I don't always post links here to the work I write elsewhere, but in my fortnightly column piece this past Friday I wrote about something that was surprisingly tough to write about. My face, actually (read it here). Well, my self-image as a whole. I'm proud of it as a piece, in part because sharing that stuff "aloud" isn't the most comfortable thing ever. It's hard to bare one's insecurities. It's one thing to do it on a tiny blog like this, and quite another when it's sharing on a local news website with a bit of a wider reach. I pitched the idea, but then had to do a lot of thinking about what I really wanted to share.
A quote from said article to sum it up:
I’m deeply self-conscious about my appearance, to the point where when I put together a bio page for my blog, my first inclination was to write about how I’m kind of boyish and wonky-looking. My non-conventionally-pretty-appearance was the first thing I thought of when pondering the essence of who I am. Wonky. Boyish. Awkward. Plain. These are the words that rise to the surface. Tiny knives that I throw at myself.
I want to change for my daughter. If I’m always throwing those knives at myself, and there’s this little person who shares those traits and who’s privy to those remarks, then the logical conclusion she might make would be that she, too, should sharpen her blades.Of course, I can just do my thing, embrace my non-conventional face, and get on with life. And possibly fix the fluoride stains that plague me with insecurity and shame. (I'm all up for suggestions about how to fix these stains naturally, btw. As in, with less money.) But it's hard. It's very, very hard to change the inner monologue, to keep those words behind my teeth. I'm hoping it gets easier over time. I don't hate the way I look. There are days when I think I look pretty cute (usually after I get a much-needed haircut and I wonder why I waited that long). But there are other times when I just feel so very, very rotten, and I let it bleed out into everything. Suddenly, no matter how many text logs I have from my husband full of "you're cuuuuuute" messages, I'm just BLAH and not good enough. I need to stop seeing myself that way. I need to stop seeing myself as less-than simply because my facial structure is more a-typical (in my eyes).
Tess posted a link to this article ("When Your Mother Says She's Fat") in the comments of my piece, and I found it touching and beautiful and perfect. Because these things are so, so familial and entrenched. And I want to be mindful of that, going forward.
The words we say, even just about ourselves, matter. It shouldn't be "even" or "just" about ourselves, anyway. The words we say about ourselves matter, because we are important, just like the people who hear us are important, too.