I've spent the last 10 years searching for something I've never found. Ever. I've come close to the feeling, but only through the trials and tribulations of manipulating myself into forms my soul just quite didn't fit. One day its one thing, another it's the next, and one by one, these 'forms' have swallowed me whole, consumed me entirely, until there's simply a shell of a person left.

Starvation, calorie counting, bulimia, anxiety, depression - a deep wormhole of my own self-hatred - all of which have brought me to where I am today. These are the tactics (metaphorically speaking) that I've clung to. And, now, I'm so deep in my own mind, that sometimes I don't even recognize myself falling back into old habits anymore.

I've had brief encounters with self-love, of course. I've had days, weeks, months even, where I've felt at peace. Yet, the word 'brief' has the most significance here. These periods of my life are gone within a blink of an eye and suddenly I find myself back where I started, clinging to an unfortunately familiar vice that always leaves me feeling the same.

The earliest memory I have of my own self-destruction was when I was about 13. I remember having a photo with a group of friends after a fun day swanning around the city, thinking we were ladies of leisure, despite having school at 8am the next day. We'd stopped to have the obligatory 'day-out' snap, and up until that point I remember having laughed, smiled, and giggled my way through a cold winter Sunday. I stared down at this image of myself and suddenly felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed to be that girl in the photo staring back at me. A frenzied cluster of emotions ran through my body and something inside me clicked - a switch inside my brain had been turned on and I found that my mind had been ordered on a mission it hadn't quite prepared itself for. Running my eyes over my 'large' thighs and scanning the petite pals next to me, I swore I would never be that girl again. I just couldn't not be 'perfect' like the rest of them.

I guess 'perfection' is different to everyone - for me, it has always been to see myself as flawless, and for everything I do in life to be flawless. I want to be this effortless person, with an effortless lifestyle and the effortless instagram account that everyone fawns over. This lifelong hunt of mine has been to capture this beauty - to embody this image I have of myself, of my dream self - and become something completely different to the person I truly I am, or to who my 13 year old self was. I mean, I don't think I truly know what this 'perfect' self is yet, since I've never found it, but there's a force within me that's constantly willing me to get there.

This perfection I see in others is a mystery to me. There's something I see in other people - in their appearance, in their souls, in their lives - that I've just never seen within myself. I often wonder what it'd be like to live an anxiety-free life, waking up with the perfectly formed body, the healthy glowing skin, the problem-less money and the clear career path. I daydream about waking up with nothing but thoughts of my early morning coffee on my mind, and going about life not wondering how I can make myself better, make myself 'desirable'. But, if there's one thing that I've noticed through all these years of pining after the same distant illusion, one thing that has always stopped me in my tracks, it's that...

I am in fact a very flawed person.

I am imperfect.

Amidst every thing that I portray online, I am someone who struggles. I am someone with issues on top of issues, and life often feels incredibly heavy to me. There are small fleeting moments in my life where I find silence, usually around loved ones and days where I'm distracted from my phone. I don't wake up to the sound of bird song with a perfectly poured latte in hand and I definitely don't have a 10 step skincare routine made up of La Roche Posay and Emma Hardie cleansers. I don't have a perfectly toned body and a wardrobe to die for, and I don't have a lot of money, ever. The internet is an illusion, I know that about my own life, for sure, but there's something inside me that stops me applying that to other people too. I'm not saying that what I share is a lie, of course, I just find that I'm constantly trying to live up to the standard that other people portray, even though they're most likely in that same sinking ship as I am.

Throughout the last 10 years, I've gone from a teenager to a young woman and within that, I've still helplessly clung onto the hopes and dreams of my 13 year old self. I've slid past parts of life that would have taught me things, that would have helped me grow, and that in itself has been one of my biggest downfalls. I mean, I've managed to become someone that I'm content with personality wise. I think my parents shaped me into a kind, polite and understanding person, and I'm forever grateful for that, but I feel like there's a missing part of me that would make me stronger, that would have helped me fight for more, that would have given me more of a sense of self.

I guess that thing would be confidence. I think I'm missing that compelling feeling of 'I'm okay as I am' and that 'I don't need to change'. There's something inside me that is consistently convincing me that I'm wrong. My face is wrong, my body is wrong, that everything I do and create is wrong. Wouldn't it be nice to knock that feeling?

I've never stepped back and just let myself 'stop', despite the amount of days I spend nestled in my duvet, with only the screen of a Netflix show to light up the room. Even in the moments where I think I'm finally taking some time to be at peace, there's still a whirlwind of thoughts consuming me, a whole world of deep-seated hurt that is circling around my mind. And, maybe I'll never know what it's like not to be preoccupied with all-consuming thoughts. Maybe I'll write endlessly about how my eating disorders have taken over my life, about how I feel lost in a world full of picture-perfect lives. Maybe that's just how my life is meant to be. There are thousands of days which have passed me by, all caught up in a daze of 'perfection', and it's frightening that that might be forever for me.

It would be remarkable if I could just quieten the noise a tiny bit. I would love to wake up to an empty mind and a fresh feeling one day. I want to care less and live more, nothing standing in my way to push me back down. I wish to stop comparing my lives to others, my body to others, as I am not them, and I wish I could find contentment in all that I am and do. I want the weight of the world to be lifted from my shoulders and contemplating perfection to simply be a thing of the past.

Soon I hope to accept myself, flaws and all.

"unless I am myself, I am nobody". - Virginia Wolf