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When I Look For a Hero, This Is Where I Look Now

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I’ve been working through some body image issues and looking for a positive body role model. I’ve been looking for someone to inspire me to become something better.

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But then I realized: I’m my own hero.

Every time I look into the mirror means I’ve made it through the fist-clenching struggles of another day. I haven’t given in to the harrowing little voices whispering in my ear to end it all. I haven’t surrendered to the false sweetness of eternal surrender.

I know when I see myself, I’m working my butt off to become a better person, to overcome my seemingly endless inner demons. Spending hours going therapies, counseling and psychiatrist appointments. Going through the never ending nightmare of finding the right combination of drugs to live a somewhat normal life. Enduring the side effects. Dealing with the emotional turmoil of delving deep into the dark places where the demons came from, and bringing what has been stuffed away into the sickening bright light.

Even looking in the mirror is a triumph — not being terrified to see my own reflection for once. Overcoming all of the messages the world says about my body — that I’m disgusting, should not be seen or even think about loving myself.

It’s hard to even associate the word hero with myself. I feel that label is only for soldiers and people who run into burning building. But I know I’m working my butt off, and it’s hard. Not giving in to the thoughts in my head every day is a battle in itself.

However, thinking about all of this is making me feel selfish. But if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t survive. I do it for the people who love me — my husband, my future children. Trying to stay alive isn’t selfish, is it? Trying to live a somewhat normal life can’t be selfish.

I hate thinking about anyone else going through this pain. I like to think I could inspire them. I’m not at the finish line yet, but I’m running as fast as I can, getting up time and time again after I fall. I guess that’s the definition of hero. Someone who displays courage. Courage is defined asthe quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” Even though I struggle with associating the word “hero” with myself, I know that I’m a courageous human being. And that’s enough.

Follow this journey Seeking the Feather Strings.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

Originally published: January 31, 2016
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