the wrong side of the bed

Monday, August 08, 2005

awkward, unsteady

i feel so ugly compared to normal girls. yesterday, already feeling pretty self-pitying (an annoying trait of mine. why don't you beat me up about it? i'd surely enjoy that.) i went shopping with three friends. these girls are considerably girlier than me, but this isn't hard to accomplish. i exude... nothing. maybe gender ambiguity. sometimes (a lot of the time) my goal is to look like a thirteen year old skater boy (sigh), but i don't really pull that off. other times i just want to blend in with the other girls. my friends have told me that i come off as pretty androgenous (mostly when j and i are having arguments about which of us is more butch or femme) and pretty asexual. mostly i am okay with this, but a day of shopping can make me feel kinda low. why don't i look like a normal girl? why do i still feel awkward about this after 29 freaking years? why can't i be pretty, like my friends?

i'm not trying to get you to tell me that i am pretty. please, don't comment and say that you think that i am attractive. what i really don't understand is why i can't seem to muster up some sort of appreciation for how i look. some sort of freaking self-confidence. if you feel compelled to comment, give me some kinds of tips about self-esteem. what do you do when you feel icky about yourself? does it work?
9:07 AM


What works for me is stopping looking to other people for validation and then faking it til I made it. I felt so freaking ugly and fat during high school and college, but one day I decided I would just keep telling myself that I was special and beautiful in my own way. I just kept reminding myself, over and over. I have nice this, I have nice that, and what's so awful about fleshy, anyway, and wow nice eyebrows, and etcetera. Now, I'm not saying I don't slip once in a while (very clearly, I do), but for the most part, I see them as slips, even while they're happening. And you can't tell me shit now. I know I'm beautiful.

It sounds so cheesy and stupid, but it works for me. Good luck.
Blogger A+, at 3:38 PM  
My advice is to roll up all your insecurities and self-consciousness into a tight little ball, and stuff it down way deep where you almost forget about it. Then one day, when someone prepares your boca burger with pickles....BAM!

But maybe that's just my family.
Blogger the jeff, at 8:30 PM  
Yeah, or that. That's what I was gonna say.
Blogger A+, at 11:56 PM  
Hmmm...when I feel icky about myself I buy jewelry. This is perhaps not the best strategy given the $$$ situation. I also take bubble baths or, um, clean the house. Seriously, cleaning makes me feel really good. I'm kind of obsessive about it when I feel badly about myself. I may not be able to do School Thing X well, but dammit, I can clean a house. And, I HATE to exercise but I have to grudgingly admit that it makes me feel better.

If you don't like the way you compare to your shopping pals, you could change your reference group. You are, for instance, WAY prettier than Jeremy. ;-) Really, though, who are you comparing yourself to, and on what dimensions? I don't think you stand out as ugly one bit. You look perfectly (para)normal to me.
Anonymous EGP, at 7:15 PM  
This is really interesting because I have always thought of Dorotha as one of those well-put-together people with a distinct style, which to me implies having a strong sense of self and confidence in that image, etc. So I don't know if it's any consolation, Dorotha, but you don't look like someone who is unhappy with how she looks.

As for tips on how to deal, I guess what I've always done, at least since middle school when kids were brutally mean to me about my acne, horrible glasses, weird behaviors, huge nose, seemingly permanent lack of boobs (surprise! they grew in college!), is exactly what Ang said. Find the things that you genuinely like about your appearance (I have great teeth! Never needed braces!) and compliment yourself regularly on those features. And keep adding to the list regularly. Wear the clothes that make you feel the prettiest and throw away the clothes that make you feel unattractive. I had a pair of pants once that made me look horrible. Whenever I wore them I got really depressed and self-hating, but I didn't really make the connection to the pants. Fortunately, my roommate at the time realized what the pants were doing to me and she threw them away. It really saved me. Also, I think it's really important to try hard to believe people when they give compliments. Take each compliment and build it up in your mind until you are actually boasting to yourself about how hot you are. One thing that I've noticed about a lot of friends of mine is that compliments make them really uneasy. I have a friend who wore a somewhat revealing dress to my wedding reception and I had never seen her wear something that even vaguely revealed the shape of her body. She looked so beautiful and I told her so, which made her literally run off and hide. Her husband told me that for days afterwards she was moping around about how she regretted wearing that dress. Why do compliments sometimes produce that opposite effect???

Anyway, I don't know if any of this advice will help, but I hope it does.
Blogger AK, at 12:32 PM  

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