Good morning readers!
This is a deep one, so right into it..
Between the ages of 16 and 22 my physical appearance occupied about 87% of my mental capacity on a daily basis. Things like how flat my belly was, the gap between my thighs, great hair, wonderful clothes, expensive makeup, working out 5 days a week, running in the morning. constantly thinking about what I could and couldn’t eat, drink, how I was going to make time in the day to get my nails done. *Sigh* one might even go as far as to call me vain….maybe. But these things really made me feel happy and looking great all the time gave me joy. It wasn’t just about being super thin either, it was about being able to walk down the street in a new dress that slid over my hips like a loose-fitting-satin glove, turning heads right and left. What’s odd is that I’ve always been uncomfortable with people staring at me, so I think I was doing it for myself. Or perhaps I was literally so insecure that I felt the need to do these things merely to be accepted or worthy in the first place. Oh, the human psyche.
So what happened? Just a few short years later and I couldn’t be a more different person. I look back to my former self and can identify the ways in which my vanity became an obsession and overpowered me. I was nothing, not an actual person, just a well-dressed hot body with good hair, capable of making men desire me and women envy me. And honestly, any man or woman with enough sense would see through this pathetic charade and experience neither one of these emotions.
Ok, now I’m getting down on myself and feeling sad. I have ALSO always been funny, smart and eclectic. So let’s continue with the story.
I feel like an evolved version of the human species compared to the young, empty shell that I oozed out of. My appearance doesn’t dictate me and never did, it just took me a while to see it. Once the vanity was removed (diminished, let’s go with), I was able to look at aspects of my appearance and see something else. Example; the shirt I’m wearing is plaid and matches my pants. Because they’re pajamas. Because I don’t work a 9-5 job, and on Friday mornings I don’t get dressed until 3, and I wear my pajamas while I blog at the kitchen table. They’re plaid because my mom likes plaid and gifted them to me for Christmas because I have the kind of mom who likes comfy Christmas pajamas.
I’ve gained a few pounds in the last year and I look down at my extra belly and I actually like it because it reminds me that I’m the girl who just likes to have like three breakfasts. I also look down and see defined abs alongside the expanse of bum and remember how strong I am from being a fitness instructor. All of my ‘extra’ holds a little story about me.
My expensive Hunter Rain-boots have been chewed at the top. Five years ago I would have put a brand-new pair on a credit card, now I wouldn’t dream of it because my little puppy chews things and my ratty boots remind me of him.
I believe societal trends dictated aspects of the compulsions I experienced to an extent, but not completely. Five years ago, if society had dictated something other than being thin and well dressed, my obsessions probably wouldn’t have manifested in that direction. The obsession was there, and the obsession will always be there. Some of us just live with the need to put our outwards appearance first. This is a burden and I accept it, however I have also learned that your body and hair will not bring you love, joy, goals, hobbies, passions, mistakes, family, adventure…things I prioritize now that make me feel alive.
Until next time…