Lately, it seems I can cry over the most benign shit. It is as though my PMS is not paying attention to the calendar whatsoever. When even reality television chokes me up, I know I am entering Hot Mess City. And lately, I am the friggin Mayor.

Last night, I came upon a video which lent itself as a perfect example of my emotional edginess. But in my defense, there have been many others with similar reactions. Take a watch and see how you respond…

If you have read my blog in the past, if you know me “in real life”, you know my annoying issues with self-image and self-esteem. Pretty much every where I go, I feel like the ugliest (or oldest or fattest or worst dressed) woman in the room. I compare myself to all the other women and insist they are better, smarter, prettier. Before an event or an evening out, I will try on 87 outfits and often end up in tears because EVERYthing makes me look “fat” and all my clothes are “hideous”.

I find myself daydreaming about the cosmetic surgeries I would have if I were rich and had the balls. I desperately want a breast reduction & lift, a chin implant, laser hair removal, veneers and skin resurfacing. If I wasn’t scared to death of surgery, I would also throw in liposuction, a butt implant and a nose job.

I am constantly on the look out for the latest weight loss tips, make up miracles and the non-existent perfect bra. And on those days when I actually do not hate the way I look…when I might have a smidgen of confidence…I will see a picture of myself or perhaps a reflection and I fall right back into that pit of grossness.

I have always been this way to some degree. But there is no doubt that it has gotten to a wretched level after having my daughter. Not to mention, I am now pushing 40 and everything is so much more difficult to maintain. I am having a very hard time aging – for many reasons, but aesthetics are a big one.

This insanity must stop. I do not want these girls growing up caring so much about how they appear. I don’t want them hyper focused on this crap. I want to be able to enjoy a day on the boat or a night on the town. I want so badly to be introduced to that sense of having true confidence. I have to fix this because I am damaging myself and worse, damaging the girls. I am the only one who CAN fix this. I have looked to others for that magical cure and they just don’t have it.

SOOOO…needless to say – this video hits close to home…big time, baby.

I shared the video with others, hoping to have some company in this cry baby fest of self loathing. And I lucked out in that apparently there are others who relate to this unhealthy and sad reality. But then…there was this gal named Michelle (shaking the Ralph Kramden fist) who had to go and ruin my new favorite commercial by posting THIS LINK. Go ahead…read it. Then return, okay?

You back? Sweet.

Obviously this blog provided me with further angst and I kinda wanted to punch the author. Not because she is wrong but because I am not sure how to defend my new favorite tear jerker. But I will try. Kinda.

There is no denying the lack of different ethnicities, of overweight women, of those with disabilities. That fact alone is disappointing considering the point they are claiming to make. The women who were sketched were not women society would consider ugly or unattractive. They were indeed naturally attractive women, by most accounts.

I will say that perhaps it was their intention to show women who are closer to the stereotype of what is socially considered beautiful. Maybe they wanted to show us that even these women…ones we may be envious of…also carry with them self-doubt. I dunno. Just a thought.

I was also bothered by an editing choice in this video. It was at the 5:40-ish mark. She says that ‘IT impacts everything.’ And it is edited to sound as though she is saying that our outer beauty is crucial to every aspect in life. But I believe it was originally intended to express that our SELF IMAGE is what is important. That was a terrible editing error. No doubt, scout.

I would like to think that Dove is not exploiting our insecurities while perpetuating the very bullshit that made us insecure to begin with. I would like to think that this company who sells deodorant, shampoo and soap is merely helping us be the best us we can be. And yes, part of that would encompass basic hygiene and grooming. I mean, let’s face it – there is nothing wrong with having some pride in our appearance and being clean. I would like to think all of this even if it makes me a tad naive.

And we can dissect the motivations and strategies of the Dove company until the big fat ugly cows come home. It doesn’t change the original message of the video. It doesn’t change the fact that it is touching some major nerves all over the world. It doesn’t change the reasons we feel this way.

If you watch the movie Miss Representation, you can learn a lot about how we got here and more frighteningly, where we are going.

We are constantly inundated with images, messages and suggestions telling us how we are SUPPOSE to look. Telling us that beauty is above all else. We are taught to be disappointed if we cannot live up to unrealistic goals. We compare ourselves to photo-shopped magazine covers and women drowning in botox and silicone. We are even made to feel guilty if we eat more than 1000 calories a day. And let’s not even get into how boys are taught to judge our beauty.

I don’t know how to correct 30-some years of wacky brain wiring. I don’t know how to even begin to change the way I view myself. It seems so daunting and honestly, impossible. But I must try because I am miserable.

I think my first step will be changing the way I take a compliment. I am embarrassingly HORRIBLE at it. I will almost always come back with some smart ass remark. I will devalue what was said and even try to convince the other person that they are wrong. I mean WHAT THE FUCK??!!  I am going to make a serious effort to simply accept the kind words and say thank you. Maybe once I get that down, I will work on actually absorbing those messages instead.

We have so much evolving to do. And as much as I would like to change society…I think I have to start with myself on this one.

One thought on “Mirror Mirror…Screw You

  1. I’m with you on this one Heather. I cried just this morning when I first watched the Dove video. (which I will add, I’ve been purposely avoiding all week because I knew it would make me cry) Ironically, I saw your post right after and then read the link. What I thought after reading that was “waa waa waa, someone can always find something to bitch about.” No matter what we do in life, it will never be diverse enough to represent everyone. Would the message have been received differenly if the wome were more diverse? I don’t think so.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I see more beauty than alot of people do, because I try harder to find it. That is just me, niave as it may be. I need to live in a world where there is a silver lining, and to date I’ve always found it….even in the most difficult of times.

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