Tonight for some reason I am hit with all my insecurities. I am not what I would call an overall insecure person, but every now and then I have a hard time dealing with my physical appearance. That’s pretty much the only thing that I ever really get insecure about, at least regarding just myself. (Relationships are a whole different story.)
Maybe it’s because I don’t doubt myself in other arenas that I “must” be plagued by my appearance. Maybe it’s because I’ve just asked myself to have an incredible amount of confidence in myself — enough to literally impoverish myself, to quit my job, to put all my eggs in one basket: writing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been brainwashed by society or my parents or whoever else is available to blame. Maybe it’s because I really am not all that pretty.
Does it even matter why?
I’m sure I’ll regret posting this tomorrow, but tonight, I just need to get it off my chest.
I want to be beautiful. I want to be sexy. I want to be well-dressed. I want great legs, a toned stomach, and a nice butt. I want a stronger jawline. I want men to stop when they see me. I want women to be jealous. I don’t want to wonder if I’m one of the best-looking people in a room; I want to know that I am.
And I don’t want to have to put much effort into any of it.
Hahaha, I’m so reasonable, right?
I don’t know where all these desires came from, or when, or why. When I was younger, I wasn’t really concerned about this stuff. I may even have been a little vain. Every boy I liked eventually liked me back (although usually not at the same time). All my family friends said I was pretty, and you could tell that they meant it. I ate anything and everything, and I never gained a pound. I guess I thought it would always come that easy.
Actually no. It wasn’t always easy. In middle school, I swore not to shave my legs until high school, because some guy had made fun of my friend for her leg hair, and I was determined to prove that he was wrong. In high school, I refused to see a dermatologist, because I wanted to prove that I was stronger than my pimples, that I would always be more than just a face, pretty or not. In college, I took pictures of myself mostly naked to get more comfortable with my body. Even today, I sometimes catch myself thinking I should skip a meal to lose some weight, and then I kind of mentally slap myself because I know starvation is not the path to happiness. (Quite the opposite, in fact.)
Just so no one thinks I’m a horrible or delusional person, I’ll say that I am well-aware that I’m fairly lucky. I have good genes and decent metabolism, and I’m not ugly. I know that. But sometimes, like tonight, it’s not enough.
Nights like these, I try to remember the few really good moments that I have and hold on to. Like that time on the bus when those two girls asked that guy who he thought was pretty, and they pointed to themselves and he said no, and they pointed to a couple other girls and he said no, and then they pointed to me, and he paused, and he whispered, Yes. Or that time my friend told me she kind of hated how no matter what I wear, I manage to look cute. Or that time he looked at me and told me I was a goddess.
I don’t have a good memory, but I remember these things.
But the times I have felt truly beautiful have been few and far between, and often things happen later to color those memories, to make me feel like maybe my self-perception was wrong. Like someone telling me my makeup looked trashy. Or someone telling me the top I was wearing makes my boobs look saggy. Or someone telling me I have a big butt.
I don’t have a good memory, but I remember these things.
I guess ultimately the problem resides within myself. Oh sure, the people whose opinions matter most to me could probably do a lot to help me stay strong, but the truth is, beauty is subjective, and apparently I don’t meet my own criteria. How do I change that? How do I look at myself through the same eyes as those I set upon other people? Or is it that I should be looking at myself with different eyes?
How do you change your definition of beauty to necessarily include yourself?
If anyone has the answers, I’m all ears.
14 responses to “Confession of a weak moment”
Wait…someone thought YOU had a big butt?? Must be someone who has never seen a hispanic or black girl in his/her life. Or someone kidding?
Seems a lot from your entry (and from knowing you) that you rely on other people’s opinions and ideals to shape your definition of beauty. You rely on people’s (mainly male) compliments to keep you strong, and people’s criticisms to hurt you. Maybe you have to ask yourself if your current criteria for beauty is what you really think, or if it has been too much shaped by the people that surround you.
YOU? Big butt??? (Also, saggy boobs? You’re 22, not 60! Whoever that person was, just ignore it.)
“How do you change your definition of beauty to necessarily include yourself?”
You have to just start loving yourself, one day at a time. You have to train yourself to look in the mirror and see first not the flaws you want to change but the good things. You have to give up the criticisms you have of yourself that are based on a ridiculous idea of beauty and you have to start loving yourself for who YOU are. You have to learn to love what you think of as your flaws.
It’s a hard thing to do.
Hahaha, maybe not!
Yeah, I don’t know. I would say I’m actually harder on myself than anyone else is on me… But I take other people’s praise more seriously than my own of myself. (Isn’t that true for everyone? Maybe not…)
To your point, I do normally try to push everyone else’s opinions to the side and listen to my own inner voice (or whatever you want to call it). Just sometimes, like last night, my inner voice doesn’t speak the loudest. As I said in the post, it doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it gets me down, and last night I felt like venting. (Because it was better than crying, hahaha.)
(Haha, in fairness, the cut of the neck DID make my boobs look lower than they actually are. Needless to say, I don’t wear that top anymore.)
You have to train yourself to look in the mirror and see first not the flaws…
It’s a hard thing to do.
just don’t look in the mirror. ;)
Well first off you need to recognize that even the most beautiful people have insecurities. That might make you feel a little better.
I disagree with Diane, although she was probably joking anyway. I think the best way to change your definition of beauty to include yourself is to look in the mirror A LOT. See which angles you look better at. Notice your flaws, and maybe you’ll do what you can do reduce them, or maybe you’ll just get used to them and they won’t bother you as much.
After I went to Mexico with Michael and Jessica last year I looked at all the pics we took and I came out like crap in most of them. It got me a little down so I got in front of the mirror and took a bunch of pictures of myself, and a lot of them came out great. Vain? Yes. But I immediately felt better, lol.
Also, someone saying you have on trashy makeup and a top that makes your boobs look saggy is NOT something you should take to heart. It’s constructive criticism at best. But a big butt? Nigga, please. If I were in your position I would have shot an insult back at that person, no matter who it was.
Actually, in all fairness my butt is a little on the big side. But I mean, if I were YOU, who doesn’t have a big butt at all, I would have shot an insult back.
If that had happened to me I probably just would have laughed and agreed (but still might have shot an insult back, lol).
yeah, i was kidding :).
LOL thanks Aisha.
And yeah, haha, Diane, I think we knew you were kidding.
Wait, I thought big butts were in? Sir Mix a Lot and I have a lot of catching up to do.
Everyone has these insecurities and it’s normal, but I think what makes certain people stand out is their confidence. Taking the “butt” as an example: J.Lo has a big butt, but she owned it and is even praised for it. So you could take it as, “your butt is big” as in “your butt is too big and I want you to lose weight” or it’s really, “ohmigosh you’re butt is so big, i love it, where can i implant one?” I vote the latter.
It’s hard, but I think if you look at yourself and make a list of the positive attributes, not just beauty, it may help. And let your confidence shine through. Next time you’re in Austin again, we’ll go salsa dancing. There are all sorts of characters and different types of looks (some attractive, some not by “my standards”), but when they’re dancing it’s that confidence in their dance that makes them look hot!
As for me, I’m never shaving my legs. It’s true I lucked out with the hair, but I just don’t think about it and it’s all good.
Actually, re Diane, when I don’t look in the mirrors some days, I don’t think about how I look and I’m fine.
if you have a mac, it helps to play around with photo booth. after a couple distorted funhouse mirror shots, take comfort in knowing at least you don’t look deformed ;). plus it’s fun to laugh at yourself.
Well, I think it’s cultural too. In black and Hispanic cultures (i.e., J Lo’s culture — sort of…) there are significantly less body image issues than white and Asian cultures, because overall they value “curves.”
Unfortunately I belong to the latter 2 cultures, hahaha.
Btw, I don’t mean to argue, but I don’t think making a list of my positive non-physical attributes will help, b/c I don’t have esteem issues about my non-physical traits. I always seek to improve them, but I don’t get down about them the way I do about my looks, and I don’t consider them related. In fact, that’s the whole point: I WANT my looks to have merit on their own, separate from my personality.
But yes, haha, dancing at clubs sometimes helps, if only b/c sketchy guys will hit on you if you have any semblance of rhythm. :P
May 12, 2015 edit: Omg the first paragraph of this old comment of mine sounds so culturally ignorant. I apologize. I think women of all cultures have body image issues. None of us have it easier than others, just different.
uuuuh. if you have a big butt, then my butt is the size of an elephant. that is all.
LOL thanks, Rose.