Self image thoughts

So, there’s this issue that I have. A self-image thing. People regularly tell me that I’m stupid for feeling this way, but bear with me and I shall explain.

I am not pretty and I am not beautiful. It doesn’t matter what I look like, that is the way that I feel about myself. I’m plain and frumpy.

For me, beauty isn’t really about physical features. There are people that I think are utterly gorgeous who aren’t conventionally pretty, but their clothes sense and flair just *work*.

These people are not me.

1) No matter what the scales say, in my head I’m a bit pudgy and my mental image of myself is about 30 pounds heavier than I really am. Telling me that I’m perfectly thin doesn’t actually work. My weight is something that I’m terribly self-conscious about and I’m not sure that I’ll ever understand why. I suspect that this is the effect of growing up a skinny kid and then growing overly-large boobs almost overnight, which did get reduced to something slightly more appropriate to my frame but left a lasting impression.

2) The boobs. They make me hideously self-conscious and I never know how to dress well for them. If cleavage is showing, I hear my mother’s voice in my head even if it’s just a hint and nothing indecent. The fact that many v-neck and scoop-neck tops (which flatter my shape better than high-necked things) seem to end at the navel does not help. I have no issues with wearing a camisole under things like this, but cannot find any silky ones (please could someone tell me where these are found?) and fabricy ones get dragged down by the top and end up baring just as much as the problem neck-line. I have a small frame and it’s hard to find things that really fit and flatter when you have a small frame and big boobs. Clothes are built for stick insects.

3) My feet are narrow and shallow. They look perfectly nice and shapely up until I put them on the floor, then they flatten totally and pronate (roll inwards). This actually looks really ugly, IMO. Over the For this reason, I wear orthotics most of the time and my every day shoes need to accommodate the orthotics. For those who don’t know, this means that they need a little bit of extra space, the inside needs to be shaped so that the orthotics don’t bend inappropriately and the shoes need to be firmly attached to my feet. This is why I usually wear boots or Converse sneakers. Pretty shoes do not match well with orthotics. Nor do they go well with butt-ugly flat feet. Pretty shoes do not stay on my feet unless they have lots of straps and there are limits to how much heel I can wear and not fall flat on my face. Thus shoe shopping is torture and I have no pretty shoes. I’m going to admit that the shoes I wore to my best friend’s wedding last year were a bad choice, both from a comfort POV and appearance. I really needed something daintier with a slight heel for that dress. Not owning pretty shoes (my boots are all a little clumpy and Converse only work in casual situations) makes dressing up for a dressy do not very easy.

4) I have no clothes sense. Mostly I manage not to clash badly or look out of place formality-wise at work. Mostly. Sometimes I catch myself in the mirror and realise that I’ve managed to dress so badly that someone should have arrested me when I left the house. I am not kidding, there was a day last month when the sweater/trousers combo made me look like a very fat kid with a teeny head. Ouch. And sometimes my colour choices, while not clashing, give the impression that I’m wearing pyjamas. Beige ones. Urp. I have no clothes sense, no colour sense and no idea how my friends manage to look so good when I can barely figure out whether a sweater goes with my blue jeans or not. As for dressing up, I’m clueless. Accessorizing appropriately (which I understand is the key to a great outfit) might as well be quantum physics to me.

5) I know as much about make-up as I did when I was ten. And I think I’m about as skilled at applying it. Nor do I have any clue about this ‘eye-brow shaping’ that people speak of. Likewise, I can blow-dry my hair by aiming the hairdryer at it but have no clue about actually styling it. My hairdresser uses flat-irons and product and it looks amazing, but these are items that I also have no clue about. Somewhere in my ‘how to be a girl’ education, all of these things passed me by and at the age of mumble-mumble I feel that it’s probably too late to learn. So my hair looks vaguely wind-blown most of the time, I have no idea whether my eyebrows look OK and I’m scared of make-up.

I know for a lot of women, the things that I’ve listed aren’t important and they don’t really mind all these things. For me, these are all the reasons that I consider myself to be rather plain and frumpy (I am frumpy, I admit it) and I’m not sure how I change them.

My conviction that I’m not pretty (and sometimes that I’m a bit ugly) isn’t about my features, it’s about all the things that make up beauty to me. Someone can have absolutely gorgeous features, but those other things (clothes and hair and flair) can make them fade into the background. Someone else can have quite ordinary features, but they know how to dress and move and generally ‘be’ so people look at them and think ‘wow’.

Does any of this make sense to people?

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ann
    May 30, 2010 @ 00:02:00

    With the exception of the thoughts on thinness & boobs, I could have written this entry!

    All I know about being a girl I learned from Ruth.



  2. Gordon Rae
    May 30, 2010 @ 07:51:50

    People who don’t have any have doubts about their own image are horrible. You wouldn’t want to date them; seriously. Just saying.

    There’s nothing wrong with admiring other people and doubting yourself. But allow other people to admire you. There are people out there who think you’re better than perfect exactly as you are.


  3. Lesley
    May 30, 2010 @ 20:23:50

    These are things you can learn.
    I can help.

    Shoe wise, we talked about this. It can be done. And I can help.

    What I can’t help with is the inner voice that is preventing you from seeing yourself as lovely. Because you are. Really. You know me, I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true.




  4. Doxie
    May 30, 2010 @ 23:28:11

    This post made me very, very sad. You are such a lovely woman and I completely disagree with your statements about your clothes sense. You are always beatifully neatly and conservatively dressed – a woman after my own heart!

    There are a few shops in town that have some great sales associates who give me lots of good advice. Clothes advice is always something you can get, as is makeup advice.

    The good news is that you are also brilliant and funny – and that isn’t something people can teach you.


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