I was looking through my pictures on fetlife the other day. Master has uploaded some new ones that he touched up a bit with photo editing, but he hasn’t done much with them. I really like those pictures – for the first time, I found myself thinking “Wow…I look great!” Then I perused the rest of them…and curled my lip. It made me realize just how much I really don’t like to see myself in pictures.
For the record, I’ve never thought of myself as ugly. By that same token, I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of myself as pretty either. I’ve never looked in the mirror and said to myself, “You’re beautiful.” I’m not a small girl, I never have been really – well, except that one time just after high school when I got down to a size 3 in clothes. I look at those pictures and I still don’t see “pretty”, I see a girl who was starving herself because she had better things to spend her money on than grocery shopping. I remember, even then, picking myself apart – looking at myself in the mirror and thinking “My hair sucks…can’t do anything with it.” or “My belly’s big…my thighs are huge.” Now, it’s the flab under my arms, my boobs that aren’t perky anymore (damn 40’s.) and my belly.
I can see women two to three times my size and thinking “Wow! She’s stunning!” These aren’t your runway model types either, but just your average every day Jane. They don’t spend their time obsessing about exercise (at least not from the “outside”) and how many twinkies they’ve had to eat in that afternoon. They’re just living life. They carry themselves like they know they’re gorgeous – heads high, backs straight. They don’t care if Mr. Athlete doesn’t find them attractive at all. What is it that makes these women beautiful? It’s not a size thing – women in all sizes and shapes walk with that “I got it swagger” that I don’t seem to have. Maybe I’m just too quick to point out my flaws to myself. Do they do it too?
But, it got me to thinking. I know I’m not the only one who sees only the ugly bits when looking at photographs. I hear it all the time – “Oh, don’t look at that. It’s a bad pic.” How many times do you see it online? You wonder too, don’t you? You think they look great in that picture. It’s this weird state of – I don’t know. I don’t think I look good, but I know I’m not ugly. Yeah. Welcome to a woman’s brain.
How do these women come off as attractive and self-confident in themselves? Is it a “fake it until you make it” thing? Is it something that goes beyond how you look and transcends physical appearance? I don’t think it’s about men and wanting to be attractive for a man. I know when I get dressed up, I want to look good – for myself, for Master….I feel better when I get all dressed up, even when we’re just going to the local social at the bar. Do they do mantras in front of their mirrors, reminding themselves that they *are*, in fact, beautiful even if they aren’t feeling it? Do they have lipstick traits scrawled across the mirror, reminding them of all their good parts?
Why are we so programmed to see the negatives in ourselves? The first thing I see when I look at a picture is my skin. It’s too red, I think – every single time. Or my arms are too flabby. The list goes on and on. So….what is beauty to you? How does it manifest itself in people? Is there a certain glow that others have? Is it all about self-confidence? Keeping in mind that beauty is not necessarily attraction or chemistry. But, that does bring up another thing – do you find that the more you get to know someone the more beautiful they become?
For myself, I think it’s time that I start seeing the beauty in myself. It’s time to try and put the blinders on to that list of negatives and try to focus on the positives.