Friday, July 04, 2008

declaration of independence from crazy beliefs?

I was going to title this post: "What crazy belief would you like to declare your independence from?" and then realized that was horrible grammar. And "From what would you like to declare your independence this Fourth of July" was probably worse. But pick the version of the question, and feel free to answer it (grammatically or no) in the comments.

I would love to declare my independence from the crazy belief that if I were just pretty enough, I would never have any problems. I know, intellectually, that this is a crazy, irrational, ridiculous belief. But somewhere deep down, I just know that if I could lose the weight for good, and also somehow permanently reverse the aging process, that I would be happy forever and nothing bad could ever happen to me. No one could ever hurt me. It would be like wearing a very beautiful suit of armor that deflected pain.

ElasticWaist's Weetabix muses on the fact that normal-weight teens feel fat (and quotes me, thanks!). As I've written before, I don't find that surprising at all, given the hyper-attention to celebrities' imaginary figure flaws. If you're waiting for a time when you feel good enough, and beautiful enough, to never have to worry that you will be hurt or scared or sad, you might as well stop waiting. LaurieWrite's post title says it all: "Sometimes (even pretty) people jump out of windows because they're sad." This looks game is a sure loser. Everyone wants what they don't have.

I have a very faint memory from when I was a very small girl of sitting on my grandmother's lap and being fascinated by the crepey skin on her neck. I reached up to touch it to see what it felt like. She was upset. "Don't touch that, it's ugly." That moment might have been the start of the awareness that looks were good and bad and not just a fact of life. I imagine that until then it was more like, "This is what my grandmother looks like, and I love her, and that skin looks kind of interesting." If so, it might have been the last moment of sanity about looks in my own life. I'd like to get a little of that back.


  1. FWIW, I still think you could double for Isabella Rossellini and that you're beautiful inside and out. The idea of a "very beautiful suit of armor that deflected pain" is awesome and if you find one, maybe they'll have them in every size for all of us.

    Your memory of your grandmother's reaction makes me sad. What you meant as just an exploration of someone you loved, she saw through her prism of pain about her looks. Makes me stop and think about how I react and that not all interest in someone's body is because of attraction or loathing; sometimes it's just out of love.

  2. I remember seeing an obituary of a beautiful woman who died from cancer in her early 40's. When I saw the photo, I remember thinking that if I saw her walking down the street I'd jump to the conclusion that she was so attractive that she must have a perfect life. You really can't tell a book by its cover, can you?

  3. Carol read my mind - that is what I always think - when I have the fleeting - if I could trade places thoughts - that body might look better at first glance - but hard telling what is "underneath".

  4. I thought I was fat in grade school and junior high. I look back at pictures and I so wasn't! Of course by high school...Thanks for posting!


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07