Live and let live!
Well the gist of this entire blog can be summarised to this; Don’t be a dick!
World’s smallest violin….
When I was growing up I was bullied for being poor and ugly. I mean being one of them is bad enough, but both? Damn! I grew up in a single parent family, in a dingy wee scheme in Scotland, I’ve got a big nose, nothing special to look at, that is unless you think I’m a bit speshul – but that’s not quite the special you want to be now, is it? My mum couldn’t afford to kit me out like some of the kids I knew, nor did she have any taste, so the stuff I wore was something else to be mocked for. All in all, I’d describe my childhood as shit for the most part. I wasn’t alone through all this though, I did have my big sister, 10 years my senior and clearly the one who got all the genes for good looks. Not too sure what I was left with, perhaps a good sense of humour? My sister and I can tell stories of our childhood that would make most gasp in horror/disbelief, but thankfully we manage to laugh about it now. In fact, half the time when we reminisce we are kinked with laughter. I don’t know if that’s more a nervous thing, or if it’s just the fact the stories are bloody funny. Probably a bit of both.
If there is one thing that bullying teaches you, it’s to laugh at yourself. You have the privilege of letting others point out all the flaws you know about, and, to point out new ones. It’s great. Having this makes you acutely self-aware, meaning that as you grow older, you’re able to crack better jokes about yourself than others, leaving no room for the bullies. For a brief time during my late teens/early 20’s I cared not a single jot what others thought of me. That was a blissful time, as far as self-confidence went. As I’ve gotten older and anxiety/depression has been a part of my life, I’ve become more self-conscious now, than I think I was as a child. I’m over weight, more stripes than a tiger (kids have been worth every one), horrible skin, post teen acne, frizzy hair, still have a big nose, big squint eyes, a top lip that is not symmetrical (who knew that could even be a thing!!), a large forehead (well this was new to me over the last year, but hey, what is one more thing to add to my list right?), lines appearing around my eyes (hello crow’s feet), and horrible man hands. Yup, I have these horrible manly looking hands, but they’re like a midget version, so let’s just call them my ‘Trump hands’.
My daily wake up and get ready for the day routine goes like this:
- Roll out of bed and marvel at my less than adequate physique in our full-length mirror. Convince myself today is the day I will diet (this has still not happened)
- Go in the shower, and be grossed out by myself as I get washed and wonder how on earth someone like me can be married. Sometimes, just sometimes, I have a wee blub about this.
- Whilst in the shower, I think of all the people I know that are pretty, skinny and don’t have stripes and spend a moment hating them and wondering if they even appreciate how lucky they actually are?
- Get dressed as quickly as I can, but huff and haw about the fact it might be warm outside but I need to remain covered up ALL the time due to my skin, so I’ll just have to sweat like a Glaswegian watching Crime Watch (If you’re from the west coast it’s only a joke!).
- Once dressed I’ll start to apply my makeup, but not before I scrutinise every square inch of my spots, uneven skin tone, pores and horrible facial features. Namely my nose! I mean this hooter is turning corners before me. I swear if I tilt my head up toward the sun, I’ll eclipse half the city. I wear more makeup now, than I ever have in my life. Why? Well, it helps me to feel better about how I look for one. Plus, I feel that If I was to wear a burka, as lets face it, they hide a multitude of sins, I may actually cause more offence, so makeup applied by catapult is the way to go for me.
By the time I leave the house I’m worried that the outfit I’ve picked isn’t flattering enough, that my makeup will look silly, that my hair is full of fly aways and probably now getting frizzy, do I have more spots? It’s completely exhausting to be this self-aware and indulgent in how you look, and not even for the good reasons. You know, if I looked like a model and I was just concerned with how I looked all the time, I doubt that would be as bad, as being concerned for the negative reasons. You know what I mean?
How do I feel better about myself?
Despite having these negative feelings and thoughts about myself, and a very clear deep self-loathing, I get up and put a smile on daily. I get showered, dressed and put my face on, quite literally. Once I’m out of the house, either for work, shopping, or doing something with the kids, I just get focused on the task in hand and having light hearted conversations with people to completely distract my thoughts, and for the most part, this works.
Until I got post teen acne, I didn’t wear makeup at all. So, the fact I wear it every day now is a chore, and one I definitely wish I didn’t have to do. I’m no makeup artist and with being so pale I struggle to get a foundation that completely matches, something I’m aware of. I do my best to cover my flaws, to not have people be grossed out by me, or to see how ugly I really am underneath all of this slap.
With regards to clothes, usual attire is a pair of skinny jeans, black vest with lumberjack shirt, or a band/movie tshirt and trainers. That’s it. Office attire is a basic dress from H&M with a shirt over the top, or a cardigan. Nothing outlandish or fashionable here. Just basic. Very very very rarely will you see me go out of my comfort zone to wear something different, as I always fear that I’ll look like mutton. So, I stick with what I know works and I’m usually happy.
I love Tattoo’s. If I had enough money I’d be covered head to toe. Why? Well I’ve got really horrible skin, so what better way to get body confidence than to have it coloured in and make it look pretty? My first Tattoo was when I was 16, my sister took me and bluffed that I was 18. My Tattooist was a drunk, who turned up late with a tin of Tennent’s lager in one hand and spliff in the other. I was undeterred as a badass little 16-year-old and I got it anyway. It’s not my nicest Tattoo,*inner voice* “no shit Sherlock!”, and I’ve considered covering it up, but you know what? It’s a memory, and a funny one at that, so it stays. I then have a few more on my lower arm, as I hate my skin there, and having my Tattoo’s makes me not care about having short sleeves.
So, c’mon,what’s the point to this blog?
We all know someone who likes to be sarky all the time, and someone who thinks they’re being discreet with their eye rolls, when really we all know they’re about as discreet as a brick in the face? Yup, we all do. As we know, I have anxiety and I’m a naturally a paranoid person, meaning I do doubt myself, and I doubt everyone and assume everyone is disingenuous until proven otherwise. This does make situations and making friends difficult, and is more than likely why all my close friends are the most honest people you’ll meet. No second guessing and that is just how I like it. Well, today I have been met head on by a situation that has made me doubt myself, and someone I know.
I have decided to wear something that I wouldn’t normally consider. Something that I saw in the shop and loved, but never envisioned myself having the courage to wear. Then a couple of weeks ago, we had gorgeous weather one weekend and I thought to myself “Stuff it, I’m buying it”, and I did. I came home, tried it on, and my husband told me I looked lovely in it. The next day it belted down with rain and I’ve not had a chance to wear it since trying it on. Typical. The past couple of days have been really warm/humid and I’ve been quite uncomfortable in work, done up like nanook of the north, so I thought “aha I have this top I bought, I’m going to wear that”.
When I was getting ready to leave this morning, I asked my husband and kids, “how do I look?”, and they all assured me I looked fine. I actually felt really good, like I had a little bit of confidence. When out, I had one friend lean in and say, “You’re looking really skinny today”, another asked me to walk around for a better look and told me I was looking really good. Ummm excuse me whilst my ego inflates. That really did make me feel good. I did actually start to think my choice was a goodun. This was until, someone I know walked past, and gave what can only be described as a grimace, a look toward someone else, then an eye roll. They must have thought they were being really subtle, OR, they figure they don’t need to try and be subtle? Who knows, but, regardless that is what happened and I found myself thinking “WTF is your problem?”. I left it though, I kept smiling, figured it was maybe aimed at someone else. Kept telling myself that not everything is about me (I know right? Who knew the world didn’t revolve around me), and that this person could be having a bad day. So, I parked the negative thoughts, continued to feel good about myself, then went about my day. Later on I tried to speak to this person and I was met with a curt response. Again, I put this down to them having a bad day, so walked on and left it.
Thanks to having horrible skin, I also have a really oily T-Zone, meaning I feel compelled to constantly powder my nose. Otherwise it’s shiny, you can see all the pores and let’s face it, it’s my biggest (pun fully intended) complex. As soon as I feel my nose getting oily, I’ll pull out my foundation brush and just give a quick dust over. Nothing major, just enough to make me feel a bit better. Well today, it was a bit cooler and I hadn’t felt compelled to powder my T-Zone, that was until I got a text. As I raised my phone I caught my reflection and I was mortified. Without hesitation I got my brush and promptly powdered my face, thinking things like “OMG how long has it been like that for? Who has seen it?”, when all I hear from the side of me is a dry/sarky comment . Sorry? what? I looked around and this person wasn’t even looking at me when talking to me, just carrying on about their business, of which to me, is more than a little rude. So now I’m thinking, nope, this isn’t a bad day, clearly this is something personal. Why would me powdering my T-Zone warrant any comment? Or was this also a dig at the top I’m wearing? So, I bit back. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have. Why lower myself, but I was miffed. I’m not even sure of their retort, as I couldn’t hear them over my now descending red mist, but what I did see was the smirk at my reaction. Clearly my biting back, had been the reaction they were looking for. Well, colour me pissed.
I then proceed to carry on about my business, and just let myself calm down. I realised, that if this was the kind of reaction they were looking for, they won’t get it from me. They’re not a friend, haven’t been, never will be, and their opinion of me actually stands for nowt. So, it was time to follow Mum’s advice “Smile and walk away, they hate that”. If they want to be sarky, let them, I will not lower myself to their level. I’m a good person and if I’m not your cup of tea, then you know what, your loss ?
No-one will EVER:
- Think I’m uglier than I do
- Hate me as much as I do
- Doubt my ability as much as I do
- Find me as annoying as I do myself
I am my own biggest critic, but you know what I am sure of, I’m a bloody good person. Those closest to me know this, and those that don’t take the time to see it, then that is their loss. I’m a very honest, straight talking person. If I don’t like you, I won’t go out of my way to be around you and be overly friendly, but by the same token I won’t be a dick. I would never ever belittle someone, or try to make a mug of them. Why? Well because I’m not an asshole, that’s why. I will never ever presume to think I’m better than anyone, as I’m a firm believer that we’re all equal, we just each have our own things that we excel at, doesn’t make us better than each other.
I have always raised my kids to be kind and see the good in people. I have raised them to be the kids I’d wished I’d known growing up, friends I’d wished I’d had, and I must say I’m damn proud of the young adults they’re becoming. They’re incredibly loving, caring, compassionate, empathetic and just all round good people. I will continue to lead by example, I will not be brought down to negative levels and I definitely won’t let anyone make me feel any worse about me than I already do. Believe it or not, despite everything that has been said, I do believe I’m worth something, and I’m definitely worth more than petty snipes.
If you’re like me, and self-loath, don’t let anyone else add to it. We exhaust ourselves daily overthinking everything as it is, why on earth should we let others steal more of our time/energy? Wear what you want, put makeup on if you want, put your hair how you want and live how you want, you know why? Your anxiety is always going to be there to beat you up anyways, so at least try and have a little fun and enjoy yourself along the way. Despite my snark comment/look today, I did get two compliments, of which totally top trumps the snark one, not just because they were nice, but because they’re from people I care about and whose opinions matter.