I went from being a camera-mugging child to an attention-seeking young adult cheesecake model to someone who hates having her picture taken. I mean, if I happen to be very well-rested and well-groomed and not pregnant, and looking from a certain angle with the right lighting, I can look halfway attractive. In a picture.
Now, now, I know what you are thinking. My polite friends will respond, "No, you look wonderful! What are you talking about? You glow!" My realistic friends will respond, "Well, you don't look perfect. But you're pregnant and tired right now. So what?"
While I love my friends to death, I am not looking for reassurances or flattery. I am looking for permission: I want to be told that I don't have to look "beautiful" (whatever that might mean) and still feel great about myself. Because I do feel great about myself. I am happy, reasonably healthy, extremely fortunate, and probably more confident now than I have ever been before in my life. The older I get, the less I feel that I have to prove to everyone, at least when it comes to outward appearances.
|I must admit, when my husband took me out for our anniversary, I felt beautiful that night.|
But what does my inner voice say about the "negatives" of how I look? I'll list a sample of complaints:
2. Put that on top of a body that was pasty and fleshy, with spider veins and cellulite before the pregnancies ever began. (A homeless man at a bus stop once stopped to tell me, "You need to get a tan!")
3. Almost constant acne blemishes that I've had since childhood. Plus, chicken pox scars, moles, wrinkles, and ever-so-lovely excess facial hair.
5. Tooth problems, including crooked front teeth that cause me an inordinate amount of embarrassment.
Things could be worse, but let's just say that I won't be winning any pageants anytime soon.
|I want to feel like the dancer on the right.|
|Not a glam appearance, but a happy one.|
There was a time in my life when I did not feel this way. In my late teens and early twenties, I was eager to look desirable to everyone. I put a lot of money into making myself look good enough for auditions and any old classified ad modeling job, sketchy or not, that I could find. I wanted to look as sexy as I thought Marilyn Monroe looked, and so I put a lot of money into my looks to become - you guessed it - a Marilyn Monroe impersonator for hire. I thought that perhaps if I looked like her, then people would like me like they liked her. I was seriously insecure about myself... so much so that it wasn't even good enough to look like myself.
For a very brief time, I almost pulled it off. But I still didn't feel any better about myself, because obviously, I could only keep up the beauty charade for so long, and it wasn't me. (I bleached my hair every week for a year!) Plus, the concept of beauty is a fickle thing, isn't it? For everyone who thought that my version of "Marilyn" was great, there were others who didn't like her looks, or who thought I looked nothing like her and wondered why I was even trying. For every modeling gig I got, there were 100 girls who looked far better than I did, and I hated myself for stooping to try to get paid when it was all a joke. Same with pageants: the only pageants I ever won were those "achievement" pageants that had no score for beauty. I couldn't win on my looks. Call it genes or call it laziness. It was just reality.
But someday, age will catch up with all of us. We are either old, or we're dead. There is no shame in that.
|If my butterfly thinks I am beautiful, I am cool with that.|
|Let no one ever say that my smile is not big enough. It matches my joy.|