Day 117: A Body of True Confessions

(This post used to have photos of me. They have been removed by me. Hope you find the post useful.)

This is me HAPPY. This is my real smile caught by camera. I just found out the frozen banana bread ice-cream sandwich was going to be dipped in chocolate! That’s me in a nutshell. Give me chocolate and I forget everything else.

We have returned from Maui. And I am sorting through photos. I HATE  don’t care for photos of me.  I never ever feel like a photo looks like me. I see myself in parts, not in whole. So I see my nose, or the wrinkles around my brow, or the sun spot on my forehead, or the many other “flaws” that jump out at me. I tell myself I should look better. That I need to change. That I’ve aged. And so on….

No picture I have ever taken looks like how I see myself. And in every photo, I look so different (to me).

I get super depressed when I go through vacation photos, because I think I look absolutely terrible. I don’t think it’s a vanity thing. It really is not having a clue what I look like or understanding the image I am looking at. I try to tell myself positive messages, but somehow the messages get all twisted.

And then I get a host of negative messages, such as: “You need to lose fifteen more pounds. Imagine what you looked like before you lost those ten pounds. You are so HEAVY.” I tell myself horrible things, like: “Oh, your husband probably hated to take this photo of you, knowing you are starting to look soooo old.”

I’ve partaken in this negative self-talk, since puberty. Before then, I could care less. I had a huge overbite and a chipped front tooth, and would smile like I was a movie star. Something changed with puberty. Something changed when I realized people judge on appearances.

Thing is, I don’t notice the physical “flaws” in other people. When I look at their photos I see pure beauty. I see their essence. I think all people are beautiful. But I still get so terribly down on myself.

Posting photos of me on this blog is HUGE for me. Of course, I went through and cursed a dozen or so shots, before choosing the ones I felt safe to post.

Often, after a few years pass, I can look back on a photo, and see more of me. I can appreciate the happiness I had during the photo and see less of the flaws. I tell myself: “Why were you so hard on yourself. You’re sweet and kind. And you look absolutely fine!”

I’m hoping, this time, it won’t take a few years. I don’t know why the passing of time helps to view myself, but it does somehow.

I tell myself, I ought to be happy I can take a decent photo with little to no makeup on and my hair barely brushed, if brushed at all. I tell myself that everyone ages, that no one is perfect, that my distinct characteristics make me ME! But the talking doesn’t help. The negative thoughts come back full force. It really is a curse.

I don’t like worrying about how I look to other people. And I certainly don’t like worrying about how I look to me!

I’m putting this out there to help myself. To share my deepest thoughts, and in so doing release some of the associated doubts and deep-seeded fear. Heck! I just returned from one of the BEST VACATIONS in my life. Probably THE BEST, and I’m fretting over how ugly I am, telling myself I ought not go out in the world and be seen in public! It’s very, very ridiculous.

Maybe part of it is not having had a father who ever hugged me, called me pretty, or said he loved me. Could be that my father is so heavily into fitness, always firm and muscular, always concerned about his looks, that when I see me, I feel rather inadequate.

Could be, too, that it’s how my brain works. I know other people with Aspergers that see things in parts and have a hard time seeing the whole. Maybe seeing myself in parts, scrambles my beauty in my head. Sort of like seeing a lovely Black Beauty Horse cut and dissected into pieces on a platter. I think that’s what I do: Dissect and pull apart so that nothing remains but broken slabs of me.

Here is a list of what I feel uncomfortable about me:

1) Since my mid-twenties my arms have been thicker than I’d like, heavy and wide compared to other people my size. I have to be a size 2, seriously, for my arms to appear skinny. My husband says its proportional to my chest and that I have a swimmer’s body; another friend calls me ‘healthy.’ I don’t like either one of those observations, and would much prefer to have skinny arms! Skinny arms fits my personality. I see myself as petite, like a fairy. No fairies have a swimmer’s back.

2) I have incorrect posture. So does my son with Aspergers. It is hard for me to stand fully erect. I look funny, to me, when I stand up tall. I don’t know how to stand without feeling unnatural and in an awkward position. To protect myself from others, I have always hunched. I feel safer hunched. My posture makes me appear odd looking in photos. Same with my hands and arms. I don’t know where to put them in photos. And my smile….I never know what a real smile looks like.

3) My skin used to be perfect. I was very lucky. I looked like those kids in the suntan advertisements. Lots of California sun changed that. Now I’m spotted like a spotted lizard. This spots jump out at me in photos, as does every freckle, marking, mole, and “imperfection.” As I age, day by day, more markings appear. I don’t like to watch my skin change. It bothers me to no end.

4) My Italian nose will forever haunt me. I have tried to love it, truly. And it didn’t seem to get in the way of attracting previous mates; however, my nose is all I see in photos when I first look. That’s why I like far away shots. My nose looks cute if I’m standing back about five blocks!

5) My eyes. I’ve always loved my eyes. But now they appear sunken and old. Like I’m twenty years older than I am. Maybe that’s because I still feel like a teenager inside. But outside someone has redecorated, and I’m not too impressed.

6) My chin. At some angles, I look like I have three, and can’t tell where my neck ends and my face begins. I have a very prominent chin. My son’s orthodontist complimented my bone structure. Maybe if the whole world were orthodontists, I’d be set. I see a witches chin. The witch that has the house fall on her. I want to be the good witch. Luckily I have no warts or hair growing out of moles.

7) Sadness. Sometimes in photos I look very sad or even angry. It’s not how I’m feeling. I don’t feel irritated or melancholy, but I look like someone either just said something to piss me off or just told me my cat died. I try to look like me, and have no clue how to. It’s very frustrating. Sometimes I over smile so people will know I’m happy. Then my husband says: Don’t smile so intensely. Often my eyes bug out, if I’m trying too hard to smile.

8) My hair. It has a life of its own. I never know what to expect. My hair looks the best in the bathroom mirror, and as soon as I step outside the bathroom, my hair changes. I swear it does! Perhaps it is the lighting and the shadows, as my hair appears entirely different in every photo.

9) Shadows and lighting. The lighting of a photo changes how I appear to me. Sometimes I appear swollen or shrunken; other times expanded, elongated, and downright horrific to look at. I want to carry around a perfect lighting bulb above me, like a photographer. I have not posted the photos of me that make me look like I’m a marshmallow, that make my face appear shrunken into itself, and that show I’ve been tattooed with wrinkles. But they exist.

10) Ghastly spider veins. I’ve inherited those creepy little bluish-red lines that decorate my knees and thighs. I think I have as many as most people approaching their eighties. They are truly icky. I press on them and they magically disappear for ten seconds. My husband says that’s not what men are looking at. I don’t really care what men are looking at! I care what I’m looking at. And spider veins are not beautiful. I once read that a lady had lost a lot of function in her legs (mobility) and that she would do anything to have legs that moved well. She said who cared about spider veins. She’d be thankful to have any functioning legs. Reading information like that only makes me feel extremely guilty for not appreciating what I have. Then I just beat myself up more.

To be fair, I do like my eyebrows, my hair color, my teeth, my neck, the bottom half of my legs, and my toes. So that’s a good start, I suppose.

My Biggest Fear……That I will be too ugly to be loved. That’s it! I said it. It haunts me day and night. I feel so beautiful and light-filled inside, but I am afraid the outside will scare people away. It’s silly, I suppose, but it is how I feel. I don’t want to grow old. I don’t want to watch myself change. I don’t like change!!! I want to live a long life, but I want to freeze my appearance. I don’t know how to handle my body shifting. I don’t want to be one of those plastic surgery ladies or Botox queens, but I want to be able to look at a photo and see me.

Wine tasting, and what am I thinking. Oh, I look terrible in this photo. Notice how I chopped my arm out of the photo. Huge stress line on forehead, spotted arm, pointy chin….Gag me. I’m so super self-conscious and critical. If only this were a redeeming quality.

Almost didn’t post this because of my nose wrinkles. I secretly want you to think I’m 20. I had my kids at the age of 6! I’m such a goof-head. Someone change my brain, please!!!

I see big nose, forehead wrinkles, and fat face. This is what I see. I want to see friendship, love, and happiness. But I think: I wonder why my friend likes me when I am ugly. Yes, this is sad, but this is truth.

I love this picture. This is truly me HAPPY. Right before I surfed. My arms are covered so I feel safer. And this is one cool dude!

I like this photo because I’m far enough away that my nose looks cute and you can’t see my wrinkles! Maybe I’ll just stay a distance away from people. Of course, I see my flabby arms and my double chin and my pointy little ear. But my teeth look white!

I’m crying streams of tears. This is beneficial. This is healing. I’ve told my secrets. They shall no longer haunt me!

32 thoughts on “Day 117: A Body of True Confessions

  1. These are great pictures! Sounds like the trip was wonderful.

    Beautiful is one of my favorite songs of all time. Love it. I use it sometimes as a ring tone for my cell to remind myself of the beauty in me. And all of us. 🙂 Thank you for being brave enough to share pics of yourself. I’ll be sharing one on my blog of me and my daughter for Wordless Wednesday tomorrow as I’ve decided you know what? I need to be in front of the camera [or camera phone!] too!

    1. Oh, I love that you are going to get in front of the camera!!! Let your true colors and beauty shine. Please send me a direct link in comment section on Wednesday!!! :))) Sam

  2. Sam,

    I love the pictures. You are skin and soul deep beautiful. I feel warm happy cheer radiating from my laptop. I don’t have enough hugs, so –love button!

    1. Thank you for saying so. I’m am glad that this made you feel happy and cheerful. That makes me happy and cheerful. I’ll take those hugs!!!! Love to you, Sweetie Pie. Sam

  3. Hello my lovely friend,
    I absolutely loved looking at these photos and all I saw was my beautiful friend smiling at me.
    Now… silly girl, you need to stop with all that negative chat, I won’t allow it.
    You are beautiful inside and out, fearfully and wonderfully made and created in His image.
    I see you, you shine, you radiate love and acceptance.

    “I’m crying streams of tears. This is beneficial. This is healing. I’ve told my secrets. They shall no longer haunt me!” Good… Tears are healing we both know this.

    We are Aspie and this is how our misunderstanding of who we are has affected us.
    I totally get you with this because I am exactly the same.
    We don’t have to beat ourselves up anymore. It’s a lie my friend, we lie to ourselves.
    We don’t have to live in it anymore. We know the truth, we are wired differently that’s all.

    I have to also say…perfect choice of songs. I absolutely LOVE both of them.
    Here are a couple more for you.
    Love you my lovely friend. Lees. xxx 🙂 ❤

    Anyone reading this that's a bit prudish miss out the first video please. 😛

    1. I’ve heard the first song before, but had never seen the video. So awesome. Shed lots of tears with that one. The second video you shared with me a while back, and I forgot how much I loved it. Perfect timing. Yes, the “misunderstanding of who we are has affected us.” I like to be strong. I would like to say I totally love and accept me. But I also have to shine a light of truth at where I am right now. And I know other women are like this too, Aspie or not. Yes, please don’t allow my negative chat….slap me!!!! Thank you for being

  4. Sam….You’re lovely inside and out….Honestly and I say that knowing how much i worry…you should not worry…you glow,,,,you always do

  5. First of all, You are beautiful! Secondly, I know exactly what you mean. I had this same conversation with my husband the other day. He tells me constantly that I have the lowest self esteem and am harder on myself than anyone he has ever met. I do not like the changes in my body. I hate looking at pictures of myself. And I constantly wonder about people being friends with me because I am “ugly & fat.” In reality, I am none of those things. Inside, I think I am funny and adorable. So, I am constantly shocked when I walk by a mirror and see someone who doesn’t seem to look like “me.” I am glad to know that I am not the only one who struggles with this and I honestly believe it is asperger’s. I have to remind myself that my husband thinks I am pretty and that is what matters most. I am at a point that I want to be happy with my body and the changes it is going through as I get older, I just want my brain processing to catch up to being content with me. I have wondered if it was because I didn’t have a dad who told me all the time I was pretty to him (he wasn’t even there) or a mother who spent the early years of my life struggling with an eating disorder. I do find encouragement in my children, that I am raising them different. If I tell them they are cute or pretty, they usually respond with, “I know! You tell me all the time!” So, I think talking about it and getting it out in the open can greatly help, not for vanity issues but for openess and contentment with being oneself. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Oh, what a fantastic response. I hear me in your words, so much. Yes, yes, yes, is all I can say. thank you, for letting me know you UNDERSTAND. I do the same with my 3 boys, always building them up!!! Thank you so very much, Amanda. Huge hugs to beautiful YOU!!! 🙂 Sam

      1. Thank you! You are so sweet! Your blog is one of my favorites and one these days I hope to be brave enough to actually write one of my own! Us aspie girls have to speak up! We are wonderful! And even with all the negative thoughts going on inside my head, I seriously would not want to be someone else! I love having my brain!

  6. I can relate very much to this post. I have struggled with dysmorphia what feels like forever, I cannot recall a time when I have not struggled. Even as a child. Eating disorders, negative self-talk, starving myself you name it I have tortured my outside and inside. It doesn’t help that I have no comprehension of what I look like. There is a lot wrapped up into all of that. I have written several posts about it throughout the years. Still I struggle.

    The truth is your beauty and shine pour out. You cannot contain it. It masterfully fills your words, and sparkles from your eyes. You are a radiant light inside and out. No fears of not being loved. You are becoming even more brilliant in shine everyday. Shine on radiant beauty shine on!! 🙂

    1. I often wonder about dysmorphia and me. I think my dad has it, certainly. I knew you had struggles, but am always saddened when you share about it What a challenge in life. I have no comprehension about what I look like. I often think of Buddhist texts that explains the whole of us does not in fact exist, and wonder if perhaps spiritually some of us know this, and cannot comprehend the whole flesh, because we are energy and spirit. Thank you for your words. I feel the same about you. Thank you for the note about no fears….I think I could be fed by those words everyday and still be hungry. Love you for you, lovely Angel. xoxoxo Sam

  7. Hi Sam,

    I have a son with Aspergers, and I am pretty sure I have a fair amount of it too. A friend told me about your blog and I tick so many of your listed traits.

    I have always seen a chubby and grumpy old woman in the mirror, and could never believe my husband when he said I was not. One day, I had just bought one of those joined up scarfes and I was putting it on in front of the mirror. It was to big it covered up my head. I happened to look in the mirror was wondered who the skinny woman was, when I realised it was me! As my face was covered up, I had de-identified from the reflection and seen clearly without any projections. It was an eye-opener to find out how much my perceptions were flawed.

    When I look at your photos, I see a lively and vivacious woman full of spirit. Who cares about the spots, nose, arms, etc. Well it is easy to see the beauty in others and we have to learn to see it in ourselves.


    1. Oh, thank you so much for commenting. I understand what you are saying about the grumpy old woman in the mirror! My husband tells me I am wrong, too. I should try the scarf thing….lol…Thank you for your kind words; I think I am lively….or would like to think so. Yes, learning to see the beauty in OURSELVES. Thanks so much for your words. Hugs, Sam

  8. Sam,
    Loved the post, but, I agree with alienhippy, quit with the negatives. I did those most of my life and, still, have to grab control at times. You have a wonderful family and, most important, you have you. You are beautiful, Sam. Your pictures show the same beautiful woman outside that I see inside.
    Smile 🙂

    1. Ah….the negatives…..they are okay….they had to come out….and now they are being absorbed and transformed. Better to let them out, then to lock them in, if intention is for greater wisdom and healing. I feel much, much better now about ME. I freed me through my words. Thank you for your support and kindness. Big smiles. 🙂 Sam

    1. Thank you. It was not easy to write. I feel so much freedom since doing so. And I do feel prettier because I released that shadow side of me. Thanks for sharing your blog with me. I’m glad you have a good friend. They make all the difference in the world. Sam

  9. Sam, you are gorgeous, stop being so hard on yourself! All the photos were wonderful! The boys are very handsome! You are very blessed!

    1. George ~ And that’s why I adopted you a long time ago, because you know just what to say to a lady to make her feel better!!!! Thanks so much. I think a lot of it as having not had a dad to say those things to me. )) Thank you for being you. Hugs, Sam

  10. nice pictures!!!! nice smiles…nice tan…your boys are all handsome…wonderful friends you got!!!! and you are a beautiful person, Sam…lovely lady!!!! whatever you have confessed…lol…i don’t see those at all…i see a WONDERFUL gal 🙂 🙂 love and {{{{hugs}}}} thanks for sharing your vacay pics!!!! love ’em all 🙂 🙂

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