“Hello, Gorgeous.” I looked at my partner, then glanced around wondering if they were talking to me. As we were alone together, it seemed pretty obvious that I was the person being addressed. I just shook my head a little and gave them a hug. I absolutely couldn’t see why they were calling me gorgeous so I dismissed it and moved on.
Instead of being upset or annoyed with me for not acknowledging what they meant as a compliment, they have only kept repeating that same statement to me, sometimes multiple times a day or with slight variations for the last five years. Maybe eventually I’ll get it. I’ll get out of bed one morning and look in the mirror and see what my partner sees. Or there will be some crazy transcendental moment mid-orgasm. I don’t know.
I do know that I’ve never considered myself to even be cute, much less words like beautiful or gorgeous, both of which I am frequently called by my absolute favorite person in the world. Instead I look in the mirror and all I can see are the flaws that make me so human and imperfect and what I see isn’t good enough. It never has been for as long as I can remember. In a world where looks appear to be valued over everything else, I was raised to be the smart one. And it taught me that smart girls/women aren’t pretty. We’re awkward and maybe a little ugly on the outside, but beautiful on the inside (where it counts.) Being fat as well means I feel like I have that hurdle to jump as well, but I can’t jump; no really I broke a bone trying track once.
So here I am, over 30, overweight, and left staring at a reflection that I just don’t see as positive. Granted I no longer see myself as overwhelmingly negative and sometimes I don’t even see myself in a negative light at all. So I might be making tiny steps towards progress if you can call being neutral about one’s own image progress. But that neutrality often leaves me feeling a bit blind, because I don’t really look at myself in a mirror unless I am deliberately searching for whatever flaw I might have, either real or perceived. Often, I wonder what is wrong with me that I can be so conscious of my own appearance that I can’t just relax and see the good things about myself.
Of course, then I tell myself that there is nothing good about my appearance and I move on to something else that nags at me or my self esteem or whatever. I’ve just accepted that I’m never going to be the “pretty one”; instead I’m considered smart and that is supposed to be enough in a society where the female form is supposed to aspire to reach unattainable heights of beauty that I know I will never see. And my partner always comes back to “Hello, Gorgeous.”
If you missed last week’s Wicked Wednesday, you can find it here.