Sunday, February 12, 2006

Feel so damn unpretty

I started this blog with lofty intentions, to inspire, find my writing voice, push myself past my fear of exposure. But right now, all I want to talk about is how ugly I feel, inside and out.

Oh, dear reader (I've decided to be optimistic and assume I WILL have readers someday...), I am feeling more unattractive now than I ever have before. And yes, that includes when I was pregnant.

Lately, all you have to do to get a sense of how I am looking and feeling is to take a glance at my feet. They look like they belong to a Gorgon who is letting herself go. Scaly, gnarly nails faintly yellowed with...I shudder to think with what. My poor toes look beaten down by life, every line brought into sharp relief by my sudden abundance of dry skin.

I know, I know...this happens to everyone, eventually. But that doesn't make it any more palatable.

My mother would say that I am allowing myself to be a "quedada"...a woman left behind. Not that I ever considered myself a beauty queen but I always felt at presentable, and I never lacked for admiration, my own or that of gentlemen friends (OK, where did that Victorian Maiden come from?). But having the baby changed all that. Or rather, having the baby then ignoring myself for the last seven months has changed all that.

A friend of mine once said that if women stopped obsessing about romance and their appearance, they could probably cure cancer in a few weeks. I don't doubt it, and the idea of being beautiful has never been a priority for me. I grew up with a beautiful mother, whose motto was always "Beauty must suffer pain." Well, the kind of beauty she meant (that of long hair and stiletto heels and makeup) always seemed like a silly reason to suffer to me. Why spend so much money and fuss on myself when I could always buy another book, or go out and do something? But now I find myself more conscious of the lack of beauty. I always have a bit of a shock when I look in the mirror, especially if I am holding Madam Bunny at the same time. Her luminous skin (I know all babies are beautiful, but indulge a proud Mama, will you?), her rosy cheeks and full lips and bright, inquisitive eyes smile into the mirror and you can't help but sigh in satisfaction. Until you see me, in all of my rat nest headed, undereye circled, pimpled glory. I don't even look related to the radiant creature who is supposedly my daughter. I am just so uncomfortable in my own skin--none of my clothes fit well and I can't seem to find clothes that do. Things sag and bunch up that used to fit smoothly once (both clothes and skin, alas). Even my teeth look worn out.

What makes it worse is that I feel like every other Mama in the world has it totally together. I see them everywhere in my little suburb--smooth shiny hair, coordinated clothes without pureed sweet potato on them, even jewelry. Meanwhile, I'm schlumping around in my ill fitting attire, rocking the momtail (my daughter LOVES to pull hair) because my hair hasn't been cut since I was pregnant, no jewelry (did I mention she also likes to pull? Hard?). It's enough to make me break out into a rousing chorus of "I feel ugly."

Maybe it's just time for me to learn how to handle these basic maintanence tasks on my own. It was always easier for me to head on out to a salon or one of those wonderful little Korean nail places, and tell myself that I was using my mental powers for loftier endeavors. But it's actually just that I'm pretty bad with the girly stuff (aka the stuff my Mami kept trying to teach me). But I'm finally working on it...I just bought foot exfoliant (admitting to myself that my next pedicure will probably be in a few long months) I'm rebuilding myself from the ground up, literally. I think I need to start with the ogre in the mirror before I have the energy to tackle my sterile apartment and its utter lack of personality, unless you count being festooned in ugly baby's primary color plastic as a personality. And I'm all about the comforting lie, but even I can't convince myself of that one. Beauty might need to suffer pain, but it's nothing compared to the pain of seeing yuckiness everywhere you look.



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