these matches of mine

I don’t like the way my hair falls. I don’t like that it’s not light or wavy or effortless. I don’t like that my hair is frizzy and never seems to stay in place. I don’t like my eyes. I think they look too tired all the time. I don’t like that they are sparkless and dull, that the distance between them never seems right. I don’t like that they see the world from behind glasses. I like my nose but I don’t like how allergic it is to dust. I don’t like my cheekbones because they don’t consistently surface. I don’t like how small my mouth is. I don’t like how the ends of my lips droop down instead of curve slightly upwards. I don’t like that my teeth aren’t conventionally straight or white. I don’t like the gaps between them. I don’t like my jawline. I wish it were sharper. I wish it could cut. I wish it would cast a shadow on my neck under the sun. I don’t like my neck. I wish it were longer, thinner. I don’t like my shoulders because they slouch. I want them to be straight, like you could balance the whole world on it. I don’t like my collarbones. They’re not prominent enough. I don’t like my arms or my fingers because I think they can be so much more slender. I don’t like my wrist because I can’t wrap my thumb and index finger around it and still have space left. I don’t like my nails because I keep picking at them when I get bored and anxious. I like my chest but years of being made fun of make me feel like I shouldn’t like it, that I shouldn’t be satisfied. I don’t like my stomach for the mere fact that it’s not flat. I don’t like that I can’t see a slither of my ribs. I don’t like that I don’t wear cropped clothing because of it. I don’t like my hips because I think they’re too wide. They make every fitted dress that I wear look wrong and I didn’t think someone could look wrong in dresses. I don’t like how my thighs look in jeans. I think they look terrible, even more so in skirts. I don’t like how much of a seat they take up. I don’t like my calf because they’re not straight. I don’t wear knee-high socks because of them and I would love to. I don’t like that one of my foot is half a size larger than the other one.

And it sounds ridiculous. And it sounds like a lot. That is a lot for a person to not like about herself. But I’m not finished. In fact, there are more matches in my matchbox that keep constant my fire of inferiority, matches that I hate.

I hate that I am never enough; not by anyone’s standards, especially not my own, will I ever be smart enough, pretty enough, or successful enough. I am painstakingly average on my own terms and if someone tries to convince me otherwise, I hate that I can’t believe them. I hate that I overthink. I hate being eaten whole by helplessness. I hate that I only feel satisfaction when my planner is filled to the brim. I hate that I spread myself thin. I hate half the things I say and write. I hate my own voice. I hate crying myself to sleep at least once a week. I hate waking up and seeing myself in the mirror. I hate waking up. I hate feeling like I can’t catch my breath, that I can’t catch up with people my age when they talk about things like cars and shoes, cheese and wine, goddamn cryptocurrencies and politics. I hate feeling like my words hold less weight than a water droplet. I hate not being worthy of even an ounce of attention no matter what conversation I participate in, which room I preside in. I hate that no matter how much I try and I try, I will always be the second choice, the plus one, the “you can come if you want”. I hate never being prioritized—not by myself or anyone else. I hate how tired I am from working every single day; working on myself, my career, my studies, my friendships, my relationships, my family, my commitments. I hate accepting that whatever I do, the bar keeps rising and rising; that I have the wings to fly but I am the reason my feet are stuck to the ground.

But all of that combined does not hold a candle to how much I hate knowing that there are people out there who take me for who I am, but also knowing that I can never see myself through their eyes. And so I burn, I burn, and I burn. Until the matches run out and the flame goes out.

Note: This was written over the course of a rough week. It might not be how I feel every day, but it applies three days out of seven. I am still trying to grapple with the fact that there are things about myself that I cannot change, that I can only learn to tolerate if love is out of the question. The purpose of this write-up is less of a cry for help and more of me explaining to myself how irrational it is to dislike so much about myself. However, as a short list of counters, the following:

  • I like my confidence. I’d like to think I got it from my parents.
  • I like that no matter how much I might hate what I write, I always keep writing.
  • To quote Martyn, “Your stubbornness. [As in] you pick up a lot of things on your plate like an idiot but still manage to get everything done as promised.”