Monday, May 7, 2012

You Have Pretty Eyes For An Ugly Girl

"You have pretty eyes....for an ugly girl." I was told that once, just a few years ago, by a complete stranger. Standing in line to buy a bottle of nail polish, Glamour magazine, a flower-shaped hair clip and a pack of socks. I had gone into Target specifically to get a new pack of socks for my husband, who will wear socks down until they are practically invisible. It was a gorgeous Spring day and I decided to get myself some "pretties" just for the hell of it. I found a pretty pink shade of nail polish, a sparkly hair clip shaped like a flower and an issue of Glamour magazine because something - I can't remember what - on the cover had caught my eye. I had my infant son in my arms when I stood in line. The lady in front of me turned around and fussed over my son, remarking on his gorgeous eyes, which were darker than mine. She looked at his eyes and then at mine. I was beaming because I made this beautiful little boy and people loved to see him. And then she uttered those words, "You have pretty eyes...for an ugly girl." It's something I never get used to - being told I'm ugly directly to my face. I deal with it in different ways, depending on my mood. I can laugh it off. I can get really quiet and ignore it. I can come back with something fabulously witty. Or I can get violent. I chose a violent threat that day and said, "I can make your face as ugly as mine if you want to keep talking." She barely looked at me and turned around. What the hell? Who says shit like that to a complete stranger? I put the nail polish, magazine and hair clip down on the shelf next to the register. I was too self conscious to be seen with beauty products and a beauty magazine - as if there was anything my ugly ass could do to make me prettier. I paid for the socks and struggled to keep the tears from flowing as I rushed to my car. My son cooed and gurgled in his carseat as I drove home, sobbing. This was nothing new, I told myself. I ought to get used to it. I'll never know what it's like to be pretty. I'll never know what it's like to be comfortable in my own skin.

These feelings come from the same person who wrote Fossils of My Fertility. It's one of my most popular posts on this little blog. You see, I can easily be proud of my fluffy and saggy stretch-marked belly. I'm fine with my body, whatever shape it takes, and proud of those marks of growth and motherhood. I celebrate that. My face is a completely different story. In a previous post, Skin, I wrote about how I have battled acne since the age of 10. I am now 33, so that's a 23 year battle. Things have calmed down somewhat as I now have a routine using Apple Cider vinegar, essential oils and raw honey as I noted in that post. I also use Witch Hazel. That combo is pretty much the only thing that has really worked on my skin. I treat from the inside as well - trying to keep myself healthy with good old fashioned normal traditional whole foods and not much processed food. My skin is no where near perfect, but it is better than in years past, for the most part. If you read my post about bullying, Look Back in Anger, you know that I was made fun of throughout school due to my skin. Being made fun of for the way I look has been a constant in my life for the past 23 years. Even now, at 33 years of age, I am still made fun of to my face and behind my back because I am ugly.

Acne hasn't just scarred my skin - and badly so - it has scarred my psyche. It has dragged me down a spotted path of intense insecurity. I can give you all the platitudes about beauty you want. Beauty is only skin deep. It's what's on the inside that counts. You have really pretty eyes. Your soul is beautiful. You have a great personality. Blah blah blah. I get it. Superficial beauty isn't important. Your spirit is way more important than your looks. People who judge you based on looks are idiots. That is all fine and good...when you're gorgeous. I can repeat the mantra that my soul is beautiful over and over and over, but that voice inside my head gets drowned out by the group of teenage boys barking at me as they pass by in the mall. When adults tell you to your face that you are straight up fugly, it's hard to see the beauty inside me. Having a private Facebook group dedicated to you and how fucking ugly you are makes it ever so difficult to focus on my personality. It's all been done to me, often. At the end of this past March, someone clued me in to a private Facebook group. A girl I was "friends" with was pissed off that I would not take sides in some stupid fight she was having with another friend. This is all very 4th grade. So, she created this private group to rant about the other girl and then the subject of yours truly came up. Comment after comment about my looks. "Doesn't she know they have cream for that?" "I've seen her husband and he isn't bad looking. He must be cheating on her. I would." "I feel bad for her kids having a mom that ugly." "She looks like my dogs ass with zits." "Someone should teach her how to use some make up and some foundation." "I'd be depressed if I looked like her." Those are some of the nicer samples. Oddly enough, it wasn't the first time I have heard the "dog's ass" comment. Someone said nearly the exact same thing to me in high school.

Because this has been part of my daily life for these past 23 years, I have grown less and less comfortable with myself. I am entirely conscious of people looking at me or talking about me. Whenever I walk into a room, building or any place where there are other humans I immediately feel like everyone is staring at me, even if they are not. I automatically assume that people are looking at me and judging me. I consider it a successful time if I have made it out of a particular scenario without hearing a comment or receiving a look or hearing a group of girls giggle as they look in my direction. I am extremely uncomfortable around attractive people, for obvious reasons. Oddly, one of the things that makes me most uncomfortable is getting compliments. People have complimented me and told me I am pretty and then, as I started to smile and say thank you, have laughed in my face and told me to "dream on." Anytime someone tells me, "but you are pretty," I get this overwhelming fear that they are mocking me and I feel even uglier. Even if they aren't mocking me, they are probably just having pity on the poor ugly girl. It's a horrible state of mind. Then people think I'm a bitch if they compliment me and I don't gush at them with gratitude. It's nothing personal towards them - it's all me.

It makes me fear for my kids. I am so afraid that my son, who has already experienced bullying in school at the tender age of 5, will be made fun of by other kids because of me. I'm afraid they will call him names and tell him that his mom is ugly. I've seen it happen to other people. I fear the day when he realizes that his mom is rather ugly - what if he is afraid to be seen with me? Luckily, my son looks a whole lot like my husband. There is a lot of me in him, but the resemblance to my husband is overwhelming and people don't notice my traits in his face. My daughter, however, is my clone. People ooh and ahh over her everyday because she is gorgeous and then they say, "she looks so much like you." And I will sometimes reply, "poor baby, I hope not." I don't want her growing up looking like her mother. She is a beautiful little baby girl and I don't want her or my son to ever know the pain of people downright hating you for your looks. I don't want my children to be barked at.

You see it in my pictures. You may tell me that you can't tell I'm ugly in my pictures. That's because I rarely take serious pictures. Go ahead - look at some of the pics I've included on posts on my blog. Full face shots usually show me with a hand up to my mouth, trying to be goofy and detract from the fugly.  Often, I am turned away or letting something cover part of my face. A great number of my photos are shot from behind. Most of my face is missing from photos with my children because I don't want them or my grandchildren to look back at them and find them ruined by this ugly chick. There are hardly any photographs of me and my husband together.

It's something I would love to overcome, but I feel like this is a scar on my brain that won't fade. I still battle acne. I can't do my hair (trust me, I've watched YouTube vids) so it always looks like crap. Even if there was a non-toxic and truly organic option for make-up, I still wouldn't know how to use it or apply it. I'm jealous of those who seem so put together. I realize they probably feel like crap on the inside sometimes, but realizing that doesn't change my own reality. It doesn't make people stop barking at me. It's frustrating being this woman who is known for not taking any shit and, yet, is so insecure with her own image. I have prayed, wished and sent tons of positive energy out into the Universe hoping for some sort of change - either to make me prettier or to help me cope with what I've got. I would love to know what it's like to walk through a store and not feel real or imaginary eyes on you. I would love to wake up in the morning, shower, get dressed and leave without obsessing over this pimple or that pimple. Pimples feel like a 1 ton weight on my face. I am always aware of all of them and their exact location. I would love to not feel that anymore. If only the love and respect I had for my body could translate to my face - I would be so happy.

Looking over this, I know how crazy I sound. You may think I am writing this to get people to tell me I am pretty. I assure you, I am not fishing for compliments. It's the furthest thing from my mind. I am opening up and being honest. I know there are others out there who have experienced similar feelings. I may be all sorts of gorgeous on the inside, but I am longing to feel  shiny and attractive on the outside.


KCM said...

TO be honest this blog post was hard to read. Mostly because I can tell by how you wrote it that there ARE scars there left by thoughtless comments, snide remarks and some idiotically immature person who decided it would be fun to start a Fb page about how 'ugly' you are!? (I still cant get over that. Why? Where did they find they time?? *sigh* its not cool..)

Im not going to sit here and tell you you are beautiful because I have never met you in the flesh.But I can tell by your writing that you are someone that cares and you have been hurt. Im really sorry that you've been the victim of such cruelty, really I am..

Anonymous said...

Some people can be complete assholes. You have to remember though, that the #1 reason people point out the imperfections in another is solely because of their own insecurities and misery. It sucks to be them. Period. I realize that one persons opinion of you may not matter, but when you hear something so much from so many, you ache and then believe it. Been there done that. I hope that one day you can see that you are beautiful. We all are. In different ways, we are all beautiful. (Unless you're the ass that calls someone ugly to their face)

Nikki said...

So here's the thing, and this may be an unpopular point of view but I know SO MANY people with profound body issues that I really think we need to think outside the "everyone is beautiful in their own way" box.

Physical beauty is not the be-all-end-all of what it takes to be a worth-while human being. Instead of looking for ways to feel beautiful (and therefore supposedly increase your feelings of self-worth) work on severing the connection between physical beauty and your self-worth. Beauty is only one of a billion in-born traits that we have very little control over. If someone made fun of you for being bad at tennis, or for having blue eyes it wouldn't even phase most people. The thing that makes beauty any different is the mental connection we make between beauty and self-worth, and as long as that connection exists as strongly as it does you will not be able to get past this. People are jerks, and there will always be someone trying to tear you down by targeting your CANNOT stop other people from being assholes, but you can try and re-frame their words as an attack on a superficial feature of yours that you cannot change rather than an attack on you as a person.

I know it's meant to be supportive, but when people say "We're ALL beautiful in our own way!" in an attempt to reassure someone that they are, in fact, beautiful, it doesn't actually help because the person knows damn well that the insult was in reference to societal standards of physical beauty (which almost none of us meet). I have witnessed friends with severe eating disorders join support groups where everyone sits around and tries to convince each other that they are all "beautiful" and it never does anything for them in the long run. They become hyper-focused on their physical appearance and when they leave their support cocoon and start seeing the ridiculously high standards fed to us through mass media, they once again get the message that they are NOT beautiful and feel worse than before because they also lose trust in the friends who supported them. It's a terrible cycle.

Personally, I used to be one of those people that would go with my kids to a waterpark in regular clothes and just wait for them at the bottom of slides. I didn't want people making jokes about the fat chick on the water slide, and I imagined everyone judging and staring while I waited in line for food at the concession stands. I'm not even that overweight, but wearing a swimsuit in public without a cover-up was out of the question, and I had a lot of mental scars left over from high school. A friend of mine with an absolutely horrid eating disorder indirectly helped me step outside of my insecurities and see just how absurd it all was. I could either continue to miss out on this time with my kids each summer, surround myself with a bubble of support each and every time I left the house in a type of clothing that I found unflattering, or just stop letting my physical appearance be the most important factor in my self-worth. Do I think I'm beautiful? No. But that's about as much of a problem to me now as knowing that I'm terrible at math. I will not let people hurt my kids by taking their screwed-up priorities to heart.

There are all sorts of reasons why we might not be as physically "beautiful" as we wish we were, from acne, to aging, to weight gain, to being burned in a horrible fire. None of those things reflect who you are as a person, and you can't really do anything about other people's priorities. I know this is all easier said than done, but I hope it helped a little. Everyone IS beautiful in different ways on the inside, but outer physical beauty is totally subjective. If we expect to be beautiful to everyone all the time then our lives will suffer.

Anonymous said...

Although I didn't suffer from acne, I was treated the same b/c of my large nose, crooked teeth and hairy arms/legs. My teeth were straight by 12, I started shaving at 9 and hopefully I have grown into my nose. Unfortunately the scars are still there. I like you have very few pictures where my face is involved and I never feel like compliments are sincere. I don't have any advice to feel better. Just letting you know you aren't the only one who hasn't been able to accept themselves as beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Although I didn't suffer from acne, I was treated the same b/c of my large nose, crooked teeth and hairy arms/legs. My teeth were straight by 12, I started shaving at 9 and hopefully I have grown into my nose. Unfortunately the scars are still there. I like you have very few pictures where my face is involved and I never feel like compliments are sincere. I don't have any advice to feel better. Just letting you know you aren't the only one who hasn't been able to accept themselves as beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking at pictures and trying to figure out how you're "ugly." Not seeing it.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am not a regular reader. I just happened upon this entry by chance. I'm glad I did, because it made me re-think about how I am going to approach the rest of my day. This aside, I have glanced at a few photos and read a little about you.

EarthChild, you are gorgeous and one-of-a-kind! You radiate beauty inside and out; both physically and spiritually as well as in the way that you experience and perceive life. You will always be beautiful. I stress this with sincerity and intensity, because it is the truth, and I think you should be aware of the truth. Celebrate it as the truth! Select your nail polishes enthusiastically! Flood your shopping basket with flower-shaped hairclips and wear them with pride! Clutch your Glamour Magazine tightly. Wave that freakin' magazine in the air as if it was your own personal flag. And, don't whatever you do be afraid to whack anyone that calls you ugly over the head with it! Be you and be happy. Accept your beauty.

Some of the crazy people on this crazy planet will say and do the most shocking and absurd things to belittle you. For whatever reason some people enjoy making other people feel lesser. They like to make others feel ugly and worthless. Some even enjoy seeing others in pain. Some people live to abuse. They do this, because that is what they do. If you were beauty incarnate, they would tell you that you are hideous. They are deceptive and mean-spirited people. It is unlikely they will ever know beauty physically or spiritually and are in no place to judge. It is unlikely that they will ever rise to their full potential as human beings, because what they do is so totally contrary to what we human beings are supposed to do. We as human beings are here solely to give love and receive love. We are supposed to view ourselves and others with love. We are not here to critique. We are here to live, create, evolve, and appreciate, because life is too short to spend time doing anything else.

Audrey Hepburn, (who is a beautiful woman in my opinion), said this about herself, "I have often thought of myself as quite ugly. In fact, I used to have quite a complex about it. To be frank, I’ve often been depressed and deeply disappointed in myself. You can even say that I hated myself at certain periods. I was too fat, or maybe too tall, or just plain too ugly. I couldn’t seem to handle any of my problems or cope with people I met. If you want to get psychological, you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority. I couldn’t conquer these feelings by acting indecisive. I found the only way to get the better of them was by adopting a forceful, concentrated drive." How could someone so beautiful and irreplaceable-- spiritually and physically ever see herself as ugly or inferior? What experiences made her feel that way? Did they in a way make her even more beautiful? What if to sometimes feel ugly is the trait of the very beautiful?

When people say mean things to others, it hurts. Some people say, "don't let it hurt you" or "don't let it upset you". But, truthfully that's nearly impossible for most people that possess a capacity to feel. So, it's ok to to get hurt, to feel less, to feel ugly, because all experiences and feelings have lessons. Some experiences can leave pretty bad scars, but with those scars come a kind of strength, empathy, and a sense of humor that in a way is a gift. Only, it's important that those painful experiences leave scars-- not a wound that never heals. There's no point in tallying up every mean thing that is said or done to us, unless for the sake of humor or a good story, because none of it is real. It's fleeting. One minute someone calls you ugly, wait another minute and someone is raving about how beautiful you are. None of it should be used to measure your worth as the beautiful and valuable person you are.

CeeCee said...

I have a different view on this. There is a girl that I know who is physically unattractive, more-so than most. Yes it is mean, but the way her face was put together is not flattering to most people. She became a good friend and I did not see that "uglyness" anymore. In my eyes she was a lovely women. Then she tried to steal my love interest and told lies to and about me. At that point she became the ugliest women I knew.

The people who know and love you say you are lovely because to them you are. They are not trying to make you feel bad, their eyes see you as lovely. "Beauty is as beauty does." Sadly most people who would throw out that insult are not lucky enough to get to know how lovely you are. And they become unattractive by their words, heart, and the beating you give them when feeling violent:-)

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew where my "I don't give a fuck" comes from. I really want to spread it around.
My mother is an incredibly shallow, superficial woman, When I was little , she would dress me up like I was a doll.Appearances were EVERYTHING. As I got older and wouldn't let her dress me, she didn't like me anymore. I'm not kidding. I became very rebellious and very much an individual.I even gained a ton of weight, I think accidentally on purpose. She told me daily how ugly and "nasty" I looked. I have NO idea how this didn't scar me for life. It seems like it should have.I somehow realized she was the one who was ugly & nasty. I've tried and tried to figure this out it happened that I didn't internalize all of that. I feel like if I could figure it out, it would help a lot of girls -including my own daughters, who acknowledge that they have never been told they're ugly , yet's there.They feel all those insecurities about their looks and feel ugly. It breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

People are monsters

AMP said...

WTF!?!?! I'm sorry people are so mean.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Thank you for all of the sweet and kind comments. I'm so sorry I slacked and didn't respond to them all. I'm an ass.

People definitely try to tear others down when they feel insecure. I know, I've done it myself in the past. It's hard to understand that they are coming from such a painful place, to try forgiveness, and to move on. Words can hurt and when you hear a lot of the same words over and over again, they can pick away at your self esteem.

Love to you all!

Taija V said...

I am your twin in your life experiences.
34, suffered from genetic acne since I was 17. It only stops when my heart stops Iwas told by a derm .

Leaving scars, I was sensitive about my face and went and did the stupidest thing if my life- laser treatments. Long story short I wasn't told about side effects.

Permanent scarring from laser covering every inch of my face. I have skin that looks worse than my 67 year old mother.

If interested google laser damage.. I now miss my skin as it was before , acne scars and all. I'm prisoner of my own face , I too feel embarrased to be seen with beautiful products. I am embarrassed looking at mirror when normal looking women are there so I don't.

I have hard time even looking in to mirror at home and it stops my heart every time seeing my burned microwaved face. Five years now I have lived in hell.

My acne did things to my psyche before laser damage of course, I had very nasty and Angry from of cystic acne and nothing worked, dermatologists were useless.

I was called a witch. I was berated in full pub by one man for being ugly and disgusting and entire pub were just silent. No one stepoed in to help. He berated me good two minutes.

I have had strangers walk past me and check if I am aware of how my skin looks.

People give endless and useless and patronisibg advice on drinking water , taking vitamins. Because their one zit a month has now reduced to no zits.

Oh gee, ive had this since I was 17, ive spents tens of thousands on meds, derm appointments and scoured Internet but gee thanks, I should just drink water.. didn't try that..

Acne is awful and I still have it but scarring is worst thing to happen to your face.

Im bitter as hell for losing my best years to my awful skin and now I'm suffering hundred times more after my worst nightmare became through and my face was scarred beyond anything by a doctor who lied to me about safety.

Im cursed and im bitter and all I want is my face back. Screw god ill happily sell my soul to Satan to get my face back.

I'm heartbroken there are people like us in this world.

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