Sometimes, I'm really scared of my face. Sometimes I'm afraid to check mirrors because I don't recognise myself, I don't know what I'll see and how I feel and what I should feel about what I'll see. Sometimes I look and think it's an average sort of face, the face of the type of person you would never look at twice- not majorly deformed but certainly not a drop of pretty, or even really pleasant. It's just a face. My forehead and nose and mouth and eyes aren't especially big, nor small, nor is there any poetry or grace or even character about where and how they sit. No beauty- conventional nor based on soul and personality. My skin is fair, a bit freckly and I usually have a spot knocking about somewhere. Average. Forgettable. Which to me is a terrifying mix, even during these moments when I don't believe I'm especially hideous, because the concept of average, the idea of being forgotten and forgettable, keeps me up at night. And then sometimes I look and I'm repulsed. I can't put my finger exactly on what is wrong with my face, because the features are all so dull. But it's like I was created by Frankenstein, parts innocuous when belonging to others, forced and mangled together to create a monster. Ugly. Utterly repulsive and unnatural, a being that terrible that it should never have been possible.
There's so much beauty in this world. There's the beautifully terrible, like the funeral of a friend you hadn't seen in too long and the reunion of old friends, in grief. There are the beautifully sweet moments when a child wraps their arms around you and tells you completely frankly that they love you. Hearing a song that takes you back to a beautiful time. The bittersweet beauty of catching a movement out of the corner of your eye and the excitement for that second when you think might be the person you know it just can't be, it can't be, it can't be. There are 50th year wedding anniversaries and babies and catching a person in a moment of serenity or bliss and sunny days and cups of tea and taking your high-heels off. There's so much that I think it's OK that I'm not beautiful, there's so much that I ought to be able to just be happy that I live in a time and a place and around people that create such beauty. Or maybe beauty works like the salt water and the potato, an osmosis effect. I'd rather be surrounded by beauty than be beautiful, I think. I'm realising.
Don't misunderstand me here, this isn't purely an eating disorder thing- you don't get an eating disorder because you want to be beautiful and you don't keep that level of pain at a certain constant so as to be beautiful. But make no mistake, there's so much beauty in the world but there's also so much ugliness. The things we do, the things I do and have done; parts of my life have been ugly and I responded by making myself and my life and the world around me more ugly. This kind of illness is like having a pair of glasses welded to your face, which distort everything and make the world appear decaying, diseased and hopeless. Although the disorder is not really about beauty at all, it's too easy to fall into deep pits where it seems the only way to create some breathing room from the crippling ugliness of the world would be to strip back parts of your being, your flesh and your consciousness- less of you equating to less ugliness in the atmosphere. Which is ironic, of course (as well as completely wrong, since there isn't a finite amount of beauty/ugliness, obviously), because the world becomes more ugly as the eating disorder glasses bore tighter into your being. God, there's so much beauty that I feel like I'm only just glimpsing, after everything. So close to seeing it properly, I hope.