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What is your Relationship to your Physical Beauty?

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    What is your Relationship to your Physical Beauty?

    Do you work out, diet? Do you dress to meet your beauty standard? Do you have a process to help you feel your own beauty? Do you feel you lack physical beauty - and if so, do you try to make up for it? Is being physically beautiful meaningless to you? Is your appearance the bane of your existence? What are the pros and cons of your looks?

    No need to answer those questions specifically; they're just there to spark conversation. Feel free to approach this topic from any angle.

    #2
    Physical beauty is both important to me and the bane of my existence. I hate all the work. All the stress. All the expectations on women to look unrealistically young past the prime of life. And yet, for all I hate it, I can’t help playing along. I want to be beautiful. I believe I must be in order to be respected.

    I hate how I look. I know I look alright in the pictures I share - not as beautiful as I wish, but at least socially acceptable per the expectations, but I don’t wake up like that.

    I was slightly more optimistic about my looks as a tween. I used to fantasize about becoming a pop star or model or something like that. My parents worried about my lofty dreams and sat me down to have a formal talk about realistic goals. They said I was pretty, but not celebrity-pretty. True as that may have been, it was not what I needed to hear. I took their “pretty” to mean essentially “ugly.”

    I always wear makeup (minimum concealer and powder) except to the gym and maybe the odd early morning errand. Without makeup I feel disgusting. I’ve gone from cystic acne to a never-diagnosed severe skin rash and swelling to aging and greasy with fine lines increasing.

    I used to try to console myself with the idea that my crazy oily skin would at least push off the fine lines for a while. But no. I feel I’m aging the same as every other woman and I’m still greasy. I have residual hyperpigmentation from whatever that skin breakout was. It’s mostly faded now, but what remains of it leaves the appearance of shadows in unfortunate places, amplifying the effects of aging.

    I try to focus on what I can control, which is my body/weight/muscle. I struggled with borderline anorexia as a young teen. At 5’5, I was barely 90lb when I was 14.

    Now, I take a healthier approach, but I’m excessively regimented about it. I track my calories and macros, measure myself regularly, and workout 5-6 days/week.

    even with a carefully managed body, I still won’t wear certain outfits because I think I am too ugly for them.

    I am terrified of aging. The thought of joining the ranks of Hollywood beauties who died young, preserving the memory of their youth, is enticing. Except, I was never one of them. I can’t even have that. I was born average, became ugly, and next I’ll be old.

    I hate that I care so much. I aspire not to. I’d rather just wake up in the morning and start my day without the whole beauty routine. It would be so liberating.
    Last edited by Mahat; 11-14-2019, 01:38 PM.

    Comment


    • MountainFlower
      MountainFlower commented
      Editing a comment
      Also want to add: my complexion isn't my only complaint. My mouth is too small, my face too long and unsymmetrical and my eyebrows aren't as full as they used to be. Someday soon, I will look like a real bog witch and I hope by then I am confident enough to own it! haha. (and bummer, I can't fix my typo in the OP... expectable = acceptable*)

    • Mahat
      Mahat commented
      Editing a comment
      fixed the typo for you and I relate to everything you wrote

    • Qassim
      Qassim commented
      Editing a comment
      I identify with this. So. Damn. Much.

    #3
    When I was a kid, other girls would dress up as beauty princesses for Halloween, and I would often dress up as "the bad guy" in my current series of choice - for instance, Shreiky in Care Bears. I dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake as well, so not all of my costumes were 'dark' - but absolutely none were fairy princess. I just couldn't feel it. By around age 5?? I stopped watching the very few cartoon series I was into, and never watched tv again, even though my parents had tv's in every room. I just wasn't interested.

    I started reading voraciously as soon as I learned to read. I would go through entire extensive series, like Baby Sitters club, in a couple weeks. I dreamed of romance, but in all of these fairy stories and romance plots, I wasn't finding any romance that appealed to me. "The pretty princess gets saved by the prince." "The pretty girl gets pursued by the boy." I'm not pretty or delicate. I don't "get saved." I didn't realize consciously at the time that this put me off, but photos of my expressions and Halloween costumes, as well as my own early songs and fiction stories, reveal it.

    I started piano lessons at age 4 and wrote my first full song around age 8, about a homeless girl who had nothing but her love for someone, and that was enough. The idea of homelessness appealed to me because it meant no ties to anyone else, just survive on your own merit. Of course I was young and naive, but this was my 'native mindset.' Absolute autonomy, minimizing needs, hunting for the things I need by myself..... this would make me beautiful and would lead me to find love.

    Around then I encountered Les Misérables. I was hooked immediately and obsessed with Eponine. She was HOMELESS - strong survivalist - and hopelessly in love with someone she couldn't have. He was in love with a beautiful, spoiled woman, Cosette, who looked great had no skills of her own. RELATABLE! It was even more fitting that Cosette had originally grown up with Eponine, and Eponine was a jealous little bitch and tortured her. This is how I was toward my brother when I was VERY young. He was a softer person than me, and beautiful. In my mind, people would love him no matter what he did, for his beauty and sweetness, but I had to make myself beautiful by expressing the vast world inside. My voice and piano were beautiful, my stories were beautiful.... but my physical body was not. So nobody would see what's inside unless I worked and worked and worked to express it perfectly.

    I read two translations of Les Mis, 4000 pages each, and also a short version. I found tapes in other languages and asked for help translating. The whole time, I was determined to discover if Eponine was a prostitute. Don't ask me where I found out about prostitutes, I really don't know. I also found Phantom of the Opera, and the Phantom was even more similar to me. He composed beautiful music in a dark dungeon under the opera house, which enticed his obsession Christine, but his face was scarred and burned, utterly unlovable. In all my life, this song comes closest to encapsulating exactly how I feel.


    ---
    Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation
    Darkness wakes and stirs imagination
    Silently the senses abandon their defenses
    Helpless to resist the notes I write...
    For I compose the music of the night

    Slowly, gently, Night unfurls it's Splendor
    Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender
    Hearing is believing, music is deceiving
    Hard as lightening, soft as candlelight.
    Dare you trust the music of the night?

    Close your Eyes -
    For your eyes will only tell the truth
    And the truth isn't what you want to see
    In the dark it is easy to pretend
    That the truth is what it ought to be.

    Softly, deftly music shall caress you
    Hear it, feel it secretly possess you
    Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
    In this darkness that you know you cannot fight
    The darkness of the music of the night

    Close your eyes -
    Start a journey through a strange new world
    Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before
    Close your eyes -
    And let music set you free.
    Only then can you belong to me

    Floating, falling, Sweet Intoxication
    Touch me, trust me, savor each Sensation
    Let the dream begin, Let your darker side give in
    To the Power of the music that I write,
    The Power of the Music of the Night!

    You alone can make my song take flight
    Help me make the music of the night.



    There's only one verse here which needs 'explaining' for how I relate to it.


    Close your Eyes -
    For your eyes will only tell the truth
    And the truth isn't what you want to see
    In the dark it is easy to pretend
    That the truth is what it ought to be.


    I do want people who are with me to see the truth about who I am for better or worse, naked and bare. However, in this case, he's talking about the 'truth' of his ugly appearance. His appearance isn't "what it ought to be" - but his music encapsulates the true beauty that he feels inside. So then, when she closes her eyes, the truth is "what it ought to be," because the Phantom's music is beautiful, and a better reflection of who he is. So I do relate to this but needed to clarify the meaning.

    By the time I was 11 or 12, I had written half a musical about a few girls who were prostitutes and detailed their experience of losing their virginity to someone they don't love in order to survive. I also finished two extensive books about a homeless prostitute. The second (the improved version) took place on another planet, where a 14 year old character was absolutely beautiful, but was sold into prostitution young. She was employed as a spy, to sleep her way up to the top and get information -- an opportunity to escape from her other-planet 'ghetto.' She fell in love with someone on the wrong side, which lead her to lie to her own side and ultimately end up living in hiding. When her love was imprisoned on her behalf, she slept around in order to save him. She had promised him she wouldn't do this anymore - so he left her forever. Beauty did not save her from being rejected - she needed to do more work on her inner self.

    Still, I could not reconcile my appearance with the way I felt; and it kept getting worse as my nose grew longer and longer, making the rest of my features - including my expressive eyes - appear miniscule. Directors in theater told me I had the best voice that ever came in there, but I just wasn't pretty enough to play the lead. I didn't look like an ingenue. I studied acting, singing, piano - and showed tremendous talent - but when I studied dance to try to become more graceful on stage, I could not do it. I left every class crying because I couldn't copy the movements at all, let alone gracefully. I was completely inflexible physically. The teacher kept scolding me for not trying, but I was actually trying harder than anyone there, which was clear and apparent. I left every class in tears.

    I was so fucking disembodied while at the same time, so PRESENT and VISCERAL. I wondered what was wrong with me?!!

    I got 100% on state singing competitions and other rewards for my singing, which was stellar by any standard - but I still could not get roles. A guy walked up to me in school and said "You have a great voice. Too bad you're too ugly to make it in music." Things like this, all the time. After enduring rejections, one after another, and also pining over guys who were enchanted by my music but only cared about me "as a friend" .... I started losing hope. What was the point of any of this if I couldn't do what I love and couldn't be loved, just because I was ugly? I could not even blame anyone, because I only wanted beautiful boys and I would not want to hire someone to play MY character if she wasn't beautiful. Their decisions made sense, so the problem wasn't the world or the people - it was my appearance.

    I filled up a diary, which was my 'will,' assigning my possessions to my closest friends and family. But then one night, I wrote a very beautiful song, and I decided I couldn't do it. Like the phantom, my songs were getting really fucking good and there was love in there. I needed to show the world what my heart looks like. Somehow I needed to prevail.

    Then one day when I was 15, my acting teacher said: "You're ready to try out for Les Mis, and your acting is good enough for television. You just need to lose ten pounds and get a nose job, or else all of this is pointless."

    WHAT!?!!!! I could fix this!

    I was thin. Very thin. I didn't need to lose ten, I needed to tighten up. No problem, I knew that. But my nose, it hadn't occurred to me. I never thought of myself as one of those Hollywood plastic girls. But I could do this!!! If my nose was smaller, the rest of my features would look bigger - my lips, my eyes... and I knew that when I covered my nose, I had intense and even alluring eyes. With my long gorgeous hair, intense eyes and my mouth showing, I could be somewhat sensual, expressive. I could be Eponine and even be an actress if I wanted!! And I could look in the mirror without wanting to punch it and use the glass to destroy myself.

    Within that year I got the nose job. Thank the heavens for my amazing and understanding family. Seriously, the thought makes me want to cry. In that sense, I really lucked out. They are not plastic surgery type of people but they understood how hard I worked on my career and my passion. They supported my hard work, living my dream, and earning my keep. (I was making money playing in local restaurants and doing small gigs.) I didn't want some tiny Hollywood nose, but I wanted my brother's nose, which I felt was right for my face. I brought a picture and the nose job came out just how I wanted!

    For six months I got every role I wanted and many other opportunities. I went to Berklee College of Music summer camp, where you had to be 15 to get in, and I scored the highest on all music theory tests, so I was put into classes with much older pros who admired me. I got love notes under my door from various men around the college, saying I was a goddess with a voice like an angel. I was not close to 'beautiful,' but my appearance was good enough that it didn't stop my voice from enchanting people.

    I got head shots and began my auditioning process for Les Mis. That week I got sick and it lead to me almost dying, spending months bedridden. On my 'death bed,' I remember telling myself that I might die - and I accept that - but I'm going to fight with everything I have because I still have songs to sing. When I emerged, I lost more than 10 pounds... more like an unhealthy 20. I also lost most of my hair (my best physical feature).... and my voice. Over time I learned it wasn't coming back.

    Not only had I lost everything I worked for, and my very beautiful voice - but also most opportunity to move forward. The illness was ongoing; I'm still battling it 23 years later. Things like walking and breathing can slip away very quickly if I go off medicine, yet I can't always stay on because it ruins me in other ways. (But if you can't breathe, what's left?) So, my life has been an uphill battle. I get blotches on my face, rashes, dark shadows and rings around my eyes. I lost my eyebrows. My face is now lopsided from TMJ - I clench my teeth due to sleep medications which I literally cannot live without. I gain weight unnaturally fast. The problems are endless, and the toll on my beauty is enormous - but I've never been suicidal again. I look in the mirror and I see a face that looks like mine. It's still not perfect or particularly feminine, but it's not DISTRACTING from my eyes. This makes me feel like my facial expressions can show my character.

    The next part of this, which I'll keep very brief, is about style. One day I'll address this in more detail in a separate post. But I don't wear foundation - I refused to even in professional theater since my skin hates it. I rarely wear any makeup, not even to work! And when I do (just for photoshoots or stage), it's just eye makeup and lipstick. I wash with sulfate-free shampoo and take vitamins or change diet as needed so my hair won't fall out, and I wash my face every night. This is my beauty routine. I don't wear high heeled shoes outside major events like weddings (except on stage, and even then it's thick heels) - as I enjoy walking, running and feeling capable of fighting if necessary. Boots with small heels are great, but I still have mobility and strength then. My figure is rather androgynous, or was until recently, so I dressed in a way that flatters it, which can involve male clothing - though my outfits day to day are not about gender per se. I simply look and feel better in bigger bulky jewelry and clothes. My body is a canvas to tell my story and express who I am, and I'm no butterfly. I'm a tiger and that's what I look like, with or without direct tiger decor. I would never be one of those girls who stuff their huge personalities into tiny princess clothes. I can't win the girly game nor do I want to. I have my own story to tell. I still feel my insides are much more beautiful than the outside, but the outside is acceptable enough - even when I wake up in the morning - that the inside can shine through. Of course, clothes and cleanliness is a part of this. And I've gone through major workout/diet phases and probably will again, as my ideal for myself has always been more like Sarah Connor "muscles" than frail beauty. I can appreciate princessy women who do it well, but it's not for me. My outfits express my inner animal, my passion and purpose, and my will.

    I will mention that I told the Erosia story through a masculine and feminine 'alter ego,' and I have done photoshoots through my life dressed like other characters who expressed me. As a kid I would rip my clothes to shreds, wear brown makeup on them for 'dirt' and play outside, then take pictures and put together photo storybooks about my homeless characters... just like I did with Erosia. But this is not to be mistaken for my daily attire. It's characters that represent an inner struggle at the time, and dressing up in their clothes and playing it out is my path to catharsis.
    Last edited by Animal; 11-13-2019, 09:23 PM.

    Comment


      #4
      Wow, those are intense stories about physical beauty. I also didn't expect it to be that important in the world of theater and music. I knew it had some bearing, but wow.

      My relationship with physical beauty has been much less charged. The fact that I am a guy has most likely contributed to me not really focusing on my own physical 'beauty'. I was never really called ugly, in the days I was bullied some would complain about my acne, but that's really a problem pretty much everyone had at that time. I was thin, but I didn't really mind. Also, the comments about my physical appearance barely got to me.

      I was curious about whether I would be considered handsome. I don't get a lot of comments on my physical appearance in any case. I did get called cute sometimes. Out of curosity I asked around and I think I'd have to summarize it as: 'you're pretty good-looking, not very, but pretty good looking". I personally always thought it really depended on the angle or the light. It results in me sometimes thinking that I look pretty good and at other times I get more of a 'meh' feeling from myself. I've never disliked how I looked, physically, though. So, in summary, I don't think my physical appearance means a lot to me, but I don't think it's insignificant to me either.

      I do exercise, and I do find it important to keep myself in shape and healthy. I like pushing myself close to my limits with sports, which is also more fun when you can hold out for longer and do crazier exercises and it's nice to see progress physically.

      I have come to like expressing my tastes in clothing more. I tend to wear things I find amusing or cool. It always makes me happy when I wear clothes that seem to fit me somehow, like both personality wise and match physically.
      "Distress, whether psychic, physical, or intellectual, need not at all produce nihilism.
      Such distress always permits a variety of interpretations."

      Nietzsche

      Comment


      • Animal
        Animal commented
        Editing a comment
        It is awesome! And refreshing
        And wow.. I'm curious, what in particular surprised you?

      • Vive
        Vive commented
        Editing a comment
        What surprised me in particular is that you got a nose-job as such an early age. Not that there is a proper age and it made a lot of sense that you did, given your dedication and the type of world you wanted to get in to, but still. That the world is such that it led you to making that choice at that age. I have some idea of the world of drama, theater and singing being harsh and very judgmental with beauty, but, I didn't expect it to be like this. It might be more common than I think, but it's still surprising to me.

      • Animal
        Animal commented
        Editing a comment
        If I hadn't gotten my nose job I would have continued dreaming about suicide, and who knows if it would go further. I hated the way I looked. Even though I lost my voice soon after (which was completely unrelated to the nose job - I know exactly how it happened) ... I don't regret it. I wouldn't take it back for the world. In fact, if it were up to me I'd have done it at 13 instead. Ugh, I did not need those years of hating myself so much and being tortured and mocked in school for how ugly i was, and rejected. I have been through so much trauma and yet I still feel like I COULD NOT have survived living any longer with that huge honker.

      #5
      I’m not naturally concerned with nor aware of how I look to others as per physical (which I find is physical but really means visual) beauty.

      It’s one of things that has kept my marriage intact. I tend to fluctuate in how I look visually (which I find funny when those who see me after many years have said that I look the same ???). I have changed so much. Seriously?

      My husband has found me just the same as per “beauty” since he met me. I think he’s blind. But, then again...he might know or see something else, that I don’t and I am forever in awe of that.
      “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” Johannes Brahms

      Comment


        #6
        I wish I’d saved this or screen captured what I saw recently while I was looking for Christmas presents for the males in my life, because it was so great.

        I find that men are more base (aka: blunt and honest) in this area and I like that about men. I was reading through some questions on men’s beard products and the answers to them were priceless. No BS. Get to the point. And humour. Why do women lack humour when it comes to this topic? We DO!

        Don’t tell me about all the women comics for body image shit. They are NOT funny.
        “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” Johannes Brahms

        Comment


        • Animal
          Animal commented
          Editing a comment
          Ah I see
          Yeah theater wounds people. That's what happened with me too, I believe. Although being 4w3 Sp LEAD also does not help. But as I've said so many times I'm really not obsessive about beauty. I go out in sweats, hair unbrushed, don't wear makeup or heels etc. except in photoshoots. But the problem was I couldn't get parts the way I was, despite qualifications. So it messed with me. Since the nose job I was never "pretty" but I was ACCEPTABLE, which is all I asked for. I'm not someone addicted to surgery. So really that shows resilience considering the field I got into. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise that I lost my voice.

        • ledyanoy
          ledyanoy commented
          Editing a comment
          Animal, I think theatre attracts more people to be actors in it that are wounded and looking for some healing, and does not wound people.

          At best ? theatre, putting a mask on and playing a story and character that people feel represent them in some essential way is actually a healer of wounds; it spreads our worst on the stage for all to see, and respond to in the most immediate yet also anonymous but not form.

        • Animal
          Animal commented
          Editing a comment
          Everyone is wounded in some way, so it would be difficult to separate people who are wounded from people who aren't. Personally I had a great childhood, so there was no reason to be drawn to theater except that I'm a passionate person and loved music. In fact, theater was not really what drew me, it was more incidental. I was in love with music and theater was just one avenue because of my love for a particular character who reflected my inner struggle.
          Many of the people in theater are very jolly 279 overdramatic types. There are exceptions of course. But I found I was far too quiet and offworld for them. I couldn't keep up with all the laughter backstage.
          People are much more miserable working in the mall.

        #7
        My husband is more worried about his looks/beauty than I am.

        Truth.

        He would never admit to this because he probably believes the tale of how men aren’t judged by looks this and that helps because it’s true for the most part, where he lives.
        “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” Johannes Brahms

        Comment


          #8
          I am vain.

          I always check myself out in the mirror / reflective window when passing one.
          I shave and trim my body hair. Yes, all of it. Nothing is left to chance.
          I have played with many different hairstyles once I had decided to cut my hair myself at age 17-ish. Now I have had long hair for years and I am constantly adjusting them to look the best.
          I am very deliberate with my wardrobe. I make sure I stand out from the crowd. Gotta look good.
          I am obsessed with boots/footwear. I have a really unique look going on here.
          I play with gendered clothing. Some items in the women's department just look that much better on me than the men's.
          I wear earrings and have a few sets to choose from.
          I enjoy spending free time looking up clothes.

          My blond European look stands out here in NY, so I have received multiple comments on how I could/should model. Yet, I don't see myself as good-looking as I feel that I lack a certain "natural" confidence-based charm and charisma that I cannot seem to emulate interpersonally.
          Sleep on the Ceiling - Erosian Exile

          Comment


          • Animal
            Animal commented
            Editing a comment
            Hott! Purr. I love your wardrobe, your looks, your vanity, all of it.

          • hiddenglass
            hiddenglass commented
            Editing a comment
            give me tips

          #9
          On one hand I love beauty, so I would have liked being beautiful myself. On the other hand, there are things I find so much more interesting to focus on than things like dieting, exercise, makeup, clothes and so on, so I dedicate a minimal amount of time and energy on this. There are certain things I can be fussy with such as my hair... But I'm also rather oblivious to how I appear, and when I see my reflection or photograph, it can be disturbing how I look like something quite different from what I imagine. In a way I have begun to pay more attention as I've beome older, because while I've never been pretty, I have a certain youthfulness about me that can be endearing, but with the haggard looks it's just strange. When I was younger I didn't pay much attention at all though I did try a bit as it occurred to me that as I prefer someone who is pleasing to look at, it made sense if I could match someone like that, but yes it was easier said than done when in reality I'm somewhat out of touch with these things.

          I'm not sure if I'm explaining well, but I only feel able to talk about this so much for now.

          Comment


            #10
            When I was a kid, I didn't look white enough - my skin was too dark, my hair was too kinky, my butt too big, my lips and nose too big. I've always envied soft, straight hair that didn't need styling.

            When I was a teen (and til this day) my complexion was too ratty - severe acne and acne scars made me feel less than a woman, made me feel less of a human.

            Beauty and I have a violently antagonistic relationship, one characterized by resentment, insecurity, self-objectification, self-loathing, to even outright self-mutilation. I wrote this a long time ago:

            The body is a semiotical space where various cultural, biological, and aesthetic codes and signifiers interface and combine. In some cultures, the body gets scared, mutilated, tattooed to indicate a coming of age, status, and the passage of time. Aesthetic is narrative and appearances are important. While the outward presentation may not fully expose one’s inner workings, it does give a comprehensive summary of who you are and what you’re about in both subtle and not so subtle ways, of course the message that’s intended and the message that’s received don’t always overlap. I first got a glimpse of this between the ages of 8-10 when I was going through puberty, and reached menarche at age 10. By age 11, I already had C cup breasts and looked mature for my age, cues for some older men to flirt with me, make advances towards me, and occasionally harass me. Of course my peers at the time wanted to join in on the spectacle at the oddity that I was. The idea that really took root in my mind was what it means to be female, and coming to understand what being female entailed. I hated my femaleness since it made me marked. My body was a public spectacle for others to comment on, leer at, and grope, a thing that matured faster than my mind, not to mention having all the sexual desires of woman but not fully understanding what those desires are. I almost think these conflicting drives set up a precedent for the duration of my life in that there’s always the need for me to exert control. Control over my image, how I orient myself, how I seek to manifest my own values and vision, and a lot of that control was exercised through the many disciplinary, aesthetical, and punishing practices I inflicted on my body, learning and experimenting with different ways to tell stories with my body.

            In my preteens and early teens, I nearly developed an eating disorder in order to wash away my womanness, an identity at the time that I felt was thrusted upon me. But what also came from my strict exercise and diet regiment was a deification of self-discipline and control to extreme degrees. Through harsh and unforgiving discipline of the body and mind, I wanted to reach to some superhuman level of existence. I wanted to overcome all of my weaknesses, become this exceptional being that’s beyond reproach and human folly. I never become that being.

            Since I was 8 to until about recently, I had severe acne and then the accompanying acne scars. All I saw was pus-filled, pulsating bumps and craters. Once again, I was marked. I felt like a leper, and I wanted to further embody that monstrosity. While making obsessive attempts to treat and hide my facial deformities, I would cut my body to ribbons and burn parts of my body (1st degree burns at most). Each new mark and blood trail was a new verse on this book of flesh. I wanted to be stigmataed with the inner workings of my psyche in all its accompanying rage-filled shame, bitterness, hate, hunger, and envy. I hated my body, the deformities on my face felt like a foreign force was occupying it, but at the same time there was a sacred reverence with each act of self-mutilation. I used to fantasize and dream about cutting off my own limbs and gouging out my own eyes as those acts represented the combination of my rage and a (twisted) control over my own body as well as the desire to be liberated from it. Nowadays I mostly stick to tattoos.

            Sex is poetry made in flesh and blood. Past and present lovers little leave pieces of themselves on me with each individual fragment having a story to tell. A bite mark from a man who had a fetish teethmarks on skin. A lipstick stain from the time when a woman was a kissing me on the neck while I was feeling between her thighs. A razor blade cut from someone who thought my skin looked absolutely gorgeous all bloodied up. Here the need for control slowly wanes and at some point in time, all laid claim to my body and our stories collide. Over time the physical markings eventually fade, but the emotions, sensations, experiences are still coded within me.

            The body is the main mode through which we navigate the world, and with that, I navigate the world by embodying all the narratives I weave.
            In my current state, I'm still battling my complexion and weight. This Christmas I'll visit my mother, who's perfect looking due to her being a bodybuilder and I'm not looking forward to it. My lack of physical perfection feels like a moral failure on my part. But at the same time the cause for these feelings are an intersection between biological imperative and manufactured capitalistic desires designed to sell products and an image of personhood deemed desirable. Nonetheless, that doesn't strip away my vanity; it only fuels it with deep spite and resentment. I don't take pleasure in performing my beauty and exercise routines, I do it out of pure spiteful duty. I understand the role of beauty - it's an aspirational, platonic ideal set above the imperfection, filth, chaos, and complexity of the world. But it could easily be a tool for oppression and objectification. With beauty, I don't only view myself through my own eyes, I'm forced to view myself through the eyes of others. A degree of self-alienation is entailed. My body is no longer for the self, but under the gaze and judgment of others. This is where the self-mutilation came along. In this culture, there's a deep taboo against consciously destroying the body. It not only compromises bodily integrity, it's also aesthetically unpleasing. Self-mutilation was a way to gain bodily autonomy and served as fuck you to everyone else - this is my body and I'll do with it as I please.

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            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              Powerful sentiments. <3 It's true, beauty is not just about 'you' or 'me' - or else I'd be content to describe characters who look the way I want to look, including male characters. It's also about being seen by others. And the process of making the inside that we FEEL come through on the outside. What a fucking battle it is.

            #11
            Very important, but also the bane of my existence.


            I always took pride in my beauty (or at least strived to)
            I still remember my father telling me once "Your mother and grandmother were both very pretty when they were young, but you are even prettier" and I was so proud, more so at the comment as a whole than just my implied level of beauty, it made me feel like his princess, it felt like something that no one has ever been told before.
            I don't know how to express this, I always felt like a beautiful girl on the inside, I just feel like I can't even be myself if I'm not pretty, nothing in the world feels right if I'm not pretty.
            I think the essence of it is femininity, I relate to femininity in terms of who I am and how I relate to the world, for as long as I can remember I saw myself as fitting some feminine archetype, wanting to fill some feminine role, beauty for me is a big part of that.
            If I am not pretty enough some other girl who is will come and steal everything that's mine.


            But I never felt quite pretty enough.
            My insecurities started with always being the tallest girl in my class growing up, I also wasn't a skinny girl, I wasn't quite overweight either but I wasn't far from it and I could tell I had to be careful.
            It was something I was very resentful over, and as much as I envied thin girls I couldn't make that sacrifice, at 8 years old I just didn't understand why I had to be chubby, why I had to sacrifice and not someone else, it made me really sad.
            I felt like a huge, awkward ogre, I never felt pretty around other girls and I just wanted to hide somewhere. All the popular girls everyone was in love with always happened to be teeny tiny and everyone constantly brought attention to how teeny tiny they were and everyone wanted to lift them up and carry them around, and all I got was "Woah you're tall, how tall are you?" and side by side comparisons to other tall girls, I'm not a fucking building​​​​​

            Thank goodness I stopped growing in middle school so while I am tall-ish I'm not quite as impressively tall as I feared I might become.


            I could go on and on about beauty and all the ups and downs and details of my beauty related hysterics but I imagined this as more of a general post about role of beauty in my life.​​​​​

            As far as my beauty 'routine' goes, I do my very best to not eat all the food my heart desires and I try to work out, I'm managing to keep slim but it's an ongoing struggle, I often flip flop between being underweight and above my ideal.
            I don't really hate the way I look with a little extra weight, at least not when I'm alone and in my underwear and not comparing myself to anyone, but as soon as I go outside I don't feel as good anymore, clothes that are my style don't fit as well, I feel large, I just don't feel pretty.
            But I have to say putting on some weight and being curvier is one thing I look forward to about my 30s and 40s

            I love makeup.
            I don't feel too insecure without it, but it highlights my features and facial expressions, I have somewhat exotic features and makeup compliments them well. My face is a bit of an odd shape with features that have a lot going on, but makeup brings it all together as well as makes me look more seductive and dangerous than I am and I'm down for it​​​​​
            I also like what it communicates, the vibe of it, it reminds me of those cartoon characters with long fluttery lashes, and as soon as they appear you know that it's Tom's girlfriend, if you know what I mean?
            I always saw makeup as more of a style than about concealing imperfections, perhaps because I tend to think of my imperfections as too big to conceal so there's no point in trying to go down that route.

            When it comes to clothes, I get most inspired in summer and that's when I feel the prettiest.
            There are always some things I wanna incorporate into my wardrobe, inspirations I have, I have to wear clothes so obviously I won't wear things I don't like, but I absolutely hate trying to make my figure look good in bulky layers, I don't even like 90% of things I see in stores and I find putting together outfits just plain frustrating and boring, I prefer makeup, smelling nice, having long nails and similar details, they make me feel prettier than clothes.

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            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              "I think the essence of it is femininity, I relate to femininity in terms of who I am and how I relate to the world, for as long as I can remember I saw myself as fitting some feminine archetype, wanting to fill some feminine role, beauty for me is a big part of that.
              If I am not pretty enough some other girl who is will come and steal everything that's mine."

              I think this is part of what unconsciously drives me away from the feminine world. I can never be the prettiest, I can never win their game. So instead I make my own game, my own rules... I become my own very unique individual, separate from femininity, beauty standards. I might incorporate some of that, because I'm not per se "rebelling" against it, but rather forming something so outside of that arena, that it can't even touch me. Actually, for me, this worked. I've never been pretty, but in my 20s before I got fatter and wiser, I used to attract guys more than most other people. Other women NEVER saw me as being especially pretty, nor did they want to look like me. Gay guys didn't rush to my side due to my awesome femme prowess either. But straight guys (and sometimes gay women too!) would get obsessed with me, as if there was no one else in the world. Pretty girls would get so fucking pissed off about this, like why do I wear heels, makeup, tight clothes, starve myself etc--- and look amazing -- and then this crazy rock chick with her unbrushed hair and flats and square-shaped brown leather, comes in here and steals all the gorgeous guys??? WHY!??!!! And this is part of why women hated me. But women also, all my life, have rejected me from the cool crowd because I'm just very obviously "not like them." I think part of the unspoken rule of being in the cool crowd is to conform, which is not something I'd be capable of even if I tried, nor is it even on my radar.

              Anyway, getting back to being ugly or pretty, it was very important to me to take no part in the "pretty" paradigm because it's a game I can't win and I insist on winning. I admit that's conceited in its own way and that it also warranted some of the hate I received. But I did try to look hot and clothes was a big part of this since I didn't necessarily dress to show my very average or sometimes unacceptable figure; but rather to "tell my story" through clothes and showcase what's going on inside. Color schemes to represent internal states, meaningful jewels.. my body was a canvas to express myself, like art.

              But yet, there was always a part of me that envied girls who were pretty. Or even if they weren't that pretty, they were in touch with femininity, body, sensuality etc. Especially 9s, though I didn't know enneagram back then, but it was a pattern. I will write a post about this sometime. The essence of it is, they were "real women" or more like "real people." I was exiled from my home planet, which was more meaningful to me personally, but once I lost my voice - why would anyone care?

            • Princess of Hearts
              Princess of Hearts commented
              Editing a comment
              In a way I'm the opposite, I am not really trying to win that game on looks alone but I would rather be anywhere in that category. Ok I definitely would kill to be the most beautiful girl in the world and have everyone in love with my beauty and I still get painfully jealous when I see someone who looks like how I wish I looked like, who is always the prettiest girl and looks like a doll and who everyone flocks around and who no one could say no to, but...that's not realistic. Yet still in a way, I want people to feel like I want them to find me pretty, if that makes sense?

              I had a phase in high school when I tried to be a sexy, lightly goth-y girl because I was obsessed with vampires and I wanted to attract certain type of man, and I definitely can do dark and mysterious, but it never worked out, it's just all wrong for me.
              I could never look 'unconventional', it's not out of self consciousness and such, some girls make it their thing and it works for them and expresses both their sexuality and their unique flavor of feminine prowess, but for me it just doesn't flow right.

              (and I also hardly ever wear heels and similar contraptions, I have to force myself to do it at least sometimes because I do want to but ugh, really admire girls who manage to, fuzzy sweaters are my idea of a glamorous day look)

              The thing is I also feel like I may not be able to win the prettiness game, but without it I'm out of any game, and out of my game, somehow it always feels like my game, it's a game I know inside out and can always use to my advantage...I don't mean use to my advantage in terms of appearance or being 'pretty enough' for it, definitely don't feel pretty enough, it's just that I may not be the obvious winner but my niche is still somewhere in it and nowhere else.

            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              Makes sense. I never felt like I had to TRY to "be weird" or "be different" or anything like that. I just suffer this compulsion to express my inner states through my clothes, and I don't feel right being any other way. I have no problem dressing up for work or events, or wearing a uniform when necessary for a paycheck, but within the confines of any set of limits, I'll express what's inside as much as possible, even just through a set of earrings or rings. It's the compulsion. And if I can't do that due to the requirements of the event I'm going to, that's fine too. It's not some point that I need to prove and do it all the time, it's just my most natural inclination.

              I didn't exactly REJECT prettiness in the sense that I did seek out clothes that complement my figure, though that wasn't my number one priority (the clothes could look great on me, but if it's not showing how I feel, which is more than a momentary sentiment but more like an expression of an era I'm going through with lots of symbolism attached -- I won't want to buy it). I definitely embraced hotness or sexiness although maybe not quite on purpose? It's more that guys would tell me I'm hot or sexy, and I'm like yeah of course I am, I can practically taste my crush every time I clothes my eyes. I'm always burning with desire. I usually chased guys who were low testosterone, where I'm the one initiating sex and luring and chasing, because I feel more natural in that role. I'm also attracted to sweet, stunningly beautiful men. My husband looks like a model, people tell him every day - he's 6 feet, long blond hair, beautiful features, big blue eyes, perfect skin, wide lips, strong jaw... he is just purrrfect, a cross between an elf and a ninja. I call him "Cat." But he's shy and fun to chase, provoke, seduce. I've always been turned off by "manly men." Part of the reason for this is I just don't feel like there's any place for me in the relationship if I'm being chased too often and I can't desire, chase, lure and pounce.

              This may seem odd or whatever, but I did start going bald at 32 from high testosterone, and had to have my hormones fixed. So, maybe it's natural for me to feel that way. I did calm down somewhat, after the treatment, and didn't have to work out every other day to ward off the perpetual heat that I was in (although this also sucks because I gained weight).

              So while I would LOVE to be gorgeous too, really I would.... it would have to be a type of gorgeous that was 'big enough' to suit my personality, something tigerish rather than butterfly. The same goes for my outfits. I can't stuff my big personality into delicate frail lace , even during periods when I'm thin. So it's not so much that I reject being hot or sexy, and also yes I would LOVEEE to be pretty too, and wrote long novels about it as a teen, even felt suicidal over my looks.... but the question is, what type of pretty? I can find those normal pretty girls very beautiful on their own merit but I just can't imagine i'd feel happy in a delicate frail body, personally.

            #12
            Originally posted by Animal
            and I would often dress up as "the bad guy" in my current series of choice - for instance, Shreiky in Care Bears.
            I didn't think I'd meet another Shreiky fan
            I did dress up as bunnies, kitties and princesses but Shreiky probably would have been more fitting

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            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              I don't even remember much about Shreiky anymore! hahaha. But that's funny hehe.

            #13
            I like to look good and I dress to accentuate my beauty. I get hit on and complimented on my looks quite a bit, at least more than most guys probably do. All of my exes have always said how sexy I am and I know I am very handsome and attractive. Unless I'm really busy or depressed, I like to work out. I eat pretty healthy too, for the most part. I don't mind being objectified or viewed as a sex symbol either. I can pull off different looks too, from jeans and a leather jacket to wife beater to suit and tie. I look good in all of them.

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            • PleasureToBurn
              PleasureToBurn commented
              Editing a comment
              Hmmm. Aside from sex and playing music, I don't think I'm in my body enough for a Se user. Or, not in my body, but good with it. I'm terrible at sports, dancing, shit like that. Sex, playing music, and to a lesser extent working out, cooking, and painting are the only real Se things I excel at. And I'm definitely some sort of Te user not Ti. Ti Is pretty alien to me.

            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              I suck at sports, dancing etc too. I'm completely clumsy at this precise type of stuff with body and I'm not particularly interested in it either. This would be more common for SeFi than SeTi, so I would seriously consider it. SeFi can be very masculine, serious, intelligent etc. A lot of them are computer programmers. And Se came up BY FAR the most common for musicians and songwriters with real talent and often production skills. Lzzy Hale, SeFi. Trent Reznor, SeTi. Jeff Martin, SeTi. Usually mistyped as INTJs or ENFJs due to bad descriptions and weak understanding. Bjork is also a great producer who is FiSe.

            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              Je is actually more likely to be "embodied" and "on the earth" whereas Se is still Pe. It's a perception function. They'll be more interested in stuff like fantasizing and creating a lot of the time.

            #14
            Rían Czerwinski posted on December 26th, 2018 at 12:48pm
            “The good news is that no matter how sad of a mood I get into, whenever I pass mirrors I still get surprised at how attractive I am”
            Last edited by hiddenglass; 12-28-2019, 02:50 PM. Reason: “The usual.”

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            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              hiddenglass is Rian. The quote is about himself.

            • hiddenglass
              hiddenglass commented
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              I am, boy-o. check yaself 'fore ya wreck yaself.

            • hiddenglass
              hiddenglass commented
              Editing a comment
              Sooo… who the fuck are YOU?

            #15
            I don't like my face much, so I focus obsessively on my body - as I basically explained in my first post here. I've been trying to accept how I look and going make up free every so often recently. I'm only gaining to confidence to do so now because my body is finally starting to form according to my will and I can confidently think to myself, "well, at least I have this going for me." Except now my mum comes around, to tell me my ideal body type is not sexy. ugh. I don't know why I let her get to me. Just the other day, she was trying to agitate me with jokes about my age and how I am not cool anymore. I protested that I'll still be lit when I'm 80, to which she replied that I lack the internal emotional fuel to be considered lit, wtf anyway mom? good fucking grief. What does that even mean? bleh.

            My mom's insults aside, I am feeling pretty good about my appearance lately. My body anyway... and I want to share while the confidence lasts.

            Not exactly where I want to be yet, but I'm getting close. I finally have abs! I'm pretty excited.

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