Crybaby Self-Portrait: Asa Hendrix

Written by: Asa

In order to properly write this I had to face one of my uncomfortables. An uncomfortable for me is something that isn't quite a fear but it does give me an unsettling feeling. So, I had to look at a photo of myself from five years ago.

I suppose the first question is why does looking at myself at that point in my life make me uncomfortable. The answer is because when I look at this photo or any photo I am immediately reminded of everything that girl thought, felt and wish for. I can’t look at a photo of myself 5 years ago and it feel like it is me. Honestly, because it is not.

Now, I have always known that I was a member of The Crybaby Club, in fact my family have always told me. I was constantly told that I cried too much, felt too much and that I would cry if someone killed a fly. Not to mention I used to cry every time when watching The Lion King and Mufasa was murdered, in fact it still gets me. I don't think my family or I, at the time knew exactly what the crying and heavily feeling actually meant at the time.

Looking back at myself five years ago is still very triggering for me. I look and I can see everything I felt and I notice every little quirk but what gets me most are peoples reactions. They note how skinny I was, how much hair I had and how much I looked like a doll. I know that many don't mean any harm but all of those things are superficial and...are exactly what I wanted people to see. Way back then, I didn't want people to know that I needed help, that I was struggling with things and that I was a threat to myself. I get frustrated because I want people to see how I look happier and how I actually smile in pictures, but how could they if they never knew anything was wrong to begin with. Earlier in my recovery, I would have normally shut down, stopped sharing the past and simply let people paint the picture of me that they wanted.

I didn’t defend myself or my past or current state. I allowed myself to be a shell, actually I made myself into a shell.

Asa in 2011 & Asa today.  

Asa in 2011 & Asa today.  

But I’ve put a stop to it and that what I am proud of. I had learned early on that in order for me to survive, I had to distract people from what I felt they weren't ready for. I used my looks, style and everything else to make sure people didn’t get close enough to feel the entirety of my being simply because I had felt I would be too much. I didn’t have a comeback for back-handed compliments and I would take whatever people gave me for me.

Proud doesn't seem to do what I feel justice but it will have to do; I am so very happy with who I am now. I am a full person, three-dimensional in every way I don't think I have ever been, I cry when I need to cry, I smile and laugh when it its appropriate and when it’s not, but I am being my full self, unapologetically.

I can stand in my truths. I can admit that I was anorexic, drank myself to sleep and locked myself in closets to cry and allow myself to feel emotions I didn't think people would want to see. I can stand in the truth that I need love and space to be held for me as well.

I am proud of who I am and I am also proud of my past for without I wouldn't have anything to be proud of. I am today, a person who feels whole more times than not. A person who is expressive in almost all the ways that I desire and I have been able to forgive myself for what I have done to myself. Something I would recommend to everyone, say your sorry to yourself. Admit that you might not have known, you didn't know how to explain or ask for help.

In writing this post, I have to admit that although I have come a long way from the person I was five years ago, that person is not eons away because growth, at least personal growth is not simply linear. It goes in all directions at all times, with the occasional setback. However, it isn't about the setback but more about how you rise.