...because every so often, I have to talk about something other than my lack of knitting and my sucky job. Not often, but sometimes.
Bells wrote the other day about how she grew up convinced she wasn't pretty. That got me thinking about childhood, and how I'd always felt the same. Now, I'm pretty sure our family situations are different, but if that's the case, how did we both end up growing up feeling inadequate? What is it about us, and a startling number of other women, judging by the comments left, that we didn't feel beautiful?
I have always been loved, and surrounded by my wonderful, warm family. My mom has always told me I'm beautiful. But for some reason, I grew up convinced that of my parents' three children, I was the plain, stupid one. I know now that I'm not, but for a long, long time, I was convinced that I was ugly and dumb. My sisters got to be beautiful and smart, and here was I, stuck in the middle, just floating along.
I think, from some comments that my girl friends have made, that they may have grown up feeling un-pretty (which is such a great song). Now, I always take care to let them know that they are lovely young women. It's no less than the truth, but I try hard to compliment them.
And all this has got me wondering about women and how we treat ourselves and view ourselves, especially in a group. When you're out with some lady friends, and you say, "Man, I really need to go on a diet and lose X number of pounds, I'm so huge," they may or may not rush to tell you you look great the way you are (however true that may or may not be), but then, and this is the scary thing, no matter how skinny or how beautiful the people you're with are, at least half of them will say, "Oh, I'm so huge/have such a big nose/have such ugly hair/have this third eyeball in the middle of my forehead. You look great, but I need to lose weight/get a nose job/change my hair color/get the third eyeball in the middle of my forehead removed." And then other women will continue the trend. We spend so much time bonding by tearing ourselves down. And we try so hard not to be too arrogant, or too proud of our bodies. Besides, if you were to look at your lady friends and say, "I look great the way I am weight/nose/hair/extraneous eyeballs and all, please pass the cake." you would probably be lynched. At the very least, you would never be invited out again.
When men get together, it's all about the bragging. Trust me, I've seen and heard a lot of man gatherings. They're all God's greatest gift to the world. And they all agree. Women can only bond that way by tearing ourselves, and sometimes whichever mutual acquaintances happen to not be with us, to shreds. No matter how pretty or how smart or how happy we are, we are always too unattractive, dumb, or discontent. This isn't even always the truth, but it's how we communicate. And this, my friends, is why we need to bolster each other, and ourselves. We need to not be afraid to love our bodies and our lives (though, if you have a third eyeball, it's okay to get that taken care of. nobody would judge you for being a little self-conscious about that) and to admit that in public. But I'd bet you a lot of yarn that this is a thought that won't take hold. Which is a weird thing, since there are several psychological studies showing that people who concentrate on positives in their lives are happier. Maybe women need to change the way we relate, at least a little.
What are your thoughts on beauty? This is enough of me babbling for one night, but this is a topic that has fascinated me for a long time. Let's discuss it.