Late-night thoughts on self-image

I was sitting here thinking how the stuff in my apartment is slowly being overtaken with moisture (it is Portland after all) and finding it strangely comforting. It made me think so many thoughts..

I think of it as a step up- this being comforted by imperfections. It humbles me and reminds me of the inevitability of loss. It makes me feel closer to nature.

These thoughts led to me thinking of my feeling as an outsider, especially around other women- in the sense of a certain plainness and a certain shoddiness I wear and feel comfortable in (now more than ever) and it gives me peace.

I was raised by a single dad and my mother was sick with a psychological condition for much of my life. She was far away from me. Growing up, I found it hard to be close to women, to know how to relate to them, be like other women. I mean this in the sense of vanity. This chasing after an image of perfection.

I’ve struggled with self-confidence. I guess what I am saying is: As I am not yet thirty, yet approaching it slowly, I now know who I am and what I am not..

I succumbed to the pressure when I was younger and tried so hard to figure it out– makeup, nails, hair, style– It’s just not me. It’s just that I don’t much see the point? It feels grasping to me, desperate. On style, I guess I developed my own. I’m eclectic.. I’ll leave it at that.

I’m fascinated by other women- all types. I people watch all day. On their different looks I’m often thinking.. how do they do it? It’s amazing. It’s hard. Men hardly ever get a second glance from me.. I see the work women do to look attractive, too please. Some women.. it’s fascinating. It’s art.

I guess for the first time the other day, (since I was younger, 19/20, pregnant/with a new baby- which – at the time -was the prettiest I ever felt -because it made me healthy and strong. I am naturally frail- if this was Jane Eyre times I probably wouldn’t have made it- let’s just be honest..) I saw a glimmer of it- I actually thought I was pretty. Me. At 29 years old… finally. Just me. With my plain, honest face, beat-up old boots and well-loved corduroy jacket. It was just for a second, but it gave me hope. ❤

This also raised a lot of issues and some stifling rage and righteous anger for my childhood self and all the people who made me feel like I wasn’t, couldn’t be, pretty. A Grandparent who made fun of my strong nose and big ears and called me ‘Dumbo’. (I just realized how extra-cruel that was. Dumbo’s mother was locked up. Mine was too.) I was a kid for Christsakes! For all practical purposes I just lost my mom and these were the people who were supposed to take care of me.. They jeered at me- at my skinny, knock-kneed self, made jokes about my outsize hands and feet.. I looked like an extra straight out of ‘Annie’, but that’s superficial. Where were the adults to tell me they believed in me? If my mother was there she would’ve. My mother may have been sick, but I never doubted her love.

There were others.. bullies at school. Then later the boyfriends, the guys, making comments, judging my body..

Well you know what? Fuck them! Seriously.  I wish I could go back in time and tell my 9-year-old self to tell them to fuck off. I wish I could be my own guardian angel then. My daughter is 9, the same age I was then, and it’s really doing a number on my emotions. She is getting to that awkward stage..

I am laughing. Divine justice. A small mercy. I had no one looking out for me, but here, 20 years later, I am there for her.


About Beauty and Dreams

I'm just a lady in Portland, OR. Check out my blog! Drawings, collage and more!
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4 Responses to Late-night thoughts on self-image

  1. clinock says:

    I am not a woman, although my anima is strong. I think I can imagine what you say but I know that I appreciate your honesty and forthright emotions that shine out with courage through this post. I also know, because so many of your posts express it, that you understand the true meaning of beauty and try to live it. People can be cruel and when that cruelty comes from family and those we trust it is magnified a thousand times. Yet I believe that if one carries that hurt through one’s life it shows and shadows the beauty that we all naturally possess and inevitably passes on to our children. If you can forgive, as hard as this may be, if you can let go of the hurt – then this shadow will dissolve. Well Chrissy – what do I know? – I just wanted to respond to your heartfelt post and remind you of who you really are – a shining presence in the world…

  2. Tincup says:

    I echo Clinock’s comment. A brave post. And besides…who the hell wants to go to bed with a woman all done up in the evening only to discover in the morning that her beauty was merely capped on paint.

  3. Thanks guys. 🙂 Well, I’ve been hurt a lot through the years, but never devoted the energy to hate anyone continuously- although I’ve still felt the sting. Maybe the shadow is dissolving…

  4. Anne LeBlanc says:

    Vulnerability is an admirable thing. It is courageous and it rings so true. Thanks for writing this. Your daughter is a lucky one.

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