the time i got real…

…with myself.

I have been fighting with myself for so long that it is time for me to own up and admit something to myself that I have been trying to deny for a really long time.

I am obsessed with being pretty. Or being considered pretty. One of the two.

I feel like this has gone beyond what one might consider a normal desire to be attractive. This is persistent and continues despite what Husband might tell me. I think that I could ask him everyday to tell me what is pretty about me and I would need it just as much on the 1,375th day as I did on the first.

I think that my biggest problem is that my mind rebels against what my mind considers pretty. You know, thin; long, straight hair; perfect teeth; an adorable smile; a defined jawline and chin (singular chin at that); delicate hands; and the list goes on and on and on. I feel like I don’t measure up and by the U.S.’s standard of beauty, I don’t. For the sake of my self-esteem, I won’t go into how I don’t measure up, but I’m so aware of it. I see it everywhere and I see how I need to change in order to fit that standard.

On the other hand, my mind COMPLETELY rebels against that standard. My heart, my SOUL, knows that this standard is a lie. These superficial things don’t matter and I don’t want to give into the superficial notion of beauty. I don’t want to admit that I, like so many others, have been caught and trapped by these standards and feel forced to constantly compare to see where I come up short. I don’t want to admit that I have been SO trained by our looks-obsessed culture.

The truth is that I have.

It’s real to me. It has the power to completely destroy my day. It has the power to make me feel completely unattractive to the guy who can’t get enough of me and then to reject him instead. It has the power to make me look into our bathroom mirror every time I cross its path and judge myself harshly.

I know that if it wasn’t for my faith, I’d be one of those girls. I’d be one of those girls who spends every moment being perfect and pretty. Whose entire self-worth is centered on her looks and the feedback she gets about them.

Because of my faith, I know in my head that these things don’t matter. I know that they’re not important. So why is it still so important to me? Why do I beat myself down every day for not doing what it takes to shape up and slim down? To achieve “that look”. I find that I compare myself to 17 year old athlete girls who haven’t grown up or filled out, somehow believing that they are attractive and desirable. What is this monster inside of me that tortures me every day? Why can’t I let it go?

Sometimes I wish I could pick a magic weight number and be satisfied with that. It would be even better if it was my current weight because then I could be satisfied. It’s not a number for me, though. It’s a look, it’s that desired look that I know is fake and airbrushed. That look that I will never get. That look that keeps me trapped inside myself, never content, never enough, always too far away…

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7 thoughts on “the time i got real…

  1. ashley says:

    Good post, cari. Did you read Emily Jane’s post on something similar? haha. Lots of girls fall into this trap, myself included. I think what’s good here is that you are catching yourself. And when you do catch yourself thinking this way, pull out your favorite verse and recite it…or pinch your arm (haha), or do something to remind yourself that thinking of cari as less than is unacceptable!

    And then smile and move on…

    • Emily Jane says:

      We think so many of the same things… how does logic win in a world of superficiality? I think this affects all of us in some way… but you have so much of what really DOES matter going for you. And it’s good you’re catching yourself — I think the more often we remind ourselves that beauty is fleeting and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, the more it’ll become habit to be perfectly fine with how we look. I hope, anyway…

  2. Renee says:

    It seems to me that you need to realize that the standard pretty is pretty generic and boring. I have very curly, red hair (not orange red, more subtle). At least once a week, a complete stranger makes a point of telling me how beautiful my hair is.

    You will NEVER see hair like mine in a “Pantene made my hair beautiful” commercial, but does that mean it isn’t beautiful?

    I look at a lot of actresses who are considered beautiful and think how dull they are because they do fit that standard and so many do. Then I see someone who is beautiful, but looks a bit different — not standard, but still beautiful and those are the women that I (as a straight woman, mind you) cannot take my eyes off of because they just look so amazing.

    There’s nothing wrong with being concerned about your appearance, but you should be the best-looking YOU that you can be. Embrace what makes you different because that’s what sets you apart and makes you memorable (in a good way). Maybe it takes years of life experience you don’t have yet in order to realize this, but it’s true. And it’s not just something ugly women say to make themselves feel better. 🙂

    Sorry for the whole blog post in your comments, but it sounds like you need to hear all of this!

    • cari says:

      I certainly don’t mind long comments and honesty within them. In my head, I know all of these things. I KNOW all of these things. I’m still trying to figure out how to really believe them and embrace them with my entire being. I’m certainly farther than I was a few years ago, but I definitely have a long way to go.

      • Renee says:

        I think a lof of this just comes with age. When I was in my early and mid-20s, I would not have dreamed of leaving the house for any reason (even to go to the mailbox!) if I hadn’t showered and fixed my hair. Now, I’ll throw it up in a ponytail and throw on workout clothes to run to the grocery store and not even think twice about it. I don’t look bad, but I’m not all done up and I just don’t care anymore.

  3. kim says:

    I think many women struggle with this. In fact, I haven’t met one that hasn’t. But realize that society is the one who pushed you to this place, who gave you some idiotic ideal standard of beauty to attain. Beauty is much more than size or hair or makeup. But you know that. It’s just hard to accept it.

    It will come in time.

    Some neat resources to get you by in the meantime:
    http://peacewithyourbody.tumblr.com/
    http://www.adiosbarbie.com/
    http://www.about-face.org/

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