I can still see her big brown eyes staring back, cold and empty.
They glisten with tears as she tries to suppress back her sobs. Her hair is stringy and drawn in all directions, her body slumps down, and her face is scattered with freckles. The heaviness in her heart is apparent, flashing. Her lack of confidence glooms over her with a bulls-eye on her back and the word “ugly” hangs around her neck.
But I can’t bear to look at her any longer. As I turn my face to block her from my view I press my back against the wall and slide to the floor. My heart pounds hard in my chest.
The mirror has never been my best friend.
That is a just a taste of the episodes I use to have before I acknowledged I had an issue with my body image and self-esteem. It was a never ending cycle. Up, down, up, down, up, down. Rock bottom down.
I know the feeling of looking into the mirror and having my thoughts consumes my mind, my body, and my soul. It an almost physical and mental battle, a battle I know many of us still struggle with.
But after years of being dominated by the negative voices that lived inside me I chose to stand up. Slowly I began to rid myself of the negative influences in my life. I replaced my demeaning comments with positive complements, I filled my room pictures of happy moments and beautiful people, and I challenged the mirror every morning. I stopped slouching and avoiding eye contact with those around me, and instead held my head up high.
Looking back I realize I was participating in the ideals of what Beauty for Ashes is built upon before the program even existed! I was able to change my perspective on myself and transform my anxiety into confidence.
Nowadays when I step on stage to facilitate a workshop I keep in mind all my experiences and my struggle. I don’t ignore them, but rather embrace them because it is part of my story.
Beauty for Ashes is my reminder that even though I have been at rock bottom I can still make myself new, like a phoenix being reborn from the ashes .