Beauty standards. What are they? They’re Kim Kardashian’s face, Kylie Jenner’s lips and Jennifer Aniston’s body. They’re also annoying, paralyzing and disturbing.
For me, I’ve developed an aptitude for rebelling societal norms, but when it comes to beauty standards, I unfortunately fell hostage to its hypnotizing effects. This, in turn, shaped a feeble self-image and fucked me up over the course of my life. Let me explain.
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I’ve always felt different. When I was younger, I loathed my freckles. I felt as though they made me ugly. Then, throw in bright red locks and a string bean physique – it’s peculiarity at its finest.
As I type that out, I picture that girl (as though I don’t know her) and think, “she sounds pretty cute, awkward, but cute”! But that utter abhor of my heavily speckled skin was a daily struggle for me and lasted well into my mid 30s.
Then, as I type that, I think, “what the fuck… your mid 30s”? Wow. Just. Wow.
So, why did I (and sometimes still do) feel this way about myself? I think it’s a variety of things, which has changed over the years. When I was a pre-teen and into my teen years it was a couple of influences that I recall. Let me explain.
I grew up in a home where my mom was critical of her looks, and who also struggled with the malady of perfection. I remember her dieting quite a bit – an incessant need for body excellence. Yet, my mom wasn’t ever overweight, at least I didn’t think so. But that didn’t matter – her inaccurate view of herself was in her mind… accurate, and that faux veracity perpetuated chronic dieting coupled with a low self-image.
So, what was the perfect weight that she was trying to attain? Not sure? I don’t think it was ever attainable. However, her greatest mastery was (and still is) her keen ability to riposte in sarcasm when given a compliment. A simple “thank you” wasn’t an option of responses to choose from – after all, a compliment is uncomfortable, right? To her (and me), it is.
With that, I now have acquired the astute dodge of a compliment – a simple “thank you” isn’t an option for me either. Although, I’m much better than my purist predecessor… phew.
I also think it was the popular sitcoms on television, like Who’s the Boss? for random example – I mean, come on, Alyssa Milano? Look, it’s not her fault she’s beautiful and that her pinup image from Tiger Beat magazine was stuck to the desks of every horny, sixth grade boys’ desk at Hobbs Elementary. How do you compete with that? You don’t!
But, if you’re burdened with low self-esteem issues like me, then comparing yourself to someone like Alyssa Milano is innate. That comparison is a parasite that extracts life from one’s self-worth.
What about movies?
When Molly Ringwald was notorious, I should have been pumped about a redhead on the scene representing. But no, I felt worse, and now I was comparing myself to another
redhead person, which even further denigrated my looks. A) She doesn’t have freckles and; B) She has gorgeous lips. Me, I used to think I had alien-slit lips. I’m not joking.
So, my freckles were hideous, and I had no fucking lips. I know. It’s crazy talk… but, it’s real talk.
Needless to say, and all joking aside, it fostered something sublime. I was taught by my very sarcastic and fusspot mother that beauty comes from within, so even though I felt physically unattractive, I made being a good person a top priority. Thanks, mom, for ingraining that tenet in me.
Anyway, there I was, a great person on the inside, but ridiculously ugly on the outside, so I thought.
Currently, I still battle with my appearance, especially when it comes to my weight, but fortunately my level of struggle is not as much as when I was uglier (but skinnier 😉). My freckles no longer bother me, and my alien-slit lips, well, they’re not as bad as a real extraterrestrial’s lips. Not to say that I wouldn’t mind some plumpness, but I’ll stick with Kylie Jenner’s lip kit as a last resort should I find it important to fit into the big lip gang.
This is the thing; beauty standards fuck people up – an unrelenting gnaw of vanity that cripples and incarcerates you in a narcissism prison. And, no matter how you try and live by these beauty standards, it will only sink you into a false sense of reality. The real you won’t exist because you will be smothered in fatuous norms.
Be you. Love you… freckles, red hair, alien-slit lips and all.