Monday, January 28, 2008

Explain This To Me

Help me out with this. For the first time in my life, I don't look as good as I think I do. Work with me here.

All of my life I have been reasonably unhappy with my looks. Now, don't get me wrong. I know I'm an attractive woman. Even in high school I knew I had something to work with. But I was never happy with what the results were. I was always too heavy or my hair was just wrong or this or that, but it was always something. I just couldn't quite be happy with what I saw in the mirror. I guess I'm just a product of my environment. We should all sue Vogue.

Anyway, I have always approached a mirror with a healthy dose of trepidation. I knew I wasn't going to like what I saw, I just did the best I could. There wasn't disappointment really, just an acceptance that I would never quite reach my expectations.

The difference now is that I go to the mirror with a different attitude. Now I go to the mirror expecting the best. I feel pretty good about myself and oddly, my reflection is not keeping up its end of the bargain. Every time I catch a look at myself I'm always shocked. I mean, I know I look way better than that. Surely my skin is not quite as affected by gravity as it appears. I know my hair looks better than that. I wrote the check for it! What is the deal?

I wish my emotional maturity or whatever it is that makes me feel the way I do was just a little more realistic and could keep pace with my actual looks. Why can't a 19-year-old be happy in her skin and a 45-year-old accept the fact that she is beautiful even though the earth has been pulling on her all that time?

I don't want to overstate my point here. Really, I'm OK with it all and have never been overly obsessed with my appearance, but when I'm walking by a mirror in a store and I see myself and think, "I really thought I was cuter than that!", it makes me wonder what is up with me.


Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Oh, I so get you. I feel that way whenever I see a picture of myself. I just look OLD. Black circles under the eyes, pasty skin, from years of living in my dark cave of motherhood. Sigh.

Jubilee on Earth said...

You know what? I totally understand what you're saying. I was pretty darn attractive in my 20's, but now as I'm in my mid-30's, it's only like I get a small bout of that "attractiveness" about once a year, if that even. I contribute that to two things:

1) How attractive and healthy I feel on the inside. I have to really work at feeling balance and exercising and taking vitamins and really feeling full of life and vitality. I realize that when I radiate from within, that's when I notice my outward attractiveness in the mirror.

2) Problem is, getting there is a lot of maintenance, work and upkeep. Exercise sucks, and I only like to do it in the summer when I'm outside. I forget to take my vitamins. I barely eat fresh produce in the winter. And I don't take enough time to relax, breathe, enjoy and have fun.

When I manage to do all that, then somehow the by-product of it all is physical attractiveness. Most of the time, I just shrug and say, "Oh, well. If I can't do all that, then this mediocrity is good enough for me."

mamatutwo said...

Oh, my. As I write this today, I am still wearing my pj's. It's 5 p.m. Okay, we all have the flu and strep through so maybe I'm excused right now, but know what you are talking about. When did THIS happen? I still feel like I'm 23!

mamatutwo said...

throat. We all have the flu and strep throat, not strep through. Sorry. :(

Jodie said...

*I'm new here* and I feel you. :) I'm only 28, I say only b/c I'm still twenty-something. Often times I feel like the reflection will look better than it does. Then again, things have gone downhill rather quickly, having 3 kids in 5 years and all... My brain hasn't had time to really get it. Like, I'll look at a space and think I can fit through it, and then my hips bump into both sides of said space. :) Anyway, I totally relate with what you're saying. :)

Linda said...

This is my first time here, so I don't really have any right to speak into your life, but I so want to come alongside you and say that this is universal. Even people who are not that into their looks get a little worked up at times. I just recently wrote about being 45 and all that that means in my life, including appearance. You sound like your head is on straight, so no preaching here. I just want to say I'm enjoying all of your posts.