01/07/2009 Self Esteem & Body Image

January 7, 2009

I was walking the dog last night, thinking of extensions of the conversations I had with the women mentioned in the previous posts.   The self-esteem issues.   Body image stuff.   Ugh.   Boy have we been sold a bill of goods on what we SHOULD look like.  

I would LOVE to look like Audrey Hepburn–at any age.   Instead, I look like an older, fatter (brunette) Renee Zellweger.   No matter what I do I’ll never look like Audrey Hepburn.    My face is composed of circles:  a circle for the nose.  Two big cheek circles, a circle for the chin.  There are no angles here.  Even as a skinny teenager there were no angles in my face.   It’s great for aging.  Those puffy cheeks take years off my real age.  Hepburn was all angles.   

And unlike Renee, I don’t have the time or money for draeconian trainers to work me over for hours a day, and there’s no one preparing just the right foods to keep me satisfied while I lose weight.  Generally I forget to eat til I’m ravenous, and then grab the fastest thing around, which usually isn’t the best “diet” choice.

So where is it written that any of us–men and women who have jobs, multiple commitments, more to do than we can complete and less help than we need in any area of our life, SHOULD look like those whose careers ARE their bodies.    (I bet you didn’t know that in the astrology of India (Jyotisha), the planetary pattern that always used to mean prostitute is almost always present in the chart of actors.   The pattern means They Sell Their Bodies.   It’s their job to look seductive!)

I’ve lost some weight.  I could lose more.   But my face is still pudgy, my neck (Aargh!  –you’ve gotta read Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck!!  http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews2/0307264556.asp .   It’s priceless:  Laugh Outloud Funny).    When I’m pressured and draw my shoulders up, my head sinks down like a turtle and my neck turns into a chin-making factory.  I’ve counted six or seven at my most stressed.    So I try to relax and drop my shoulders.   But you know what?   This is me.  This is how I look.   I SHOULD look like I look.   If I had no stress I might look better, but given life, stress, schedules, etc, the only should is that I look like a human being.   I do.  Pretty much.  Most of the time.  (well, there was that one morning at a conference when my hair was doing its best imitation of an abyssinian guinea pig.)Abyssian Guinea Pig

There are some places where the pressure to look like someone else is a lot bigger than in other places.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the worst is Southern California.   I lived there for 22 years.   It’s impossible to feel like you look good there.   I don’t care how thin you are, how impeccable your hairdo and makeup and clothes, how many people look at you and feel even worse about yourself because you’re so gorgeous, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll feel bad about how you look.   

Now I live in Austin, Texas.   There are standards here, too.   But they are less rigid.  Definitely not “cookie-cutter” standards.  Not Barbie-doll standards.   There’s more of an emphasis on individuality, on character.  I don’t see as many boob-jobs here, either.

If you take a look at the advertising industry, it’s almost all based on making you feel inadequate–until you buy whatever they’re selling.   I dare you to watch a half-hour of commercial TV without seeing some message that tempts you to think you’ve got a problem that can only be solved by spending money.  

Enough already!   You Should Look like you look.   You Should Have what you have.   Eat what is necessary, enjoy what’s already around you.   You can wish to look like someone else.    You can wish to be a different person.   It won’t happen.   Get used to it—get used to You.    (hey–I can help–contact me for an astrology reading!)

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