Monday, December 13, 2010

Mirror mirror

I am not trying to get compliments with this post. I am simply stating how I feel even if I know how ridiculous it sounds. There is a part of me hoping that we as a society can stop the younger generation from feeling this way. I know that I am not alone in my struggle with my body image.

One of my favorite bloggers did a post recently on how her self image affects her.

As I was reading it, a light went off and I realized “holy shit” I do the exact same thing and it can literally predetermine how my whole day will go and how I interact with others.

I obsess about how I look, how fat I feel and how I am not as perfect as I would like to be or as perfect as I perceive the girl next to me to be. There are days when I look in the mirror and want to scratch my eyes out. There are days when I am feeling bloated and fat and I want to hide.

Since I can’t do that, I come out swinging.

I will pick fights with people I love just because my pants are too tight that day. I will have zero patience with my daughter just because my arms don’t look tone in the sleeveless shirt I am wearing. I will yell at a co-worker because my hair is too frizzy that day. If I am dating someone and I think the girl next to me looks better, OMG, they won’t even know what hit them. I won’t come out and say, hey, I am feeling insecure. Instead I will either get mad at something else or just clam up.

I don’t think I even realized that I do this to the extent that it happens until I read her post. My perceived appearance literally controls me every single minute of my day.

In my head I know this is ridiculous and yet I can’t stop myself from the self hatred.

She mentioned in her post that she can pinpoint the moment that she started to feel this way and when I look back at my child hood that moment is not so obvious to me. However, I do remember from a very early age, I am guessing 7 or 8 years old being very conscious of how I looked to other people. It seems like the more attractive I made myself, the more positive attention I received. Obviously, that is perceived positive attention, but in a way, I do think that society treats “beautiful” people better. My girlfriend in Jr. High was amazingly beautiful and I was always envious of how she was treated. Girls wanted to be her friend and every guy wanted to date her. Even the teachers treated her different, better. I realize now that I was always more insecure around her than some of my other friends. Why do we do this???? Why do we put external beauty on a pedestal?

Why can I not see what others tell me? When am I going to see what others do? When am I going to allow myself to appreciate all of my hard work? When am I going to see the real me and not what the mirror shows me?


  1. I definitely have good days and bad days in that regard. I wish it didn't control us so much!

  2. When you learn to just say "what the hell" a lot more, and stop being so mean to yourself, I think. Being content with who we are . . . how smart, how gorgeous, how successful, whatever . . . has got to be one of the toughest things for any of us to do, even though it seems like it should be easy.

    What works for me, very often, is remembering how REALLY crappy some people's lives are, from the superficial appearance things to major, heart-breaking, physical impairments and illnesses, or horrible daily living situations. How some people deal with and create very warm, fulfilling and rewarding lives with some of the really horrible cards they've been dealt in life is beyond me, but it makes me grateful.

    You truly are a strikingly, breathtakingly beautiful, healthy, intelligent, funny and charming woman, with a gorgeous precious little girl, for whom you are the entire world [whether she is able to tell you that or not :-)] . . . let's just build on those big pluses, shall we?


  3. Such a terribly complicated subject....frightening, really. The power our society has infused, via the media, into appearance is simply terrifying. There is a trap in beauty. Within it's walls, you forget that WHO you so much more valuable. The "who" doesn't change with the humidity or water weight or baked brie. I make it a personal goal--and have even asked others--to compliment my children on what they choose and do more than how they look. This is much harder with girls. Perhaps if you focus on this with your will see more in who you are too?

  4. I like the honest Danielle. Just be yourself. One day it will all click.

  5. I may be wrong and I'm sure it is different for everyone. I think that when you are feeling cenetered and positive and are in a good place emotionally about yourself that helps with the positive perception with the physical you. It is a bit cyclical though. When I'm having a really off day emotionaly, sometimes having a great hair day will help boost that. Or if I'm totally sporting the circus tent pants and picnic table cloth top and threatening to slap a Good Year blimp sticker on my ass, being emotionaly upbeat can help counter balance that. Although some days just suck assholes. *grin*

    I really like Chantel's suggestion. I try to be more aware of the compliments I give my daughter. She preens at being complimented on her physical appearance and often tells me I am cute. But I want her more to know that she is brilliantly smart, funny, engaging, talented...

    Oooh...had another thought - sorry its a sporatic day lmao...I have a power color too. And I usually only pull it out of the closet when I'm having a dumpy day. That still focuses on the physical but it improves my mood enough that I haven't yet been arrested for homicide.

  6. Oh and I try really really hard not to focus on the fact that I SUCK ASS AT SPELLING! IGNORE MY TYPOS PLEASE

  7. That’s easy, when you break the mirror and stand in front of my eyes totally naked and then you see that you are beautiful and have been from the very start.. ok well I guess you don’t have to do it naked… *grins* that part was just me..

  8. oh heart goes out to you...woman are so hard on themselves...and it does start when we are little girls!! As I read your post I wondered why this is not as much of a struggle for me..don't get me wrong..I KNOW I could loose several pounds, I see the wrinkles..and the stretch marks..but I don't really care! I often go all day and never think to look in the mirror again. Its not because I have it all together, quite the opposite! I think its that I have come to accept who I am on the inside! The more I accept and get to know me, the more I accept who I am on the outside! It does not mean I BELIEVE I am beautiful..or thin..or anything like that! It just means that I am OK with how I am!! I accept me completely! This has been a process...a journey that I think you are on the way to as well....

  9. I think there have been studies done that attractive people fare better in job interviews, too. It's really sucky that our society is structured that way.

    I totally compensate for my average appearance by trying to be smart and funny. Humor has always been my best weapon. At least if I wasn't the prettiest girl in the room, I knew I was the funniest. But it shouldn't matter, should it?

    Honestly, I think the best way to get over this sort of stuff is to spend time with yourself. Do things alone that require YOU - not other people - to pay attention to you. I did a lot of solo hiking back in the day and I think that helped my self esteem immensely.

  10. It is unfortunate that stuff like that happens. My wife puts physical appearance above all else and she has taught my daughters to do the same thing. I think the older we get (or at least I do) we realize there are more important things in a person than what is on the outside. It is whats on the inside that matters most.

  11. When you start liking other things about yourself more you will eventually start to like your looks too. You will start to be kinder to yourself all over. It will happen you will get there. I had a low self esteem. I was a size 22. I haven't really changed that much of myself but I take better care of myself. I am less depressed and now I am a size 14 and still losing weight. I am happier and things are going way better for me.

    Start by keeping your list with you and adding to it. When you get to where you like WHO you are and HOW you treat others the looks don't matter so much and people are really drawn to you. I still don't understand why people flirt with me so much but sometimes now when I look in the mirror I can say - OH there I like my smile or I like my eyes. I can find SOMETHING positive to say. :) YOU WILL GET THERE!


  12. I'm not in my brain to say anything of substance today except "yeah. me too."

    It's hard to remember that you are not your body when it's all you see. But... you're not.

    Shine from the inside, my beautiful-on-the-outside friend.

  13. You're going to get a compliment anyway... I don't think you have anything to worry about. You got the Hot Mama Award, didn't you? ;)

    I would also like to take this opportunity to express sincere appreciation for my penis and the lack of obsession over physical appearance that goes with it. *fistbump*

  14. I completely understand you, as you know. I guess we'll just have to keep on working on it. Being conscious of it is half the battle, I think. Now we just have to figure out how to win the second half!

  15. I thought you were wonderful before I knew what you looked like... I still think you're wonderful and hot... just saying.
    Just about everyone has body image issues... Personally, I think I have puny arms but I'm told otherwise on several occasions when the topic comes up...

  16. Wow, it is crazy how we read things sometimes and a "light" comes on! I had a light bulb moment reading this.... beautiful people DO get treated better. I hate to say it too, but I have experienced it. When I was "fat" people looked through me, wouldn't look me in the eye, avoided me, either ignored me or called me out. Now, since my looks have changed people have changed too. It really is amazing, yet disheartening how most times people don't even realize when they do it.
    I have also noticed it with my kids. My little girl who has long blonde hair and blue eyes get WAY more attention than my little red haired boy. People flock around her. The little guy gets attention too, but it is not the same. I think I try to over-compensate because I feel bad for him!!

    I agree that it is sad that we value looks so highly! But we are taught from birth to do it!

  17. Hey, I'm not a good looking guy---the mirror is there because there should be a mirror in the bathroom and I need a guide to shave---but there is no use getting down on myself because that's me.
    The girls that I like are those who can smile with their eyes and can carry a conversation without saying "I am" too many times---and can venture out in public without makeup, wearing a pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt.
    Sweet lady, not everyone in the world will like you---not everyone will be attracted by your looks---but you don't need everyone in your life and you don't need everyone to like you--
    You just need to like you
    There is no use in getting angry---anger makes you ugly.
    Remember---If you wake up tomorrow, it is a good day---because there are people who didn't

  18. Oh! hell, girl! We all have body/image issues! We've been programmed from childhood to look, act, be a certain way. Airbrushing, PhotoShop, make-up, extensions, etc. all combine in print ads, TV, commericals, movies, to make us feel like we aren't worthwhile. But we ARE!!! No, we're not perfect, neither are the beauties that we are bombarded with every fucking day! We are what we are - we can improve it by exercise (that's a good thing for mind and body), by diet (sensible) and by looking inward to find what we do like/love about ourselves and nurturing THAT. What WE like about ourselves, NOT what someone else wants us to be or what we think someone else wants us to be - only what WE want to be. (Fuck! I sound like Marlo Thomas!) Sorry for the rant but you've got a beautiful spirit and I'm pretty damn sure that it shows on the outside.

  19. Hmmm...

    You said, "When am I going to see the real me and not what the mirror shows me?"

    The mirror shows you what YOU see. That is where you need to direct yourself... into your perception of who you are and what you look like. Television is full of 'gorgeous' women who are purging themselves, or have other dysfunctional activities going on in their lives, because they perceive themselves to be fat/ugly/'dysfunction of the day'...

    None of us are perfect, dear... We just need to be easier on ourselves... How do we stop others from casting stones at us when we are busy doing that to ourselves?


  20. You certainly aren't the only one to feel this way. Outside of childhood, our society, propagated by the very gender that touts to abhor it, puts pressure on you. Just look at the fashion magazines, the models, fitness magazines...I've been thinking of writing a post on this issue from the man's point of view (who bears varying portions of the brunt on this) and this is the prompting that I needed.

    I'd like to reference your blog if that's cool.


  21. Because you are hard headed and dont listen.