"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.