This was a pretty terrifying moment for me. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it was just skin stretched over bones. Yet when I stepped back and looked straight at my reflection, I was still as fat as ever. I tried again to catch myself in my peripheral vision again, bending at different angles, and I got a flash of my back - ribs poking through, bony shoulder blades, stretched tendons of my neck. Yet once again when I looked squarely at my reflection I saw a chubby blob. It made it so evident to me that my eyes just weren’t working - these two images couldn’t possibly coexist - and that I had to learn to see myself honestly. I’m still working on that.
I honestly thought that body dysmorphia was something serious, something that meant you were really sick, and I still didn’t see myself that way. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that my eyes may not be seeing the truth, because hey, I’d been trusting my eyes to give me information ever since I was born. Why would someone like me have body dysmorphia?
What you need to know about this kind of body dysmorphia is that it’s not about the eyes. The eyes pick up the image just fine, but the brain hijacks it and sends the message along some pretty twisted routes that distort what you’re seeing. You literally see something different to reality. This is something I still really struggle with. Only a few days ago I had to ask my partner how healthy my weight was because I can’t be trusted to perceive it correctly (we have a mirror in the shower (of all places) in our new apartment, and seeing myself naked for the first time in a long time did some terrible things to my head. We have since removed the mirror).
fanmail from reachforthewidebluesky (fanmail function is sort of weird, isn’t it?)
I understand how confusing it must be to see the weight fluctuate so much in a progressive story. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to look at, but I think it’s probably the most accurate way to portray the body image issues. That being said, it wasn’t even intentional. When I started drawing the comic (for myself) I found that the way I portrayed myself in the comic changed greatly depending on how I’d felt at the time of the scene, and also how I was feeling at the time of drawing.
There are some scenes that I haven’t yet drawn (but have scripted) that actually expose what my weight was really like during that time, and it’s pretty different from what you generally see in the comic. I’m really not looking forward to drawing those pages, because even now, they feel like a lie to me, because I didn’t ever really believe I was thin or underweight. Above all though, I am trying to remain honest as I tell this story. Thank you so much for sticking with me xox
I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 66
I cannot tell you how many insecurities are wrapped up in the way my breasts look and feel. Big breasts make me feel so vulnerable and victimised, even when in reality, no one is particularly paying attention. It became so crippling that I didn’t even feel capable of doing my job, because I felt certain that the professionals I was talking too were staring at my chest instead of listening to my words. I went back to wearing minimising bras and tanks under my work clothes to flatten myself, but given my added stress I think I just came off as frazzled. Not my most productive months, I assure you.
My girlfriend and I were living in different countries for a year (making the previous comic a little misleading… the analogy just works better by pretending she was in the same room) which gave my imagination plenty of time to stir up trouble. It’s fine for her to tell me ‘you’re beautiful!’ over the phone, but how could I be sure she’d still love my physical body when it had changed so much? I really shouldn’t have thought that way, because when I went to visit her I was the basically the heaviest I’d been in who knows how long, and she acted as though she didn’t even notice. But that’s the thing about those paranoid voices, they don’t necessarily have to make sense, they just have to be loud enough to get your attention.
I have to be honest, I drew this page and really didn’t know where in the story it would fit, because it could rightly fit just about anywhere. This seems as good a place as any. Please enjoy this demonstration of my girlfriend and I mixing up our girlfriend vision/low self esteem goggles. I wish this were actually possible, because I would love to live a day seeing myself the way she sees me. I’d probably walk around naked all day and dance with every step.
While my gf and I were living apart, we’d send each other a lot of letters and gifts. Drawing a little ‘chubby’ cartoon of myself inside a card actually felt extremely empowering - look, I’ve gained all this weight, I’m chubby, and I’m ok with it! I might even be cute! Be PROUD of me! While my gf appreciated the gesture, she couldn’t pretend that my vision was accurate. It seemed like such a slap in the face. I felt like I’d really made progress in terms of accepting my new, heavier figure, so to learn that I was still trying to accept an illusion felt like being dragged back to the start. Recovery is such a slow process. I was desperate to jump ahead to the ‘accept yourself as you are’ part when I was still stuck in the depths of complete body dysmorphia. I’m learning that with these things you just have to slow down and take time.
Also, still finding my feet on the new tumblr layout - does anyone know how to link individual posts? I can’t update my links from the previous comic because I can’t find a way to link to one comic page at a time anymore.