Vexed’s Megan Targett on her experiences with body dysmorphia: “You are not the opinion of those who discriminate against you”
‘Learning to love yourself’ is a sentence we all hear and see very often nowadays. But what does it mean exactly, and why is it constantly being shoved in our faces?
The truth is, we have become a generation of self-loathers and self-doubters all because of a messed-up need for perfection. Unfortunately, perfection is never going to be attainable, but it’s constantly being shown to us through incredibly well-edited photos and videos in the media, and so we’re now trying to repair decades of damage.
As a kid and teenager I was bullied for my appearance a lot, which led me to develop an eating disorder. I couldn’t look in the mirror without picking apart every single inch of myself and destroying all the love for my body I once had. This all started because people began having opinions of me and my looks and telling me that they didn’t like them. I was told by other children and adults that I was ugly, had a big nose, needed to lose weight, should wear make-up, change my clothes and even ridiculed me for not shaving my legs! Wtf is shaving anyway!?
I couldn’t handle all these opinions being thrown at me, understandably so, which led to years of depression and disordered eating. I was later diagnosed with anorexia and spent years struggling with it. What makes me most sad is that before other people started voicing their awful opinions on the way I looked, I had never questioned them. I had never looked at myself with critical eyes when I was a child and had never considered that I wasn’t good enough.
The problem with all of this, however, is that the solution starts with you and ends with you. Being kind to one another and keeping hurtful opinions to yourself is a power that we all have and must learn to control. But also learning that anyone else’s opinion of you actually doesn’t matter.
When you take away all outside opinions, social media expectations, Facetune, Photoshop, filters etc, and just listen to your inner-self, are you happy? Because before all these bullies – regarding my self-image – I was!
So if the answer is yes, then that’s fantastic! You can learn to accept that the images we see are not real and that the most important opinion of you is your own one.
If the answer is no, then ask yourself why you aren’t happy? Because I can promise you the source of your unhappiness won’t lie within your own insecurities but rather lie in another place or person. Perhaps in someone else who is bulling you, being racist, homophobic, transphobic or sexist? Now ask yourself, how can I remove those people from my life? I know it’s not always that easy, but keeping yourself surrounded by those who love you for you is the greatest way to achieve peace and happiness within.
Now this may all sound a bit deep, but I just wanted to make it clear how self-love, self-acceptance and beauty are already inside all of us. Start having a love affair with yourself and you will soon find out that you are not the opinion of those who discriminate against you. You are not the opinion of those who don’t find you attractive. You are more than just a filtered image on a phone screen. You are a human being with purpose and the power to do or be anything you want to be.
Vexed’s debut album Culling Culture is out now via Napalm Records. They’re also playing Bloodstock festival this August.
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