Perception

30.9.16


Mirrors, photographs and videos, they're all such a major part of my life, yet they all make my head feel like such a huge jumbled mess sometimes.
One of my most popular blog posts (in fact, I think it might actually be my most popular) is Body Dysmorphia: A Forever Changing Reflection. I felt incredibly proud of that post - a lot of people found it helpful, others found it insightful since they had no concept of the topic and lots of you shared it and helped me in spreading awareness of what Body Dysmorphia is all about.

It's no doubt that Body Dysmorphia is a part of my life. More often than not however, I'm incredibly capable of handling it. That for no moment at all, of course, means that I can't have moments where I feel unbelievably confused and like I'm seeing a million different perceptions of myself.


I was chatting with my Mum the other day when the topic came up. I remember mentioning how often I can see a photo of myself and think 'Oh, is that what I look like?' because when I look in a mirror I tend to see something that's the complete opposite of that photo.

I think something that people don't tend to touch on in terms of this topic, is how your perception of yourself changes not just when you see your reflection in a mirror, but when you look at an image or video or even look at your body just simply by facing downwards towards your toes. Every different angle changes the way that I see my body and the way I'll feel about it.
It's also not always the idea of thinking that you're 'fat' or parts of yourself are 'too big'. There are times when I see myself at an angle where I think 'Wow, is that really how slim I look?!' and I'm not thinking of it in a positive way. Sometimes I see myself looking a little 'too thin' and can think that I look just as 'ugly' as when I see myself as 'too fat'.

When I look in a mirror I can feel so so confused - especially considering a lot of mirrors can make you look a different height or shape just due to the bloody glass they use (lol, mind fuck, am I right?). I know for a fact that my bedroom mirror can actually make me look a little shorter and stumpier than I appear in real life, so I always keep that in mind when I'm looking in it. I also know that the mirrors in the ladies toilets at Euston Station are actually quite flattering and I never feel bad when I look in those, whereas the mirrors in most Zara changing rooms make me feel like an ogre and like I should never try on a piece of clothing ever again.

When I see photos of myself, it often depends on what camera is used to take the photo to make me feel a certain way about the image. If a photo is taken on an I Phone camera, I'll often like what I see and think I look pretty nice, whereas sometimes when bigger DSLR cameras are used, I can think I look horribly frumpy or that my face looks X 100000 'fatter'... I suppose it can also depend on the lens that gets used too.

Videos are where I can get incredibly mixed up sometimes. For example, when I film lookbook videos for my YouTube channel, my body just looks nothing like what I think it does in the mirror. I often think my figure looks pretty great on video footage, but I'm not ever sure whether it's the video or the mirror reflection that has the true depiction of myself.

It's a total brain farty life to lead hahaha (beautiful use of words hol), but I've definitely learnt to live with it!


PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON DAVIS

It's funny to think that I'm actually not too sure of what I look like, yet pretty much everything I do in my life involves images of myself or videos or mirrors. I think the fact that my life is filled with constantly seeing myself at different angles or in different formats, just means that I've had to trust the words of other people and oddly, that's actually helped with the way that I now see myself.

Of course, there are always going to be times where I look at a photo and think 'Oh hell no' or try on a piece of clothing and think 'nopeeeeee' but compared to the days where I'd stand in front of my mirror for hours, tearing my appearance down, things have definitely changed.
I find myself feeling more and more comfortable in my skin day by day, and yes, it may only be by 0.1% each day, but at least there's progress. It's great that I can know if my mind is warping my perception on a bad day or if I'm completely over analyzing what I look like, because I used to just think I would be living my life feeling like this shape shifter and never really 'seeing' myself.

As someone going through something like this, you really do just have to put your faith in other people. Yes, I might continuously repeat the question 'are you really sure?' when I ask my Mum if I should upload a certain photo of myself and she tells me it's 'beautiful', but eventually, I'll just trust in her opinion and post it. Situations like that have made me realise that what we see when we look at ourselves, isn't what others will see. Other people don't focus in on all of our flaws and tear us down, other people see all the positive and amazing features that we have, that we ourselves never take notice of. It causes you to think a little more positively about everything because we can just be so so harsh and judgmental on ourselves that sometimes listening to what other people perceive us as, can make us realise that maybe we're not that bad after all...

7 comments

  1. Girl I loved this post so much, and I identify with it on so many levels.

    I've never been diagnosed with dysmorphia, and therefore I don't by any stretch of the imagination want to claim that I have it but with each post you write about it I can see so much of myself in your writing and I guess that I'm learning a lot more about myself too, in a good way. It's helping to understand how I feel about myself and my image, and also that how I see myself could (and probably is) worlds away from how others do.

    It's also meant that I'm finally starting to believe my loved ones when they tell me I look nice, and that again is increasing my confidence with my wardrobe, experimenting with new clothes, and with how I shoot for my blog as well.

    So most of all I wanted to say thank you <3

    LJLV | Fashion. Lifestyle. London

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    Replies
    1. Aw Lucy, i'm so glad you liked it. It makes me so warm inside to know that me writing about this is helping you to understand yourself more and that our perception of ourselves can be so incredibly off most of the time! You should definitely believe your loved ones because you're gorgeous and need to know it!

      You're soooo welcome and thank you for being so lovely! xx

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  2. So very proud of you .. Beautiful both inside and out xx

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  3. This was absolutely beautiful and so relatable. It was like you were speaking right into my soul.

    Jess Founder of FBL Bloggers

    www.lookwhatigot.co.uk
    www.fblbloggers.com

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  4. Wonderful post to read. I'm relatively new to your blog so have only read a few posts but I feel many of us can relate to this. I completely get that feeling of confusion looking in different mirrors, it's crazy how something so simple can alter your perception of yourself and affect your mood. Also, what is with the Zara mirrors/lighting?? I feel you on that so bad haha, I just have to remind myself 'it's not you it's the lighting' every time.

    Sarah

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah - it can be so horrible to feel so confused! And yes, what is up with the lighting in Zara?! haha! xx

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