You Have Body Image Issues? But You Post So Many Selfies?

April 8, 2016

snow-white-queen-body-image

If I had a pound for each time somebody asked me this question, I wouldn’t be claiming Universal Credit, put it that way. Assuming that you’re a frequenter of my blog, you may have happened upon a post which outlines my history of eating disorders and poor body image. If not, I would politely recommend you have a gander at the first post as this has a lot to do with the BDD I have surrounding my face shape.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been quite the ardent selfie-taker. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always vehemently despised the shape of my face. If you’re (un)lucky enough to be close to me, you may have had to endure a drunken Ebony sobbing over the fact that “no matter how skinny I get, my face will always be fat” around the 3am point of a night out (sobs, sniffs and chip breaks edited out for concision). If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you’ll find that the vast majority of my tagged photos are of me artfully perched next to a friend, selfie pose initiated, always the one in control of the camera – a stark lack of normal group shots or candid snaps.

For this, and the fact that I post at least one selfie to my Instagram a week, people seem to assume that I’m vain and utterly besotted with my own reflection. My exes have thought it, former frenemies have thought it, even my own mother thinks it – despite watching me physically shrink myself through my eating disorder as a teenager, in a futile bid to burn off the biological shape of my facial bone structure.

I wish this was the case. I wish that every time my nan gleefully brandished her camera and declared it family photo time, I could happily oblige without the fear of subsequently looking at the image and wanting to quite genuinely take a knife to my own jawline (or lack thereof). I wish I could be less uptight and not beat myself up for days after seeing pictures from a party, ruthlessly berating myself for not having the dainty heart-shaped faces of my friends. I wish I could let boyfriends take cute candid pictures of me without getting in a psycho tizz if I look like a glorified moon adorned in red lipstick. I wish my head would let me spend more time caring about things that actually fucking matter in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I feel like a badass bitch and I do everything in my power to internalise the fact that I have a similar face-shape to Dita Von Teese, and she’s an internationally-renowned, bonafide bloody babe. However, even on those days, let somebody pull a camera out and watch how quickly my face contorts, or how I just magically disappear altogether.

So, where do these selfies come in? If I’m such a moon-face, why am I always whoring it out across my social solar system? Why is my Instagram curated solely of my meticulously vsco-cammed pouts, some vegan meal snapshots to profess how endlessly virtuous I am, and a bunch of personally relevant quotes/poems? Am I just completely vapid and shallow?

When I take a picture of my face/body/outfit on Instagram, I’m conforming to the social media standards of externalising my life to look all refined and rose-tinted-glasses, but I’m also striving to internalise a version of myself into my own head – one that isn’t the moon-face. One that has cheekbones and an actual jawline and a face that doesn’t look like it belongs to a podgy 12-year-old. One that hasn’t led me to starve myself or self-harm because I can’t handle the ‘reality’ of it. Given the nature of BDD, whereby I haven’t the frigging foggiest as to what exactly my face-shape actually looks like in person, I tend to use images of myself as a form of body-checking which, in turn, creates an internalised ‘reality’ of what I look like mentally.

By taking all of these staged, angled and filtered up-to-the-nines pictures, and surrounding myself with them – projecting them out to the world – they become ‘me’, and I can just about handle being that ‘me’. If I lived life with the gay abandon of most people who aren’t lunatics and let people take photographs of me here/there/everywhere, I would internalise myself as this fat, satsuma-shaped mess and my self-esteem would baseline, leading to my eating disorder’s immediate resurfacing. Whether that’s what I actually look like, or not.

It may seem delusional, bizarre or just completely fucking stupid, but it’s how I get by day-to-day and it’s just one of the mechanisms I use to help myself get out of bed. If anybody can relate, in any shape or form, kindly leave me a comment or hit me up on Twitter @Ebzo, cause I’m a tad concerned that I sound insane right now. But I beg of you: nobody ask me that fucking question again…

4 comments on “You Have Body Image Issues? But You Post So Many Selfies?
  1. Avatar Bo says:

    Girl…I can relate to this so much. I’ve been struggling with eating disorders for over 10 years now and currently going through another bad phase. It’s never ending. There are days I truly despise myself, a single look in the mirror can ruin my entire day and shopping trips literally make me want to give up on life.
    I’m terrified of being photographed, and yeah my head/face is always bigger than everybody else’s.
    Taking self snaps and editing the shit out of them can be quite cheery, if that helps me cope then I might as well keep on going.

  2. Avatar Baruch Spinoza says:

    I’m a guy and I’ve never had eating disorders or BDD. I did, however, more often than not, used to hate pictures that other people took of me. I used to remove tags of photos constantly. I still take the odd selfie to get a good photo of myself but nowhere near as many as I used to. More recently, I’ve sort of let go of caring about whether or not I’m tagged in a bad photo of myself and I’ve become a little more comfortable in my own skin, confident in my looks and do as much as I can to remind myself how trivial the concept of beauty really is and how much it matters in the grand scheme of things.

    I think that what helps you get over things like this, is when enough people reassure you often by telling you that you’re beautiful, which you, indsputably, are (disputing that fact inside your own head doesn’t count as a genuine rebuttal).

    You’re gorgeous. Drop dead gorgeous, whether it’s in a selfie or in person. As you’re well aware, your body dismorphia is ultimately inside that beautiful head of yours. Everybody has angles that they don’t like the look of themselves from, but you are every bit the badass bitch that you feel like on your best days. You’re fucking hot. Too hot to require selfies to prove it to yourself.

    I’ve taken the time out to post this comment anonymously, so it’s not like I’m even just some dude telling you that you’re hot to try and hit on you. I just find it absurd and saddening that a girl as beautiful as you are should agonise over her appearance. Trust me, doing that is a complete waste of your time. You’re most probably the only person in the world who views you the way that you view yourself. So, the next time you’re idly fretting about the shape of your face, instead of taking a selfie, look in the mirror instead and remember this comment. See the badass bitch that I see, because that’s who you really are.

  3. Avatar Blake Blair says:

    I’m a guy and I’ve never had eating disorders or BDD. I did, however,
    more often than not, used to hate pictures that other people took of
    me. I used to remove tags of photos constantly. I still take the odd
    selfie to get a good photo of myself but nowhere near as many as I used to.

    More recently, I’ve sort of let go of caring about whether or not
    I’m tagged in a bad photo of myself and I’ve become a little more
    comfortable in my own skin, confident in my looks and do as much as I
    can to remind myself how trivial the concept of beauty really is and how
    much it matters in the grand scheme of things.

    I think that what helps you get over things like this, is when enough people reassure you often by telling you that you’re beautiful, which you, indsputably, are (disputing that fact inside your own head doesn’t count as a genuine rebuttal).

    You’re gorgeous. Drop dead gorgeous, whether it’s in a selfie or in person. As you’re well aware, your body dismorphia is ultimately inside that beautiful head of yours. Everybody has angles that they don’t like the look of themselves from, but you are every bit the badass bitch that you feel like on your best days. You’re fucking hot. Too hot to require selfies to prove it to yourself.

    I find it absurd and saddening that a girl as beautiful as you
    are should agonise over her appearance. Trust me, doing that is a
    complete waste of your time. You’re most probably the only person in the world who views you the way that you view yourself. So, the next time you’re idly fretting about the shape of your face, instead of taking a
    selfie, look in the mirror and remember this comment. See the
    badass bitch that I and the rest of the world see, because that’s who you really are.

  4. I completely understand this.

    I’ve only recently identified my issues with my body, as I thought it was normal to see myself as someone much bigger than I actually am. And I’m terrified of people I know ever knowing, because I know the inevitable question will follow: “Then why do you take so many selfies?”

    Because it freezes an image of me in time, at the right angle, in the right light. And even though I look at the pictures and feel like I’m looking at a different person, it makes me feel like I feel better.

    Thank you so much for this post!

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Ebony. 25. Manchester.
Marketing Manager who likes to mouth off on here about stuff she cares about. Expect mental health, Borderline Personality Disorder, and reviews - from restaurants, to books, to fashion. Talks to cats more than people, but seemingly has a lot to say.
ebonylaurenn@gmail.com
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