April 20, 2012
I find myself in a reflective position, due to a few comments. One on my blog and one from a friend.
I received my first ‘critical’ comment from the post – Looks can be deceiving – which I wholeheartedly invite. I want to know how women are feeling and I appreciated receiving it. This woman thought I was being judgemental in that post.
After a friend of mine, Jane, made a comment about it, I went back and re-read the post and the response I got. I’m going through a bit of a personal journey at the moment – with myself, my relationships and with the world at large – and I’m finding moments where I think I see things so clearly…but I just don’t know how to express it. So in lieu of the comments that have come my way, I need to say something; to explain…
…and I’m finding this one a doosey. It’s taken ages to write this post and I still don’t know if I’m getting it right. Here it goes.
In my response to the comment that was left, I said that the effect of the tight grip that mass-media has on us is:
A vast army of insecure women AND men, who are living a melancholic (at times) existence because they don’t stand up to the ‘tick-a-box’ ideal. I find that terribly sad.
I find that terribly sad – That’s not me judging or looking down my nose – it’s quite the opposite; that’s me feeling sad for all of us – including ME!
Jane mentioned that the woman who responded was explaining that when you’re not ‘chosen’, you start to question things about yourself.
I TOTALLY understand this.
People who know me, may scoff at the fact I just said that. The reason I say this, is because the latter part of Jane’s comment to me was that I am, in fact, in a stable marriage, with a good-looking husband and have communicated how I look good for my age (a month shy of 42), through my blog. So how could I understand those that don’t have this?
Well I have two parts to answer this.
Firstly – this is how I looked in Year 12. For any overseas readers, this is the final year of high school in Australia, aged between 17-18 years old.
I just felt the recoil from you all, as your eyes landed on this…as I always do *wink*
And why is that? Maybe because our perception of beauty has (always) been of a stock standard. There is nothing ‘attractive’ about me at this age and the boys CERTAINLY didn’t come near me. And it wasn’t just that stylish ‘do’ I was sporting, I also dressed like a tomboy. No dresses or skirts, except for my school uniform, that is.
So boys steered clear. In fact, I remember that when I was in Year 11, my year group (all girls) went on a camp with a nearby Catholic all-boys’ high school. The boys were in cabins on one side of the camp and the girls on the other. I recall that my girlfriends and I all went across to the boys’ cabins and as we walked up the few steps to their big verandah, a guy was standing there saying, “Welcome…Welcome”, to every girl who passed him. When he saw me he said, “You’re not welcome.” I continued on with the rest of my friends.
I cared and I didn’t care. The part that cared, wondered if I would have to grow my hair long for boys to find me attractive and the other part thought, “Fuck ’em” – I liked looking a bit different.
But my 20s saw me in a time of MASSIVE insecurity – because I was the classic student in the class of: “Main goal in life – Marriage and Motherhood 101.” I DID grow my hair out and started wearing skirts and dresses, to make sure I fitted the mould to get to my goal. To be chosen. And there’s no way around changing this because it’s the man who has to propose – he chooses. We wait.
So while we wait, we go through terrible thoughts about ourselves – as I did – and that’s why I understand the feelings of the woman who responded. I do.
Secondly….this is the hard one to articulate…
None of this has anything to do with how I look. Nothing. Yes, I do like clothes and fashion – we are the ‘fairer sex’, after all – but I dress to (hopefully) show some style. If I get a ‘label’ piece of clothing for a bargain – great! If a pair of jeans from K-mart do the trick – excellent! (which they did last week). Fashion is something I want to get into – just not now.
I’m OK with the way I look now because I’m older and wiser. About three years ago I was 10 kgs (22lbs) heavier – after having my girls – and the weight was not budging. But the moment I started to look at myself and be ‘happy’ with what I saw, that the weight started to drop (coupled with some small changes to lifestyle). It came off fast – it was like my mind was ‘seeing’ my future figure and my body caught up.
But when I was the SAME weight in my 20s, I was SOOO insecure about it all.
Now I can hear some of you saying, “Yeah, but none of that matters – now that you have been chosen.”
I’m married. So what? Lots and lots of people are (in partnerships) – and they all have different ‘looks’.
Yes, after 11 years (tomorrow) married to my husband, we have established a strong family unit – that I love – and is, for the most part, travelling well. But there are A LOT of really yuck days and is, at times, Very. Hard. Work. My girls are still young, so who knows what the teenage years will bring…when they can drive me to insanity now.
Every third marriage,in Australia, ends in divorce* – so why is it so revered? This statistic hasn’t shifted much over the decades – so if it’s not really a third of the population’s cup of tea (statistics don’t lie) – why is it pushed on us since birth?
I know the common answer is loneliness – but aren’t some marriages the loneliest experiences? And if you add kids to the mix, isn’t there a saying that goes, “You’ll feel lonely at times, but you’re never alone.”?
The funny thing is – and this is something I’m going to be blogging about soon – is that I’m surrounded by the most amazing women (aren’t we all? amazing, that is! *wink*) of different ages, looks, talent, marital status, with children and without – of whom I’m in AWE. I go to them for advice, I pick their brains, gas-bag, LOVE their sense of fashion and style, have a laugh, have a boogie and NONE of it, has to do with them fitting a mould. So why look at me and say, “Oh, but you look….(fill in the blank)? Because whatever you put in there – it doesn’t matter – it doesn’t afford me anything.
Question #33: Since when does a look that ‘fits the mould’ guarantee a happy and perfect life?
So my whole point of Looks can be deceiving, was that it seems unbalanced to want to ALL want the same final goal, all looking the same way. Nature doesn’t make us that way.
My message to you young ones, is that you don’t need to sell yourselves short by being something you’re not – in the hope to get chosen – because you’ll be chosen for the wrong reasons…especially if all you’re offering, through your look, is sex – we can ALL do that. Nothing special.