A nosebleed helped me learn to love myself.
How, you might ask? Well, first I have to give you some background.
I was in 7th grade when two boys from my class messaged me to meet them because they “thought I was cute.” When I said no, because I didn’t really know them, I was bombarded with hate. Words like “ugly” and “fat” kept appearing in their little AIM bubbles. The next day most of the popular girls came in pointing their finger at me, laughing, and congratulating the two boys.
As you can expect, my self-esteem was crushed. I genuinely hated my body and myself. So much so, that for the rest of my middle school career I would use only one arm, as the other arm was always covering my stomach. In high school I was never asked to a dance and I thought this was because I was ugly, fat, and that no one wanted to be seen with me. There were multiple nights of uncontrollably sobbing because I was positive that every single outfit in my closet made me look fat. Who said you couldn’t wear an oversized sweatshirt to the Christmas Eve service?
Multiple times of not doing cartwheels because my shirt would fly up and everyone would see my stomach. Multiple times of sitting beside the pool, because I didn’t want to wear a swimsuit. Multiple times of trying to turn my self-hate into a joke by yelling, “here comes the fat girl” before jumping into the pool. I grew to hate the mirror.
I didn’t seek help until my second semester of college. That’s where I learned that I am a self-hate addict. I was addicted to hating myself. I didn’t know how to stop and even if I wanted to, I didn’t know where to begin.
My hate for myself was something rooted in my brain. It’s not alcoholism or an addiction to drugs. I can’t go to detox for my self-hate. I learned this was going to take a lot of work to conquer. I learned that what happened to me was hard, but it doesn’t have to define me. I have a confident side, and for too long I have let that hide because of this addiction. I also learned that I can get better, but I can relapse.
So, how did I learn to love myself from a bloody nose?
After getting help I went home for the summer, expecting to keep growing in my faith and finding confidence in myself. After a string of unfortunate events, both expectations went by the wayside. I was weak in my faith and even weaker in my confidence. This was a setback. But I remembered and refocused on what I had learned months prior and as aresult, headed back up to school refreshed and ready to conquer this problem. I had battled with it for 8 years too long.
I was doing really well… until I relapsed again. See, at my school they have this event where a boy asks a girl to a group of activities spaced out over the weekend. The asking was on a Monday. I didn’t get asked. I tried convincing myself that I was fine with not going, but satan used this as a foothold to attack me.
Friday was the first event and I was helping my roommates get ready for the dance. I was sitting right beside the mirror when I looked over, and instead of seeing one of God’s beautiful creations, I saw every flaw. I let satan get to me. I let him brainwash me into thinking that just because I didn’t get asked that I would never get married. I let him sit in my brain for the whole weekend interpreting all my thoughts and spitting them out into depressing thoughts.
On Saturday night I had had enough. My roommate came into the room and asked if I was okay. I started bawling. She held me for a while until she had to leave. I stayed in my room and cried some more. I have never cried so hard in my life. I was crying because I was mad at myself for believing in satan’s whispered lies. I was crying because when my parents asked how my weekend was, I would have to be honest and say that I started hating myself again. I was crying because I knew how much my addiction hurt my parents. I was crying because I knew how much this has to hurt God. Then I got a bloody nose…
I cried so hard I got a bloody nose. When I went to the mirror to see how bad it was, for some reason I started laughing. Laughing so hard that my sad tears mixed with joyous ones. I was laughing because I cried so hard that I got a bloody nose. I was laughing because when I finally get through this addiction this will be a great story to tell my best friends and help others.
I stopped laughing just enough to notice how beautiful my smile was. I thanked God for making my smile so beautiful, so that I can show the world His glory and joy through my smile. Then I noticed my eyes. They are so blue, and I had never noticed until they were stained from my tears just how beautiful they are.
Then I went to my lips. I never noticed how beautiful they were. Then to my nose, and how beautiful it is when my nostrils flare and quiver when I laugh. I went all throughout my body and noticed all the beautiful qualities. Not the qualities that are beautiful to the world, I noticed the qualities that are beautiful to God because He formed me.
I ended with the beautiful qualities on the inside. How my eyes are beautiful because they see people for who they truly are, not how the world portrays them. My smile is beautiful because I love to show the joy of the Lord. My lips are beautiful because I get to speak to the Lord with those lips. I ended the night laughing and smiling and praying. God has brought me trough this addiction. Something I never thought would happen. Something I thought was impossible.
I know that I am beautiful not by how the world defines me, but by how God sees me. And that is the only thing that matters. I might relapse again, but I am reminded of what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10. Gods’ power is enough, we should rejoice in our weakness because we get to learn from them. “For when I am weak then I am strong.”
Ladies, go jump in the pool randomly with your friends. Go do cartwheels. Go look in the mirror and truly love your body. Don’t be afraid to scream it from the rooftops. We are defined by the beauty of God and all His glory, not from the standards of this world. God sees you in His perfect image. Rejoice in that. Rejoice in the time that God took to form your inmost parts, every detail.
“For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)