I don’t remember a lot about vanity as a child, but I do remember, from a very early age, feeling jealousy for other girls. I remember being jealous of Mara in preschool because she had that Charles Manson quality of having everyone love her and do whatever she asked of them. I was excited because it was my birthday and I remember she somehow talked everyone into believing it wasn’t my birthday, but instead it was hers, and I was a nutcase for saying it was mine. That is some sick, but incredible mindgame for a 4-year-old. I remember being jealous of Holly Y because she came from a rich family and was tremendously athletic, and everyone loved her. I was jealous of Rachel R. because when she put her hair up in a ponytail her beautiful ginger hair would dangle loose in the back. I actually remember cutting half of the back of my long hair because I wanted it to look like hers when up. What I failed to understand was that when you have short hair, or when new hair is growing in, it just naturally falls out of the ponytail. Let’s just say that when I ran into my mom’s room bawling she wasn’t pleased. I also had months of regret because the only way to fix it was apparently to shave it. Let me tell you that not being able to put your hair up in the middle of summer, in Florida…lesson learned. Checkmate to you jealousy.
I’d like to say that I was like everyone else, and my jealousy and hating my appearance started with puberty, but I honestly don’t have the memory of that. I know when all of this started. It was in 6th grade when my first boyfriend, Geoff with a G, broke up with me because 1. I didn’t have boobs and 2.Whatever boobs I did have, I wasn’t letting him touch em’. For the record, and I can tell you that the record is broken…but he didn’t actually break up with me. When I got off the bus in the morning before first period I was the almost happy but incredibly clueless girlfriend of Geoff with a G, but by lunch he was holding hands with Amanda. I remember going up to him and asking him WTF? You are cheating on me?! He said no he didn’t cheat. He broke up with me….he just didn’t tell me he broke up with me. And guys say women are confusing.
I wish I could say this all started with puberty. That would make sense…but I honestly cannot remember when I started my period. I KNOW. It seems like it’s a date no girl forgets, but really? Do ladies actually remember? I must have seriously blacked it out because I cannot remember one single memory about this time. Eh, that’s not true. I do remember telling my mom that THAT thing wasn’t going up there. I sadly think I used the phrase “my cherry isn’t popped!”. Ugh. If I wrote a book titled ‘Worst Things you Said to your Mom‘, that’d be at the top.
I know guys go through a similar thing, but no one can really say if it’s the same. I will be totally loud about how I think women got the shittier end of the stick and punch anyone who says that it’s because of an apple and a snake, but I do feel bad that guys couldn’t hide their crazy puberty moments behind a pair of black jeans and an oversized sweater. Well…I don’t know if I feel bad about it, but I certainly am willing to admit that it’s not a party.
I do believe that girls are victim to these unrealistic beauty standards from a very early age and as we get older and sex becomes a significant part of our lives, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid the mentality of trying to fit a mold of “the perfect women”, which is constantly changing by the way. Anyone with an attention to pop culture or a Bela Lugosi type syndrome can see that the ideal woman has AND continues to constantly change. No wonder we are such a mess, we are constantly trying to fit the body type that is in that season. One day it’s Pamela Anderson (I was not old enough for this phase but I know she was a big deal, not from Baywatch, but from Home Improvement) and another it’s Kylie Jenner. How do I live up to this?
The simple answer is I don’t.
This is what I see in the mirror;
- My skin is dry & flaky on my left eyelash. I want to say it’s from allergies, makeup, or a moisturizer I am using, but my optometrist and I do not know the real reason, and I am too poor for a dermatologist visit.
- I break out around my chin and this I have learned from WebMD is because of hormones and eating too much cheese. Two things I cannot help.
- I’m chubby in all the places you chub.
- I have stretch marks and I have not had a baby,
- I’ve over plucked my eyebrows and because I am right handed I f’d the left side up.
- I suffer from mild Eczema and Rosacea and if I ate fries, didn’t sleep, or am too stressed, no amount of Bare Minerals will cover it up.
This is what I should see in the mirror;
- Eyes are the most distinguished feature on the face [I’m too lazy to fact check this, (That’s not true. I’m too tipsy to fact check. I am never too lazy to fact check, but I didn’t want to admit that I was under the influence of 4 buck Chuck.) but I am sure it’s right] and I happen to love my brown almond shaped eyes.
- I’m not sure how to love acne, but I can say that I love trying out new skin care products and this gives me a reason to do that. Hey, you do what you can.
- In the past I’d say…at least I am not a stick, but this is not the right, supportive, positive, or healthy way to make yourself feel better. Even thin people have body issues and truly loving yourself can never stem from a place of comparison or putting someone else down to lift yourself up. I am the only passenger on this journey and although I am not satisfied with my chubbiness, I do love the skin I am in. (Have I told you that Olay body wash was created with rich avocado oil… This isn’t an ad for Olay, I promise, but I’d take a check…I promise.)
- Stretched and all.
- Growing out my eyebrows for 6-8 months gives me a new challenge and I love challenges. Maybe I will make stickers to congratulate myself for not picking up the tweezers (for my eyebrows).
- I don’t need to shell out any money for peach blush. I already got it babes.
You, like me, can read tons and tons of blog posts (who reads beauty magazines anymore?) about the ’10 Steps to Loving Yourself’ or ‘How to Gain your Confidence Back as a Women‘, but it’s all filled with the same general advice… cut out your ideal body and place it on your fridge or the sound advice of do not criticize yourself, but…I mean…c’mon. My advice is to do what I just did. Make a list of things you don’t really like about yourself –the go to things you spend an hour looking at in a close-up mirror and raising your Amazon Prime spending limit to anything under $50 instead of anything under $25. Then, write the opposite viewpoint of those things you dislike. Just think of yourself trying to win a debate. Go all Elle Woods on yourself. Reese Witherspoon would be proud. Love yourself you beautiful nerds.
Live Happy — Shaunna
(PS- I actually told my fiance (my editor — whom I don’t have to pay ca-ching) that I couldn’t read it to him yet because I had not finished italicizing AND I love that about myself. Rory Gilmore and Kathleen Kelly would be proud and yes, I do live to look up to fictional characters.