A response.

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 usincluding 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.

Noice.

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.

Deep Breath.

x

*MyDivorce.com.au

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13 Responses to “A response.”

  1. At the ripe old age of 47 I have been “chosen”( NOT!) I have CHOSEN to take the terrifying leap into marriage now that I am READY. I have never in my life felt so comfortable in my own skin and I believe that it shows. Yes, like you my dear cousin, I look years younger than I really am (wink) but it really goes further than that. I never had marriage/babies as my goal in life, so I guess I felt less pressure than some. My social circle consists of friends in their mid 20s (none of them are suffering the kinds of insecurities that we did at that age, why I wonder? Maybe I am now drawn to strong, confident people like myself?) I believe in the laws of attraction: like attracts like. So perhaps liking yourself, having confidence when we face the outside world is really the secret. It’s not something that we consciously do, you can’t fake confidence! For some of us it simply comes with time 🙂

    • questionsforwomen said

      ABSOLUTELY! It definitely came with time for me – hopefully we can inspire the hoards of young, insecure women to truly love and embrace who they are. Feeling good ju-ju, brings good ju-ju into your life! I’m so happy for you!!…and isn’t it funny, that when you truly felt happy, all good stuff started to happen. Un beso. xxx

  2. Veronica Habib said

    I can honestly say, that when I was younger I never understood this need or constant want of having a partner or the feeling of being alone even when I was single. Friends would constantly complain about being alone.

    Possibly this was a time before I was in a serious relationship, but I always thought it was odd when others told me ” not to be silly” or “you will find someone” when I said I was completely ok and fine dying alone.I know people are probably rolling their eyes at me saying this, but possibly it’s because I had felt the full extent at how horrible ( not all) men can be. I was GENUINELY happy being single, I was even contempt living single for the rest of my life.

    Not having a partner has never worried me, loosing the person I love now yes, but being alone hasn’t. Finding him was not on my mind and finding someone never was. But back to my initial point……

    What is wrong with being alone? Why is it so bad? Can’t we be contempt with ourselves?

    I have always thought that I rather be alone and happy, then settle for an unhappy marriage/ relationship attempting to be someone else.( clothes, appearance, personality, little white lies and all)

    People usually think if they haven’t found some one they have to change, but I have always thought that if I have to change for a person then I am not the person they deserve and they don’t deserve me. I rather fall in love with the real person than a mirage I have planted or they created for me. I prefer reality or fantasy any day.

    And for the teen horror stories about how mean boys and girls can be, HA! We’d be here for years!

    • questionsforwomen said

      You are such a wise girl, Veronica – and you’re what, 20? 21?
      I felt joy reading your comment – there may be some hope for the future, if there are more girls like you!
      Thank you, darlin x

  3. Harls said

    “I am … in a stable marriage, with a good-looking husband …”
    Just wondering – if a male wrote a comment on a blog mentioning his wife’s looks rather than any of her other wonderful attributes, would that draw any negative comments? Just saying…

    • questionsforwomen said

      I see what you’re saying, but that was what my friend said about me, not what I said – although I do think he’s pretty handsome!
      I’m not sure they’d be much outrage either, if a man said his wife was good-looking. I suppose it would depend on the context in which it was said. We are attracted physically to our partners…one should hope! *wink*
      Thanks Harley

      • Harls said

        I stand corrected. The fact your friend said it, not you, doesn’t change the sentiment. Of course anyone can say their partner is good looking! It’s a lovely thing to say.
        But it sounded like the central theme of your friend’s assessment of your husband – she only mentioned his looks. Hugs x

      • questionsforwomen said

        Very true – that’s why I’m saying, “So what?” to comments about looks.
        Hugs back x

  4. Brian said

    I was chosen at a young age (24) and we loved and lived together for twenty years. I am now single and loving it. I wonder when asked why I haven’t found someone else, why so many people feel that we should be perpetually partnered. I have had another relationship, he died, it (the relationship) was brief but intense and not always good but was honest and filled with mutual love. I see so many relationship falter because those involved think they are doing what is expected of them. They are merely play acting to impress family, friends or society. The only reason to ever be involved with someone else is because it makes YOU happy. If more people realised this there would be more successful relationships and more happy people.

    • questionsforwomen said

      I completely agree, Brian! It’s hard enough that we all need to navigate through all of this – I just can’t fathom how hard it must be for our young ones.
      Thanks heaps for your comment – it’s very wise.

  5. ads said

    Same hair!

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