This came up last night on #GunBloggerConspiracy, so I might as well make it official and talk about on my blog: I have body dysmorphic disorder.
I'm not going to get into the specifics of this, because it's taken me five years just to get to the point where I feel safe enough to mention this online, however vague it may be.
This is the real reason I hide my face and legal name. Yes, I get the added benefits of pen name, such as the ability to talk crap about my family without it blowing back on me, and the fact that those of you inclined to develop crushes on my can imagine me as your perfect fantasy without harsh photographic reality getting in the way.
But the brutal truth of the matter is that I think I am hideous, and am scared beyond reasonable measure that people will look at me and vomit. Or point and laugh. Or become enraged and want to hurt me.
This doesn't so much hurt me in daily life, because I couldn't give a shit what random people think -- mostly because I have a low opinion of people to begin with. But it's terrible when it comes to forming relationships, because it's the opinions of people who I like and respect that matter. It's like fear of rejection, only ramped up to a million.
In other words, I like persons but hate people. Conversely, the opinions of people don't bother me, but the opinions of persons do.
So normally this is something I can deal with on a regular basis, because I am effectively a shut-in hermit without any real-life friends. But then I read about the awesome hijinks that occurred at this year's Blogorado, and I ache. A deep, throbbing pain in the heart and the gut, like I'd been sucker-punched and dumped at the same time.
I desperately want to meet people who think I awesome, but at the same time the though of it is pants-shittingly terrifying. I am trapped between a need to protect myself and the need for human contact.
Before you ask: No, I'm not in therapy. I have no health insurance. We can't afford it, but neither is my family poor enough to be on assistance that I can get it for free. And frankly, given my family's attitudes about psychology and perceived weakness, I would quite honestly rather die than open myself up to the verbal abuse that would result if I admitted to them that I have this condition.
So I'm stuck. And that's why I am a writer: I can create worlds where I am welcomed and not judged. I live inside my head because living inside my body is too painful. I want to be loved, but I am afraid of rejection, so I put on this mask to hide my face in the hopes that you come to love my anonymous heart and mind and soul.
I need help, but I can't bear to be looked at.