I have had a long, difficult relationship with what I have perceived to be my flaws. For example, pimples. I have skipped school, dates, parties, dinners – all because of a pimple. How hideous I was, with that red mark. How everyone would point and laugh and think less of me.
You didn’t really think that, did you? Well, no, not in so many words. At the time, looking in the mirror, I likely said: “Argh – fucking pimple. Why do I have to be so ugly?” And really felt it. Ugly. Because of one tiny blemish on an otherwise smooth canvass.
The bigger picture is that when I hid at home because of a pimple I was really thinking:
1. Clear skin equals perfect. Flawless. With clear skin, I could go to the party and have a great time because perfection is easy to love.
2. Pimply skin equals imperfect. Defective. Return the item. It’s tarnished, flawed, not good enough. Not lovable.
Of course, as I have aged, I don’t have such an issue with pimples, but I certainly have issue with other flaws. None of which, when I think logically about them, hold any more importance than a pimple. Not my cellulite (argh – fucking cellulite), not my crooked teeth (argh – fucking crooked teeth) and not my pale, almost see-through skin (argh – fucking stupid white European ancestry).
Let's blame the media! It would be easy to blame fashion magazines. Or TV. Or Jennifer Aniston. It’s the media that makes us compare our normal selves against airbrushed images of goddesses! It’s the unattainable concept of beauty that we just don’t have the time or genes to live up to. It’s the 20-ish% difference in body weight between the average model and the average person. It’s the media!
Dammit. We can't blame the media The media doesn’t help. But our appetite for beauty is not the problem. It’s us. It’s me. I buy into the idea that perfection equals lovable. And I buy into the popular concept of what perfection looks like. And at the end of the day, one of our universal fears is that we’re not quite good enough to be loved.
The pimple is just the tip of the iceberg: I am not as well-read as I should be. I eat too much bread. I forget birthdays. I am critical of things that don’t matter, like people watching too much TV or adults that go to Disney World without children.
But regardless of my flaws, would I let someone else treat me this way? Would I spend time with someone that routinely told me I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, tall enough, fit enough? Hell no. Never. So why am I doing it to myself?
I don’t know. It’s such a waste of time and energy. I will never look like anyone other than me. I will not be perfect. Ever. And that is okay. It really is. I have been loved. I am loved, with all my flaws, still I am loved.
Fuck it - I’m done Dear Flaws, This relationship is not working out. It’s not you – you are just a pimple. It’s me – I’m no longer interested in reducing myself to the sum of my flaws. Love, Shannon