For quite some time I’ve been interested in talking about this topic because it is very close to my heart. I do not intend to talk on behalf of anybody but myself, and I would like to make that clear before even starting. I am talking about my own experience and I would appreciate it if people were kind enough to open their hearts before judging what I’m about to say.
I have recently gone through a very nasty break up. There was lying, and cheating, and a lot of mean words and humiliation. I am in the middle of a process, doing my best to move on and let go of the person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. We had – or at least that’s what I thought – a very profound connection. After everything that happened, something inside me was triggered: my constant fight with beauty and perfection, as a result of my never-ending journey towards self-love.
As a society, we have made beauty a must for women. The beauty industry is one of the biggest most profitable industries and even though it has been targeting men too, it has always been mostly targeted at women. One would think that a woman who’s socially considered beautiful has some sort of privilege in a society like ours… and it is true. But there’s another side to it and that’s what I would like to talk about.
After my break up I went trough a roller coaster of emotions. It was a painful break up for both parties. I was in so much pain afterward that I did a lot of terrible things. In my attempt to be brave and regain the worthiness I thought I had lost, I did some nasty moves. I exposed my ex in a way I shouldn’t have. Instead of fixing myself, I decided to blame him for everything and I tried to make him pay by humiliating him. That was terribly wrong. Even if he had been terrible to me, that’s not the right way to do things.
Some days after the confrontation I wrote this:
I am so sick and tired of being wanted. For years I blamed myself. Beauty can feel like such a heavy burden. Always wanted, desired, but never truly loved. It hurts being treated as if you’re never enough. I do not want to be called beautiful, I don’t want to be just beautiful, I want more, I deserve more. I’m sick of feeling used. These tears escape my eyes and reveal the pain of feeling small, insignificant, unloved. I can’t stop obsessing with the urge to understand why. I know I should come to terms with the fact that somethings will forever remain a mystery. Still I can’t run away from these connections. These past lovers that took some things I want back. Things that go beyond these kisses that still linger on my skin like tattoos I can’t seem to remove. Scars remind me of a painful past that has made me stronger but has also made me burn from the inside out. I don’t want to feel numb.
This terrible pain was behind everything I did. All my life I have experienced being reduced to ‘a pretty face’. Sometimes I have a hard time believing I am more than that. I’m human, and I am vulnerable to the world that surrounds me. I remember when I was in college and people couldn’t believe I had such good grades. They thought I cheated or seduced guys so they would do my homework for me. More than one professor was surprised when reading my essays. When I got pregnant people thought I would just get married and forget about finishing my Communication’s Degree. But I came back, graduated with a 92.5 GPA and won a price for scoring ‘outstanding’ in every field of CENEVAL (a test of national coverage that assesses the level of academic knowledge and skills of recent graduates of the Bachelor of Communication).
I know that beauty is about perception and I know that there are many people who would disagree with the idea of me being beautiful, and that’s perfectly normal. I don’t mind being considered ugly by some people. I try not to think of beauty as something that defines me at all, but sometimes I can’t fight our culture. When I am told I am pretty I always resent it. For example, last weekend I had an amazing time with a guy at a club. We danced like nobody was watching and I had a blast. I can say it was one of the best nights of my life. I had so much fun and felt so free. I felt like I was able to be my silly unapologetic self and it felt awesome. Before going home this guy asked me if he could kiss me. I asked why. His answer was: “Stand up, and turn around”. I met my reflection in a mirror. He then said: “What do you see?”. He kept on telling me how beautiful he thought I was. I did not find that cute or romantic. I’m pretty sure he meant well, but I kept looking for a different answer. I wanted him to say something like: “Because I had so much fun with you!” or “Because you are an awesome dancer!” Now, I’d like to make it clear that I don’t blame him and I don’t think he was objectifying me. But I do believe that somehow the sexist culture we live in has taught us both, men and women, to define women by their looks … and that is degrading and hurtful on so many levels.
So that’s that. This is why I don’t like compliments. This is why I write so much about wanting to be appreciated for who I am as a person. Because I know I am not perfect and that I am flawed, but I believe I have so much to offer. I work really hard and try my best to be a good, compassionate, loving woman. And I would love to meet someone who could fall in love with that, instead of falling in love with the way I look on the outside.
I now understand that if I want that to happen, I need to be the first one to do it. I need to truly fall in love with myself first. And as we know it, love takes a lot of work and effort. It is a choice you need to make every day. After my break up I was so sad and devastated, and I had stopped loving myself for so long, that I felt completely lost. I let pain hijack my brain and I forgot how valuable I am. But now I see clearly and I’m trying to fall back in love with myself.
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