I’ve looked in the mirror after gaining 15 pounds and didn’t recognize who I was. I’ve had a growing child inside me that made me feel physical uncomfortable and mentally out of place. I’ve had skin issues where I couldn’t live my life as I usually would and felt as if others couldn’t see the real me. There are so many moments that make women feel as if we aren’t ourselves. These moments occur with alarming regularity and sometimes, we feel it all our lives, never feeling quite at peace with who we are. When we’re in this head space, we put our lives on hold, our plans in limbo, and never quite acknowledge who we are in the moment.
The feelings may pass and we may eventually come back to feeling like who we are, but the experience itself is very real and disorienting. How does it feel to never feel like yourself? To feel as if you’re hiding within your own body, just waiting to come out once you know it’s really you? To feel as if this body, this skin, this shell isn’t really you. You can see it when women gain weight and they refuse to buy clothes to suit their different size. When women save jeans that they no longer wear in hopes that they return to that person. When girls only post pictures from a certain period of their lives because they don’t like how they look now.
We sometimes exist in this space that does not allow us to move forward, only dwelling on the past and who we were, making us feel as if we somehow aren’t good enough. The journey back to who you are is personal and different for everyone, but the disorienting feeling is universal and very real. It matters that we don’t feel like ourselves. To just admit that admits that we feel off. Some of us live our whole lives feeling off, not knowing how to even come to terms with this. This is the most important step, to simply acknowledge our feelings and the space we are currently inhabiting. It may not be where we want to be, but it is where we are and we have to at least accept it.