Doing Okay

Last week was rough and–for once–I don’t mean emotionally. I got the flu, as is the norm a month into dorm life. So I broke out the DayQuil, bought a gallon of OJ, stocked up on vitamins, and only went to class on the days I had exams or exam reviews (just my luck, that meant three days last week).

I went home for the weekend to lay in my childhood bed and sleep for ten hours straight and although I don’t feel 100% better, I feel pretty close.

What I hate about getting sick is that it doesn’t just make me feel groggy and snotty and gross, it also makes me feel like I look gross. And, yeah, I don’t think anyone finds a drippy nose attractive, but that’s not what I mean.

This year I’ve made a conscious effort to do things that improve how I feel about my body and general self esteem. It’s been a really bumpy and 60% ineffective ride. I spent the first three weeks of school putting on makeup before class, because I love putting on makeup and I love how it makes me feel and I love how it makes me look. And then I got sick, and the self-hate took over.

I began to dislike everything about me, from my head to my toes. And even on my worse days, usually, I can find a thing or two I like about me–like my hair, or my thighs. But not recently. Sure, maybe it’s trivial and a side product of having societal norms forced on me, but how I feel about how I look affects me hugely. Especially my social anxiety.

I have a pretty severe case of seborrheic dermatits that makes me stay home some days, because the idea of people looking at me or it overwhelms me. Aside from that, my weight and overall displeasure with my appearance make me unwilling to reach out and meet new people, and even makes me seem unapproachable. Which, yeah, I can be unapproachable. But it shouldn’t be because of how I look.

The solution to this continues to evade me. I’m afraid to exercise outside of my dorm room, because I want to cry when people look at me while I’m active. I have trouble sleeping, and usually eat to entertain myself in the wee hours of the morning–when the only thing open nearby is Cane’s. Additionally, it’s hard to eat healthy on a college kid budget.

But today I’m crawling out of the “I Got Sick and Subsequently Remembered to Hate My Body” hole I dug myself a week ago. I plucked my eyebrows, put on a face mask, and picked a sandwich over McDonald’s for lunch. Maybe tomorrow I will fail. But today I’ve done okay and that’s good enough for me.

-HH

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