I have always had a distinct mental image of myself. It’s literally a little version of me who stands in the centre of the blackness of my mind, suspended in the empty space behind my eyes, reflecting my impression of my physical and metaphysical self.
This image has changed throughout my life. The first memory of my mental self comes from my childhood. I was innocent in outlook and physicality, looking out into the world with wide open eyes, a shy yet curious gaze through a fringe of unruly hair. Unaware of any judgement that might come from my physical appearance. I think this is from my preteen years, when I was 10 or 11.
In my next image I’m older, 16, shy and gangly and awkward. In my mind I’m awkwardly tall and hunching over to hide that height, my face hidden behind unattractive glasses, my hair plain, too long, held back simply in a low ponytail. I’m wearing a t-shirt that hides my figure, high-waisted jeans practical for chores and outside work that reveal nothing of my femininity. Shy, with no confidence, wanting to make friends but too uncertain to leave the edges of the social settings I find myself in. At home only with animals and the outdoors, a girl who experiences nothing but confusion when it comes to her own species. A dreamer who reads and creates marvellous adventures in her head but can’t interact with the reality around her.
The teenage awkwardness abated as I grew used to my body, and my mental image changed. My inner height changed to match my physical height and I no longer saw myself too tall and hunched over. I saw my figure begin to assert itself in my head, although my clothes still hid most of my femininity away under the guise of modesty. My eyes reappeared in my face. I was still perplexed when it came to interacting with people my own age, but now was of an age where the adults above me began to treat me like a peer, listening and being friendly with me. Because most of that change happened at work, my adult self wore my work uniform, and my at home self was blurry and extremely confusing.
The change to what I see now was a gradual and painful one. Figuring out who I am and who I want to be; learning that I am an adult and not a child, and what that looks like in real life; figuring out how to interact with a peer set made up of people my own age…change is always chaotic but with something so integral to my mental image of my self the chaos seemed more integral to my life as well. I slipped between different mental images, particularly with my family, and it was confusing to both myself and them. It caused fights and outbursts of anger as I jumped between mental images ranging from mature independent adult to toddler in the span of five minutes. Last Christmas in particular was a time of flux that resulted in some nasty interactions with my mother, painful inflictions that thankfully haven’t left permanent damage.
And who do I see now?
A woman. Standing straight and emanating confidence as I look at the world around me. Beautiful, attractive and secure in that knowledge, feminine and strong. Capable and talented, with a strong passion for life. Alone or with people, growing comfortable with my emotions and what I want. Whatever I’m wearing, however my hair is, whether I’m wearing makeup or not, I look beautiful to myself. My appearance doesn’t depend on my externals anymore. I am a powerful, sensual, feminine adult and I know it.
Even when I am full of uncertainty my inner image doesn’t revert to the images from my uncertain times of life. I may look like a woman who doesn’t know where she’s going or why, and I may be sitting down, head in my hands, drooping or kicking and screaming and throwing a tantrum, but I am still a woman.
Yeah. I am content. Confident. Secure. Adult. Feminine. Powerful. Unthreatened.
Date of Origin - October 16th 2007