I've sort of been mulling this post around for a long time, but its still not so firm. If it sucks as a I try to think it to words, I'm sorry, but it seems to be time. (Obligatory disclaimer...this post is not about Mr. Eyes, though he is present in some of it.)
About a week ago, I stumbled out into the laundry room with my pajamas (no, not sexy pajamas, more like your mother's pajamas gone yoga) as it was later than I usually let other humans see me. My mass of hair was down and I had a wool hat on. My mass of hair is never down. I like it, but well, there's too much of it for me to do anything other than get it out of my way when its down. So as I stumbled out, I ran into the guy that lives across the hall (old and harmless as far as I know) and Mr. Eyes. Old Neighbor does about 7 double takes before he says, "I've never you seen you with your hair down...."
"Like the big messy pile of blond
of that it is?" I ask.
"No....like Marylin Monroe," he responds with all sincerity.
Marylin Monroe? Did I hear that correctly?? I would've been more able to beleive...uh...Marilyn Manson....Marylin, my first love's
evil mother, though she has short dark hair. Anybody. I would've believed ANYONE more than that. It was one of those awkward moments that makes me feel like a stupid teenager again, when any compliment leaves me dumbfounded and self-deprecating. Even now, I feel the burning urge to make you understand that I, IN NO WAY, look like Marylin Monroe.
Later on, I tried to accept it for what it was. Wow, for a moment, some weirdo thought I looked like Marylin Monroe. There's a first.
And probably a last.
The comment and my gut response to it has left my continually uncomfortable. And guess what? That uncomfort
? MAKES ME EVEN MORE UNCOMFORTABLE. Man, life is really a bitch.
And, to make things even more weird, its not like its the only over the top protestation of my looks lately. N did it. Mr. Eyes does it. Even my yarn store friend does it. Using that dreaded "B" word.
Listen, I am not
the "B" word. (Well, I am A
"B" word, but that
word we use freely on this blog.) I've spent the good part of 30 years making myself understand that I'm not a ghoul, that I am in fact, like Burt's drawings in Mary Poppins, better than a finger in your eye. It's a big step. But that it where it ends. We shall not venture in the the areas known as "B". I am comfortable being better than a finger in your eye. It makes me feel like my self-image is realistic and manageable. I don't want to be "B", I don't want to be chasing "B", I don't even want to consider "B" because it instantly makes me feel like I'm allowing objectification, of myself, of all women. It makes me queasy. It makes me remember the days, very clearly, when I felt horribly ugly, or at best, completely invisible to other people. I don't want to think about how I look, I don't want it to be of any concern.
But then I have to wonder, do I try to make my looks unimportant because I've spent most of my life feeling very sub-par in the "B" department? Am I just masquerading my self-
-concept as a virtuous lack of vanity?
I mean, let's be honest, YOU KNOW I get off on it. I KNOW I get off on it. People get off on being told they are the "B" word, just like the Pillsbury doughboy
gets off on tubes of refrigerated dough....and that's some hard getting off. Even when you try not to, even when you don't want to, it still makes you smile.
I still look the basically the same as when I felt that I was worse than a finger in the eye. But when some people look at me, they see or say "B". And I'm stumped.
In an unrelated conversation, Mr. Eyes used the phrase, "I'll be your mirror." And all I could think was "Wow, wouldn't it be weird if my mirror was always telling me that I was beautiful."
My mirror certainly doesn't say that now. It's been trained. It says "Eh, you're better than a finger in the eye. Except for Wednesday when that festering cesspool
you called a zit made you a whole lot worse than a finger in the eye."
But what if my mirror was trained to say the "B" word. I wonder who I would be then?
Would I be vain? Would I be self-assured? Would I be worried about getting old? Or would I still laugh in that mirror's face, knowing too well that the remnants of the ugly teenager lay inside? "B" will never stop making me queasy.
Labels: That crap called life