Listen, I’ll just go ahead and say it. I have BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder.) It’s the obsession of a physical flaw that may be minor or, most of time, in my case, imagined.
For example, I obsess over my hairline, I obsess over my jawline, I obsess over my lips. Sometimes I see myself in the mirror and think I’m chubby and pregnant, then other times I will see myself as a famished corpse. There’s really no in between.
It’s like a high frequency beam that is both mind-numbing and breaks my concentration; however, what’s odd is I don’t always feel ugly. There are times where I can walk by a store window and feel confident. But the thing with BDD is it follows, waiting for you to walk by a poster of a Calvin Klein model in the mall.
A lot of times I compare myself to guys on Google. Hell, sometimes Instagram and Tumblr are my worst enemies. Let’s face it though, they’ve got the best cake.
I rarely take group photos, I go through spells where I don’t use my actual profile picture, I pick my skin, I either avoid mirrors or stare deeply into them; god forbid I get hung up in a dressing room.
Don’t laugh, but the best way to describe it is like being Mr. Potato Head. A fabulous, confident Mr. Potato Head, may I add, and then this angry toddler removes your best features and replaces it with something ugly. You’ll be in a panic, trying your best to remove the horrible insecurity and damn does the child shake the hell out of you.
Then, right when you’re on the edge of breaking down, this kid becomes calm, removes the ugly affliction and puts back the nose you like– then he replaces your eyebrows with caterpillars and, once more, the vicious cycle continues.
But please know that I’m not posting this because I want you to say I’m beautiful or good-looking. As a matter of fact, I know I’m attractive. My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world, and I praise the Heavens I inherited her looks.
The only person who really needs to tell me I’m beautiful is me.
And I also posted this because it’s actually a very, very common psychological disorder… especially with gay guys. For real, I’ve seen a 20 year old guy almost break down cause someone joked about him having a non-existent grey hair.
I’ve seen guys in the basement of a gay club wash their hands in the bathroom sink, then stop and stare desperately at their reflections. Sometimes it’s four of them.
I’ve had a guy LITERALLY start blubbering on my shoulder because he turned 34 and referred to himself as worn-down, old leather. Shit, he acted as if the stock market crashed. (Btw he actually looked about 27.)
I’ve seen genuinely adorable, beautiful guys who legit will get all crazy just because they aren’t good enough or their skin is too pale. Holy hell, I once liked a guy who, in his words, was “fat and disgusting.” I mean, yeah, he wasn’t skinny then, but he has one of the most handsome mugs I’ve EVER seen to this day. Like, for real.
Even one of my best friends thinks he is “gay fat” (I hate that term.)
Again, I’m not posting this because I want you to tell me I’m hot or sexy or gorgeous. I’m posting this because I want you to tell yourself that you’re beautiful. I want to feel okay in your skin. I want you to try and not let this mental plague get the best of you.
Oh, and just breathe.
And stop using tanning beds, cause you’ll end up like a baked Mr. Potato Head.
Madness spun like a string on a thumb growing tighter and cutting off circulation, or a spider web crafted, sometimes it’s torn and sometimes it’s the perfect snare.
Frustration, constantly critiquing their every move and sentence and word. There is even a struggle between what is too arrogant and what is too humble.
They often times stumble down, mumble in the morning and grow weary of every question. A true poet hates the title, for it makes them feel superior inside a shell.
Hell, it’s a place where typos haunt them, full of English teachers and multiple fun house mirrors. If only there were a way to erase the pretentious eighteen.
The angst, the edge, the eye roll; it’s a reminder that growing pains can drive one insane, and without evolution there would always be Billy Blue or Suzie Q.
Nevertheless, a former student’s naivety always comes back like a boomerang or a rumor passed along over bummed cigarettes and the hardest question one can ask:
“Will you read this? Can you tell me what you think?” Because even the most precious words come with a cringe, a finger on the self-destruct button and an apology.
There’s always a bullet traveling in the dark, it can either miss or go straight to the heart; even when the bull’s eye plucked, there is the shadow of soot on the wall.
And poets even hate other poets, because they know it will either be worse or better. The latter comes from admiration, for people tend to destroy what they love.
It’s a dragging duty, really, to sacrifice sand without the ability to flip the hourglass, and their turmoil can be truly felt until they can no longer write.
I believe if I ever found it, they would try and destroy it, because even the smallest dream held like a pebble in my hand isn’t safe from the cruelest of erosion.
I also think if I discovered the seven seas in his eyes and deep currents under the gaze, a person dressed as Moses would divide it down the middle.
The lessons I’ve learned is that for every butterfly is a ginormous child with a jar who is ready to close the lid and prevent precious moments from fluttering my way.
But, of course, the container is transparent and I can see it scatter around and try to escape, only it’s me who suffocates from such tireless efforts.
For I am too aware to give them the benefit, but not strong enough to deal with every break and bust of waves that say goodbye, and letting go seems impossible.
And my endless search for perfection leaves me flawed and cracked beneath their boot, like frigid ice or eggshells thrown about the linoleum floor.
Sometimes the things I desire end up broken, or is it the wretched who are drawn to me? As moths to a dull flame or ghosts to a medium guiding misdirection.
With screws screwed over and instability mistaken for flamboyance, they, too, crave that life can fall into place and not pour off the sides of bar top plateaus flat as beer.
It never fails, heads or tails, two sides of a coin dropped down a well and all surprises become bleak in the horizon where the sun sets and rises again and again.
Even in the mirror I see a conquest which always seems out of reach, because no matter how much one changes gravity is evident and goals become more difficult.
Sometimes I wonder if really there is anything to destroy, because what if perfection doesn’t exist? Of course we’re fat and pale and wired by tablets prescribed.
But there has to be a place where folded arms open and vulnerability unravels like scrolls with written hearts on the soul traveling through the universe.
There has to be a destination in which somebody tells you that you’re perfect, regardless of imperfections taking up every single doomed threshold.
Perhaps I can acquire this fantasy in a purple desert lying horizontal below tiger-orange skies inside my own solitude and silent sounds.
And the realization hits all at once, for it was already in me and every animal on the Earth’s blemished face, a little bird trapped in my rib cage.
So I’ve stopped looking for perfection and now pray someone will notice it flying around within my nestled, wandering spirit.