Friday, May 8, 2015

The Eye of the Beholder

   I just looked at three pictures of myself taken in the last week. In each pic I'm wearing a dress and each one of the dresses are too big... like WAY too big. And yet when I bought them I tried them on, a couple of them just a couple of weeks ago, I was convinced they fit perfectly. I maybe have lost a couple of pound of winter weight since I bought them, but not THAT much weight. I just realized that I default to the biggest size I can find because all of my life I have been convinced that I am the biggest person in the universe... or possibly that I am as big AS the universe.
   I am always my worst critic. While other female friends will pop the leg, put the hand on the hip, turn to the side and do the goose-neck in order to take the most flattering picture they possibly can, I just flop into the picture because I know for certain that I will look fat and that I am not attractive. After the picture has been taken, I am seldom if ever anxious to see myself. It's not that I don't care; I just don't want to be reminded.
   I don't have low self-esteem. I really don't and I know that I really don't anymore because I used to. One time, in college, I convinced myself that if I could just lose a few pounds I could make someone fall in love with me. Here's a progress report on that: it didn't work. I was once told that I would be so pretty if I would just lose a few pounds. My reply was this: Are you sure of that? Because what if the chub is holding up the best of my physical qualities? What if I lose weight and I'm ugly? Or according to them, ugly-ER... How much would that suck?
   I have diabetes, which is under control. I have high blood pressure as a result of my pregnancy. I have fat that is never going to go away because I have PCOS. But I am strong and I am active. I am relatively healthy and despite the fact that I am surrounded by beautiful, young ladies all the time, I manage to keep myself from flaking out about every little flaw I find without and within. That's healthy, right? I'm in a good place.
   Then I found myself doing something very, very, very questionable. More questionable than that 3D fingernail art phase... I googled the following question: Can fat people be pretty?
   I had no idea that I was so controversial because EVERYBODY and every BODY, including, oddly enough, the late Leonard Nimoy, had an opinion. Obesity is an epidemic, fat is where it's at, skinny guys love the chubs, Zaftig fetish, get in shape, your body is shameful, looking for fat chicks who party... But the one that really got me was Leonard Nimoy who evidently did a whole series of photographs of large naked women... dancing... naked. Beam ME up, Scotty... what the hell was up with Spock? I mean, he was like a twig, am I right? All angles and bones and hard corners. And he surrounded himself with all of that flesh. That blatant, in-your-face, cankles and rolls FLESH. Such an odd contrast.
   And so now I am absolutely flummoxed... I just spent $16 on a lipstick from MAC. Did I do it because I felt like I deserved it or because I felt like I needed it? And I have all of my dresses planned out for all of the graduation stuff coming up, but now I feel like I should try them on in front of someone who isn't me because even though they go over my head, arms, waist and hips, that evidently doesn't mean that they FIT?
   Have I tricked myself into a false sense of self-esteem all of these years? Do I really not like myself at all? Have I spent thousands of dollars over the past 20 years on someone who should have just bought clearance rack MuuMuu's and stuck with the clunky FloJo sandals I had in college? When I think of all of the money I've spent on trends and fashion and shoes and make-up and haircuts and hair dye and jewelry and all of that other junk and weigh it (no pun intended) against what I got out of it, was it all worth it? I don't get called "beautiful." I'm never "the pretty one" when I'm with a group of friends. The only reason I turn heads is tripping or thinking I'm whispering when I'm not... Was. It. All. For. Naught?
   This crisis of self-assurance lasted for about 30 seconds. It was not all for naught. I never did any of those things to get attention or approval because, quite frankly, I have never needed either but have been cursed and often avoided by one and/or both. Figure that one out... I buy what I like, evidently no matter how big it is. That is easily remedied... I'l just stop buying the stuff that feels like pajamas. And it also dawned on me that the reason that I don't like having my picture taken is because I don't like having my picture taken. I have resting sad face and, conversely, a really goofy smile where if I smile without showing my teeth, my eyes disappear and if I smile and show my teeth I looked like a deranged gila monster... And just so we are square, I am absolutely 100% aware that I am built like a potato on toothpicks. It used to bother me but my solution hasn't worked: gaining weight in your legs is hard, almost as hard as losing it in the rest of your body.
   So what is the point of this little self-induced Come To Jesus? I know there are many, many, many people out there who are displeased with the way that they look. I know girls who won't have their picture taken unless they are standing in the very back at a 30 degree angle while the sun is at a waning position and the wind is blowing from the south only. Stop that crap. It's really annoying. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so behold yourself every once in a while. Oh, and live long and prosper. You rock, Spock.