I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine: I don’t really like the summer.
The summer brings sunshine (at least sometimes, for those of us living in the UK) and I don’t like that. Well, my Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) doesn’t like that.
When my BDD was at it’s worst, the summer was a nightmare for me. The clothes were brightly coloured (something that I’m still not a huge fan of), the brightly coloured clothes were tiny, people were tanned (fake or not) and the sunshine felt like a magnifying glass on all of my insecurities. To be honest, not much has changed.
Swimsuits and bikinis are everywhere once the summer season starts. People are wearing sunglasses (something I am not comfortable wearing for some reason), and I feel completely out of place.
The sun illuminates my pale, sensitive skin. When my skin is inflamed by a new product I’ve used (I’m looking at you, E.L.F), it turns to dust. A few years ago, as I was just about to go out for drinks for my 22nd birthday, my skin was so dry in one particular area that I was able to scratch off a lot of dead skin. I was then left with a pinkish-red patch on the side of my face. To top it off, the birthday drinks were a disaster because only a handful of people turned up (and you know how I feel about not having enough friends).
I am uncomfortable with a brightly lit mirror. When the sunshine is making our bedroom particularly bright, I will avoid the mirror if I can, not bothering with make-up that day just because of what could be looking at me in my reflection. I also feel nervous about how my make-up is applied – it’s as if the sun is going to show the world how I can’t do my make-up properly, or at least, try to make me sweat off the make-up that is desperately clinging on to my face.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do like the sunshine. After days of rain and wind, a bright, Spring day is just lovely. I like that feeling of sun on my skin. I like how happy it makes everybody. And thanks to British culture, it makes me feel like having an alcoholic drink outside.
But the sun makes me very insecure, even more so than before. I miss the fact that in the colder months I could wear layers. I also miss seeing all the dark coloured clothing in the shop windows. I miss some of my confidence.
Maybe I can turn things around this summer. Maybe I can let go of those insecurities bit by bit and enjoy whatever amount of warm weather comes our way. I hope so.
How I feel about myself is more important than how I look. Feeling confident, being comfortable in your skin — that’s what really makes you beautiful.
– Bobbi Brown