Jennifer Tress’s ex-husband told her she wasn’t pretty enough for him so she started a blog, like you do when your core is rocked, and now wrote a book about her experience of not being pretty enough. Sure, she’s pretty enough now but back then, she wasn’t pretty enough for this one guy.
I don’t want to dismiss Tress’s experience: feeling like you’re not enough is transcendent and universal for most of us.
But, uh, what if you’re actually ugly and totally okay with it? Like me. I think that I’m ugly by conventional standards, but it’s more a relief than a burden.
When I say that I think that I’m ugly, I’m not saying I have low self-esteem or think I’m not enough. I’m saying that I’m not participating in whatever bizarre system of worth-measuring and judgment that our culture has erected and endorses (or doesn’t endorse) when it’s convenient to them.
I’m not even saying that I get to define beauty on my own terms; I’m not even going to define beauty.
Why even bother with that mess when there are more important things to worry about like which blouse says “I kick-ass, take names, remember those names, and am able to recall the information you just told me!” Or the best pen to write lyrics with. Or how to motivate myself to do something I don’t want to do.
Comments and compliments on my looks have always made me uncomfortable, not least because of my inner skeptic (What do they want from me?). Also because my ugliness or prettiness is something I have zero control over. And what’s pretty anyway? What am I suppose to tell the plastic surgeon?
This whole business with beauty and wanting to be considered beautiful is a black hole with barbed wire miraculously strung around it. You’re constantly assessing, comparing and contrasting your looks against ever changing criteria, criteria you have no way of viewing beforehand, criteria shoddily guessed at in thick magazines of ads, criteria based on moods and stomach pains. You get sucked in and torn apart as you get closer to that pit, to the shame.
Others, poets, lovers can have beauty and all its trappings, the minefield, the triteness. I’m not going to sulk around in shame or puff about in overcompensating confidence. It’s not my ego that needs saving, it’s everyone else’s.
I’m out of it, over it, done.