I Faced My Self-Loathing and Found Sunshine
In middle school and high school, I always seemed to hang around kids older than I was. I would always be introduced to things that were far beyond my maturity level.
I was still a youngster compared to most of my so-called "friends" who were about to graduate high school/college, but I looked up to them. It didn't matter what they were doing or how they were doing it. All that DID matter to me was that they were exciting people with exciting lives that seemed to move faster and burn brighter than everyone else. It didn't take long for me to learn that there is no such thing as eternal sunshine. You see, I was taught at a young age that it was "normal" to take pills to have fun. Many of these substances would remove my appetite as well. My jean size dropped but I was told by my peers that the look was cool because it made me look like a rock star. Some time later, I had moved away from home and the partying had gotten so out of control there would be periods of time without any real food…without any real sunlight!
I had become thin, pale, and frail looking…barely recognizable to even myself. That eternal sunshine seemed so long ago. It had turned to complete darkness. I had become moody, angry, and depressed. I hated my new self image. Living in the City of Angels, where everyone seems to judge everyone by their appearance, made me even more self conscious. I had always wanted to pursue a career in entertainment but decided I needed to become bigger and stronger like my favorite actors and athletes that walk around LA. So I added steroids to my ever growing list of abusive substances. Yet I never achieved the body image that I was seeking. I would always get to be too big or too small and could never achieve self-satisfaction. I would just grow more and more frustrated which led to using more and more drugs.
My first trip to the hospital as a result of all the damage I had done to my body scared me. It helped put everything into perspective. It helped me realize that I hadn't only been damaging my body, I had been damaging my life. Looking back on it, it's kind of ironic how I had managed to shut out everyone in my life who cared about me and kept only the people close who couldn't care less.
I went into a recovery program shortly after the hospital trip and learned more about myself there in 20 days than I had in my previous 20 years. What did I take away from my time there? Happiness is internal. It's about caring for our bodies and for ourselves and being happy with whatever God has given us. Until we can acknowledge our own beautiful attributes, how can we expect others to acknowledge them? I hid from my problems my whole life. I hid behind a wall of fear, bad decisions, peer pressure, self-hate, and self-loathing. The happiest day of my life was the day I learned how to stand face to face with each and every one of these problem. One of the most valuable things I can do now is to help others to do the same by sharing my message with them. If I can deliver one message, it is this: I promise the sunshine is a lot warmer and brighter on this side of the wall.
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net