September 7, 2017

Lean in here and I’ll whisper it in your ear, because I’ve discovered a truth that you may know at the top of your mind, but you haven’t accepted it yet deep down in your lizard brain. Here it is – ready?

Every single person – from slim to curvy, from tall to short, from plucked and enhanced to floppy and au naturel – is UNHAPPY WITH THE WAY SHE LOOKS. Or he looks, because guys are not immune to this either.

Sometimes people are accused of vanity for looking in every reflective surface they pass – mirrors, shop windows, whatever. I don’t think it’s vanity. I think it’s from the constant nervousness that Something Might Be Amiss. You’ve tucked the hem of your skirt into your waistband. You have a hunk of arugula riding shotgun on your teeth. You’re wearing one brown and one black shoe.

But it goes deeper than the occasional wardrobe malfunction. We none of us look in the mirror and say “Yep; I look awesome.” Even if we DO look awesome. We are filled by self-doubt. Even the naturally beautiful, those who won the genetic lottery, check their reflections nervously to see if age has made a dent yet.

I look back at pictures of me in my twenties and thirties and I think, “I looked cute!” This grates against my sense of self at the time which – like now – included a running internal monolog about how weak I was because I couldn’t lose weight. (And I bit my fingernails; a revolting habit. When I have no nails available, I go after the cuticles. It’s disgusting; I constantly have a thumb pressed over some bleeding patch along one nail bed or the other. Shudder.)

Here’s the definitive proof of my point:

Yesterday I told Grace I wanted to take a picture with her, and this ethereal, attenuated, fluid woman IMMEDIATELY put a nervous hand to her head and said “Oh, no – I can’t. I look terrible.”

See? She was about to stand next to a 238-pound client in a muumuu and yet she felt alarmed at the thought of someone taking her photo without the prep time to hide whatever she could possibly imagine her flaws to be.

So here’s what I’m thinking: We could all turn down the dial on the self-hatred and remember that in ten years we’ll look back and think “Why was I so worked up? I looked cute then! Not like NOW!”

Let’s BE in the now. Let’s try to love ourselves just a little. Even if we don’t work out. Even if we don’t track the amount of zinc in our diets. Even if we have the hem of our skirts tucked into our waistbands. Nothing at all would change; we’d just be a little less stressed.

Here’s a photo of me back when I thought I was SO fat. See? I was cute!

Still am, damn it!

Cruise photo

7 thoughts on “Secret

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