A few weeks ago, I was going thru some egotistical crisis. I had such a desire to be validated for my beauty. It was an odd moment.
Beauty is such a subjective thing and yet I find myself struggling with it more than I care to.
They say when you hit your 30s you become more comfy in your skin. And I am but certain other anxieties have arisen too. The bloom of youth is gone. I can feel my body deteriorate a little more with each injury I get. Things will no longer rise – everything will fall. Slowly but surely.
And yet, most of the time I can live with that.
When I was younger, I always felt that however I ended up looking would just be indicative of the badges I’ve earned through my life. Now that I’ve earned some, that’s not quite as assuring as I thought.
But sometimes, the youth have it right. I find myself so busy concentrating relentlessly on my flaws and pay only passing heed to the good bits. It seems like I should do the reversal, shouldn’t I? I look back at pix of myself in my 20s and I was adorably doofy. Truth is, I probably look better now. I stand straighter. I feel healthier. In all ways, I’m more of a complete person. And yet still…
What I do know – the ones I care for care for me and how I look is inconsequential to the equation. My head knows this. But my insecurities like to fuck around with the other bits of my psyche. I want validation from people I can’t really get it from. Past lovers. Passing fancies. Some men make you feel like you’re golden. Others, they show up but you don’t really know what they see in you.
I consider myself a fairly confident person but my confidence lies mostly within my intelligence and my wit, not necessarily with my outer shell. I consider myself pretty on some days and plain on bad days but most days, I’m normal. I’m simply just used to my face. But no matter how I feel on the outside, inside, I know I am a smart person – ALWAYS. Growing up, I was constantly validated for my intelligence that to this day, I don’t really question the truth of it. It just is. I guess you could say I received such validation for my smarts that I don’t really require much validation (if any) today. On that same note, I don’t ever recall anyone calling me pretty during my childhood or adolescence.
The sad thing – I wish it didn’t matter. The sadder thing – it does matter (to me) more than I wish it would.
The good thing – being smart isn’t affected by gravity the way my boobs will be when I hit senior citizen age.
Watching this newest generation grow up – it’s like a brand new world. They’re constantly being reassured of their intelligence and beauty. Even my mom! Now that she’s a grandma, she’s so generous with the beauty compliments to my niece. It’s weird to see how times have changed and how things my parents would never have said to me are now the norm for this newest generation.
And I wonder – how will this balance out? The good thing – they’re all smart kids and hopefully, will continue to be so. Their attractiveness – I wonder how good/bad they’ll feel as they age. Will they feel the same things I am now or will they surpass it because they have confidence ingrained in them about this aspect of their life? I’m curious to see how their lives will play out. What will I recognize and what won’t I know?
Listen, I’m not exactly sitting and weeping about all my imperfections. It’s just I want to be able to look past that…or learn to embrace it. There is so much weight put upon how a woman looks – damn the expectations of our society. And while I try not to fall prey to all the propaganda (cuz I know better), I can’t help but enjoy some of the accessories that go along with it (hello red lipstick!). End of the day – I do enjoy being a girl.
Do I wish beauty had less weight? Yes. I wish it had less weight with me.
Does it matter what the opposite sex thinks then? Yes and no. During this mind fuck of a time, I probably got more stranger on the street validation than ever before. Either that or I finally paid attention and noticed men noticing me. Go figure.
The oddity – I find myself very disconnected from the idea of me being attractive. When I walk down the street and men would say what they will or gawk, it feels out of body. Like it’s not me they see. Or I wonder – what is it that they see? And why do I not feel that? Why am I not connected to this? It’s as if I’m in third person mode. I recognize the signs of attraction but partly my guard is up and partly, I’m thinking – are they really looking at me? What the fuck do they see?
I’m still a little weird when I get compliments. Sometimes I can handle. Other times, I’d rather change the subject. I like dressing up and looking nice but when someone mentions it to my face, I get flustered. I try to take it more in stride but inside, that little girl is quietly pleased while the big girl just wants it to go away.
A friend of mine once told me he thought he wasn’t the kind of guy women found attractive right away. He just kinda grew on people. Made me giggle but in some ways, I feel the same way. I think it’s also an easier way for me to understand why men might be attracted to me. If they spend time with me or I allow them to see how funny/smart/charming I can be, then I can find a reason for their attraction. But being into me just by looking at me – I don’t fully get it. I do (cuz duh, I’ve been attracted to dudes like that) but I don’t. Working this out as I write, I think it’s just a distrust. To be attracted to me, in some part, I feel it has to be a totality but clearly the guy walking down the street isn’t going to have a chat with me about recent world events.
Gawd. The thing is – one day nobody will look at me when I walk down the street. I should appreciate it more. I do not seek it but maybe I should simply appreciate it. While I still got it. Whatever “it” may be.
I read something that it’s better not to look so much in the mirror. It just ends up stressing the person out. Better to go with how you feel than how you look. I like that idea. If I go with that idea – there will inevitably be bad times but mostly, I would be on the up and up. How many times have I felt great only to have it ruined by looking in the mirror and seeing what I deemed less than perfect?
My friend once said that age is the great equalizer. Whether you’re beautiful now or not…it won’t matter much when you’re 83. My problem is…I’m a long way from 83.
What do I want? I don’t want to want validation. I want to just let it ride and let it be. At times, I think I am close to that. Other times, I’m just human and racked with some measure of neediness. It’s just learning to wallow for a bit then move past. If I circle back a few more times, so be it. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to drive out of the roundabout completely. Or, at the very least, care a little bit less and just enjoy the ride.