(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!