Accepting Myself- Coping Mechanism

Every dawn is a new battle, a conflict that has no win. It’s as if I’m in a loop every move is predictable, but not so much with my reaction. Anxiety. The word is easy to flaunt, but the repercussions not so much.

It started a few years ago I am not sure what ticked it off as a teenager, I lived through a series of events – some that are overly private to disclose, but that had impaired me nonetheless. I felt like I was drifting in the atmosphere, nothing could keep me grounded. I couldn’t be like Neil Armstrong, floundering around the moon with its gravity deficit atmosphere.

I suppose I took the word “grounded” way too literally, especially since I had transformed into an emotional eater. I couldn’t control the circumstances around me, but could damn sure regulate what I consumed! That was in my authority. The food felt good. It released endorphins, a drug that I wanted to be as high on for as long as I humanly could.

Unfortunately, that mechanism was flawed, my self-esteem dropped faster than a submarine plunging into the water. My waistline? Oh, boy. I could barely find clothes that would accommodate me. I found solace in wearing men’s clothes. They were comfortable and big, enough to conceal me from the world.

Perhaps the final catalyst was my hormonal acne – something that I didn’t recognize at the time. “Keep your skin clean, your pillowcases fresh!” the articles yelled at me, “Your phones are disgusting, even when compared to a public toilet!” These words echoed in my mind, weakening its components. Forcing me to fight a battle with the unseen.

Vulnerability isn’t my strongest suit. I was nurtured by the strongest woman I know. She’s been a shield, but a sword when she required to be. (Seriously, my mum once threatened the mum of my bully. “If your daughter touches mine, I’ll give her a reason to cry.” Needless to say, my bully and I became best friends. I reckon we both needed a little intimidation the get along anyway, haha.) So, writing this hasn’t exactly been comfortable.

Vulnerability is such a peculiar idea. Let’s feed in our weakness and hope that “they” won’t use it against us. It’s like that crack in the ozone layer, struggling to make its way back, to be whole again, but we all recognize it isn’t possible. That small tear is only the beginning of turning into something a little more jarring. Grievous.

Consequently, began my battle with my demons. A tactile sensation from a stranger felt like a retribution. I am extremely cautious of my personal space, and the perpetual thought of someone infecting me with their sickness keeps dwelling on my mind. It’s a shocker though, I live in a heavily populated city where humans roam in groups like they’re ants, ensuing a trail of honey. And even so, I’ve managed to live a life.

Certainly, there are sentiments that I would much rather not bear. Thoughts that keep me on edge, enough to make a grown woman cry. That grown woman being me. My family has been supportive for which I am indebted. Without them, I would struggle. For when they see me frantically cleaning, they don’t question it. They disregard the number of times I’ve sprayed rubbing alcohol on my clothes, my hands, my phone, my laptop, or even the sofa where I am going to be seated. “If you’re happy, that’s all that matters. Gives you a peace of mind, right?”

And certainly I do experience tranquility. I’m a frantic cleaner. It helps me decompress. Over the past 8 years, I’ve managed to wash my dried skin multiple times and shampoo my brittle hair every day. I am knowledgeable of the consequences of regular shampoo, trust me, my mum tells me every day. Though that is something I cannot manipulate.

Someone’s touch or a graze against something that did not have my consent leaves a jarring sensation. As if something is crawling up my skin, multiplying by reproducing. A chilling sensation is left behind which can merely be cleansed by purifying my skin.

How does it feel to be me? I don’t know, I’ve been unkind to myself for years and years abide. I seek to experience myself through some’s perspective. I am good looking, above average even. Sure, my body is a little tainted. Years of weight gain and weight loss, then leaves a series of stretch mark, loose skin and not very perky breasts. In recognition of all that, I am still good. This might sound vain, but rather is not. Perchance we all need to look at ourselves through the eyes of others. Others who we idealize but we don’t understand that they’ve got many procedures and surgical procedures done. What is the ideal self then? If the raw body, isn’t pretty in it, then where can we derive our stature from? How do we put bodies that have gone through cosmetic makeovers on pedestals while I disrespect my loose skin as being ugly? We have adopted the internet and generated a worse form of ogres. Our Frankensteins.

I’ve ultimately come to terms with myself. I am not perfect, I won’t ever be. My OCPD won’t go away, but I’ll have to live with it. That occurs with age. My younger self would be mortified to accept herself. I take pride. My germaphobia? That’s the consequence of me trying to dominate my surroundings. If I hadn’t done that, I would’ve probably eaten myself to death or seriously harmed myself. Sure, the dead don’t feel any pain once they’re gone. There are no emotions to prevail, no physical pain after passing on, but the vast hole that they leave behind, that. That breaks families down. That brews on for days, memories haunt the living. The dead are just…..dead.

My organization skills do have advantages too. In college, I completed my assignments and projects ages before the deadline. I was always up to date with everything. Today my sister says she won’t leave me for the following ten years! My household is dependent on what I order and plan in terms of meals. I have grown to become their support system. (They would starve. I tested it for two and a half weeks before I had to cave and be responsible again.)

Apart from all this, I’m grateful for my friends, who might be living far away from me but are just a call away. Life doesn’t feel so bad at all if only my younger self had adjusted a little.

For those who know Sima Aunty, this is for her!

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