work in a salon (which would be great if that was what I wanted to do.) When I suggested other careers I would be told; “you can’t do that you are not smart enough,” or “you are beautiful, can’t you just stick with what your good at.” Even when my grades and ambition would show otherwise. My mother would show me Victoria Secret catalogs and tell me which women looked the best, and which I should try to look like. I was constantly told by her that I ate too much fatty foods and I should be taking better care of myself.
My breasts grew huge and I kept myself as close to 100 pounds as I could. Since I am only 5′ tall this was the “right” weight because the BMI chart shows I should be at 105 pounds.
I had a boyfriend all through high school who was just as obsessed with his body. He took steroids and lifted weights in all his free time. If there was anything wrong with my body he would let me know in case my mother hadn’t had a chance yet.
Then my step father was asked to leave his Middle School teaching job for being to “touchy” with girls. Which made my feelings of being uncomfortable around him and the way he hugged me even worse. I started to hate being hugged or touched. I started to really hate my body, especially my breasts, and my face.
The summer after I graduated from high school I went to visit my boyfriend one day. He was in one of his roid rages and he pushed me down the stairs and raped me. This was the end.
I was done being pretty and I didn’t want anyone to be even slightly attracted to me. I bought bagging clothes, really baggy, and stopped wearing makeup. I shoved food down. Gaining weight at quickly as I could. It didn’t help, I was still pretty just thicker.
So I decided to have a have a breast reduction. I was told:
“I made them too small.”
“Why would I do something like that?”
“No one is going to want you.”
“You are ruining a perfectly good body.”
“Who is going to marry you now?”
I thought what kind of man would I be spending my life with if the reason he was with me was the size of my breasts. Really. What would happen if I got in an accident and my face was all scared or I lost limbs. Wouldn’t my soul mate stay with me no matter what I looked like?
I asked my grandfather for help. He helped me move away from my attacker and my step father, and go to college for Culinary Arts. Here I made my new start. I learned how to love food and enjoy making it. I had new friends and a new me. And it was the perfect place to be on the thicker side because I had a reason to be.
“Well of course she is over weight, she is around food all day.”
I thought I had found happiness. My professors loved me. I did so well I was able to go to Switzerland to study chocolate. It was beautiful there. I didn’t know any German so I could not understand anything anyone was saying. I got to just work.
Eventually my visa ran out, and my extended visa, and I came back to the USA. I got an amazing job being a Banquet Manager. My boss loved my work and sent me to classes I wanted to take. I had a big beautiful office and was extremely successful. That is until the Executive Chef (who was married with children) decided he couldn’t keep his hands off me.
The Chef came into my office and locked the door. He got me on the floor and put his hands all over me. Fortunately he didn’t get as far as he would have liked. The hotels account came to my office and started knocking on the door. He jumped up and fixed himself and left. He was fired and I was given “as much time as I needed to heal.” But I couldn’t work there anymore. Looking at my office made me sick. My boss switched offices with me, and said he would do what ever he could to keep me. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t keep working there. So I left and took time off from everything.
I went to visit a friend from college who I knew was safe. He was going through a lot also and we would just sit and talk for hours.
I thought a lot about cutting my face and making scars. Gaining weight didn’t work. There are plenty of people who are very attracted to thicker people. I am one of them. A guy who is skinny just doesn’t do it for me. So what if I cut up my face. I would drive as fast as I could hoping I would get into an accident and be scarred because I could seem to get the courage to do myself. I got as far as scratching my face and holding a knife to my cheek, but I could never just cut up my face. I took terrible risks. Why not? I had nothing to lose. Maybe my mother was right. Maybe the thing I would be best at would be being someones pretty wife or play toy. I must be useless.
Then the Universe gave me a gift. I didn’t see it as a gift at first. At first I was angry. So angry. I was filled with all this energy sucking anger. My dear sweet friend who was so safe asked me out on a date. How dare he? He was the last person I could turn to. He thought I was attractive. He wasn’t allowed to. He was safe and kind and caring. Why would he do this to me? How could he possibly think it was okay to like me as more than the great friend I had been for years.
After being angry for quite sometime I started to miss my safe, kind, and caring friend. My safe, kind, and caring friend, who I could talk to, and laugh with. Who had never put a hand on me. Who had seen me in college in pjs and after a night of too much drinking. My friend who had met my mother and knew what she was like. My friend who knew everything that had happened to me and still loved me. My friend who had seen me skinny and fat, with big breasts and little breasts, makeup and no makeup, happy and cranky, angry, sad, depressed, thrilled, energetic, tired, successful, excited, smiling and crying. My friend who loved me no matter what.
I am now married to my friend. He is my best friend and I love him. He is on the thick side and I love it! After 3 children and a few surgeries he still loves my naked scarred body.
I am still the stupid daughter who would look beautiful if she would just lose weight. But I choose not to listen to it anymore.
And I still sometimes hate my body and face when I look in the mirror.
But MOST days I choose to love my body and dance.
I dance while I am alone. I dance with my children. I dance with my love. I dance in my beautiful body that has been painted with life scars. I sing with my body with stories that made me stronger. I run with my body as hard as I can in the direction I want to go. I feel with my body all the love in world. I cry with my body because it is okay to be hurt, I provide safety with my body because sometimes my arms make everything better for my children, I help with my body with how hard I work, I give with my body everything I can to make the world a better place, I see with my body all the beauty in the world, I smile with my body because I am happy to be me and I love my reflection.