Battling Self-Hatred: Why You Are Worth Fighting For

Battling Self-Hatred: Why You Are Worth Fighting For

Some days I cannot look at myself in the mirror. I brush my teeth, scrub my face, slick my hair back in the simplest possible style- all with my eyes carefully averted. Even catching the slightest glimpse can start an avalanche of hate. “Ugly, fat, gross.” I feel like I should apologize for anyone forced to look at me. I consider converting to Islam and taking up the burqa, it seems less complicated.

I never tell anyone this. Saying that you feel ugly has become such a passive aggressive game that it can never be a mere expression of feeling. You must be fishing for compliments, you obviously want to hear the opposite. And if you have good friends, an attentive lover, a comforting spouse, of course their only reaction will be one of reassurance. “No, no, no. You’re so pretty!” Scooping up the puddle of your ego and patting it back into shape.

This is why I do not speak aloud of my inner spite. Being comforted does not make me feel better. It makes me want to slice off all of my skin until my entire body is one bright, throbbing wound, staining the ground around me with the color of my insides.

And the ugly, fat, gross litany is far from the only one that haunts my head. There is “Stupid, worthless, lazy.” “Slut, bitch, liar, useless whore.” When all else fails, there is simply “I hate myself and I want to die.” Thanks Kurt Cobain, genius of distillation. That phrase is more of a soothingly frayed stuffed animal at this point. I run my hands along the seams again and again, my fingerprints and DNA embedded in every inch. I catch myself repeating it out loud, under my breath, when no one else is around.

Some days that’s all that keeps me going, the one thing this world cannot take away from me: that I have a choice. That I could end this, that I could leave, I could make it stop. I’m sure that sounds strange to anyone who has never experienced depression or self-hatred, but it’s comforting to know that in a universe designed to drown us all I have this tiny sliver of control.

This is how I survive. I take that shard and build my crooked kingdom upon it. I could shoot myself today but one of the girls has a test tomorrow and who else will explain quadratic equations to her. I could slit my wrists but my mom really has no one else to talk to and if she doesn’t have her daily gossip session with me she’s going to get nervous and panicky. I could take this bottle of pills but my dog needs his walkies and his treats and his brushy time and squeaky-toy-wrestle-mania-palooza.

Usually it’s the dog that gets me. It takes so little to make him over-the-moon joyful. I’m not cruel enough to shatter his happiness.

Sometimes that’s the only way to keep going forward, delicately feeling your way around the hole inside of you. You reach out to the places where someone needs you, even if only in the smallest ways. Slowly the picture shifts until you instead see the hole you would leave in the world with your absence.

I’m not going to pretend it’s easy. It’s a war and it’s a war every. single. time. But you are worth the battle. I am worth the fight.

And on the days when you can’t remember why you matter, make do with remembering that you are needed. Someone’s world will be emptier without you. There is an old man on a bench that only you smile and say good morning to. There is a friend who will miss your hugs, a girl who is waiting for your kisses. There is a little dog resting with his chin on the stairs and he will wait all day long and every day after.

4 thoughts on “Battling Self-Hatred: Why You Are Worth Fighting For”

  1. I kept meaning to comment on this…. and well, I ket putting it off.
    I have never met you, and always imagine you as someone I would love to know. You are mystical, you’re Earthy, kind and wise beyond your years. Youre somewhat fairy or pixie like and beautiful and you make me laugh for no reason. You bake cookies that as light as a feather and serve tea in whimsical cups and your sugar cubes look sparkly. Your home is covered with wildflowers, and is in the woods. Pretty odd imagination eh? But your ‘my’ Jenna friend online and I adore you.
    There have been days you have made me roll with laughter, your comebacks are witty. Sometimes you are thought provoking. See? You have a fan, and for this one more person you do make a difference.

    I have to try and explain some of these things to my niece. About a month ago now, she tried ending it all. The details are sketchy, and it doesnt matter as the ‘how’ but she sought a permanent solution to a temporary problem. She is young, beautiful, and frightfully everyone says she reminds them of me when I was that age in many ways.

    In any case , you Jenna, are worth it. You always will be. There is only one you, and you have a purpose.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your niece, Ellen. I try to remember how it felt at that age when I talk to the girls about things, how every tiny event was magnified and urgent and spinning. She’s lucky to have you and if she is anything like you, she will make it through this even stronger. If there’s anything I can do to help, please tell me.

      Your friendship and your kind words mean so much to me. I feel the same, we may not “know” each other, but I feel like I know an important part of you.

      This has been probably my most viewed post ever, thousands of strangers have read it, and I totally get why no one comments. Sometimes, what can you say? I do love my life, I try to enjoy every second, but I think it’s important to talk about the darkness as well.

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