Friday, April 1, 2011

NOW? Really?

I have spent 50 years angsting (no it's not a real word) about being short, plain, apple-shaped, boy shaped, oh any number of dumb words for not 5'11'' and blonde. Why? Probably the normal thing, our lovely culture and media have made beauty a very narrow field. I think in the past ten years, it has gotten better. I see more non-blonde, non-tall and reed-thin, images of beauty out there, but none-the-less, not enough.
So in the past tenish years (also not a word), I've come to like my five-foot tallness, my small hipped frame and my straight hair. I don't even mind most of my wrinkles. The sad thing is like many women, I have figured out NOW that I was a pretty young woman back in my twenties and a very attractive woman in my thirties. But at the time, I was filled with self-doubt and fear.
So what's up with that? Why now when it's about over? Too little too late?
So I entered the MORE beauty search. The women who have entered it are all over 35, and most of them attractive in non-stereotypical ways. Seemed like the right place to be for me to explore this feeling. BUT it is making me hugely uncomfortable. I'm kind of embarrassed that I did it and that I put myself out there.
I don't think I should be, but I am. If it were one of my friends, I'd be proud of her for doing it. But I'm not proud of me.
My mother's messages about vanity and self-involvement continue to haunt me. They are probably part of why I never saw what I looked like as a younger woman.
I still remember in college when my dad told me I was beautiful. In one sentence, he did more for my self-esteem than he'll ever know.
But the media persisted and my self-esteem suffered and obviously the feelings I'm having over entering that contest give voice to the pain it is still causing me.
Alan Alda as the character Hawk-eye Pierce on the show MASH once said something like: "Courage doesn't mean you are not afraid. Courage is going out in spite of your fears and continuing to fight."
I suppose in 50 years, I have not become more beautiful or more confident, but more courageous.

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