When I heard Taylor Swift’s song “Mean”, a chord was struck. I’m sure that’s pretty true for many females over the age of 9. Who wouldn’t want to sing/say that to anyone who has ever bullied you or made you feel bad about yourself? It came on Pandora the other day and I realized the biggest bully in my life is myself. Talk about breakthrough and breakdown.
I think I was nine or ten years old the first time I measured how wide I was (front to back) and was unhappy with what I saw. Cue food issues. I made so many rules about eating, I could hardly keep track of them all. But I was on a mission to be perfect in so many ways, the perfect body (whatever that is, especially when you’re ten) included. If I failed at eating one day, one meal, I would spend hours beating myself up. I would wake up in the middle of the night and obsess, setting all kinds of boundaries for the next day and the next until I’d undone the fail. My heart aches now for that little girl.
I was brutal to myself in so many ways. I was never good enough in my own eyes. Perfection the goal, failure my view of my reality. When so-called friends did bad things to me, I blamed them. They were at fault. I’ve come to realize that I was the mean one…I was the one who let unfaithful people in my life who would prey on my own insecurities. Had I been stronger, had a better and more realistic view of myself, they never would have had the chance, or even if they did, I would have been able to handle it better.
You couldn’t pay me enough money to go back to middle and high school. I don’t want to be that girl anymore. But then again, if I could go back, and talk to that girl, tell her how strong and perfect she truly is, it would be worth it. There are blessings to being over 40. I know who I am. I know I’m not perfect, but I am easier on myself. Those impossible standards I used to set are grayed-out. I can still see them if I look very hard. When I “fail”, and sometimes start to obsess about that failure, I just sigh and think that tomorrow is a new, clean, fresh day. Now when I hear the song “Mean”, I think about those voices in my own head telling me I’m not good enough, not thin enough, not young-looking enough, not perfect. I tell those voices to shut it. And I move on.