I became infatuated with you at a young age. Your beautiful image enticed me in an all-consuming way.
You came into my life starting on superficial grounds. At age 6 I began seeking you in my schoolwork. I occasionally got upset when my grades did not look like you, but I forgot about you outside of that. Grades were grades, whether they reflected you or not.
You slowly expanded your influence in my life. When I took up running, I began looking for you at the finish line. When I sang, I listened for you. I began spending too long on school projects because I wanted them to look like you, craved the praise of my teachers when they thought I took after you.
The stress from constantly reaching for you began to manifest physically. By age 11, my vocal cords had trained themselves to clamp shut under stress. It made running harder. It made singing harder. I did not realize how much of this was your influence.
You seeped into the way I saw my body. I picked at my acne because my face did not look like you. I became angry, for I ran 5 miles everyday but my thighs were never as thin as you. I wore my hair down for an entire year to cover my chin that was not as sharp as you.
I drove myself to the edge trying to keep you in my grades at school. Sometimes, I sacrificed normal human functions – sleeping, eating, showering, socializing – in my endless chase after you. By the time I graduated high school, I almost had you. It still did not feel like enough.
When I began college you convinced me to hold myself back. I did not speak in my Spanish class out of fear that the foreign words leaving my mouth would not sound like you. Upon realizing this, my professor told me to throw you out the window. I cried that day, knowing I would have to let you go.
I accepted you as a normal part of my life, a helpful guide through the confusion of life. Only recently did I realize you were actually a tormentor.
It took an entire revolution within myself to understand that you are fake. You do not exist. You are another man-made idea, created to put people down. Somehow, I feel even more infuriated knowing that I was tormented for years by something fictional. How could I let myself feel unworthy in comparison to a fabrication?
My breathing problem has improved, but it has not left me. Occasionally I still feel you holding my mouth shut in class. I don’t think I’ll ever fully get you out of my head, but the revolution inside me will stay strong.