For many years, displeasure with my appearance circled me like so many moons. It hung in the air, oppressing me with every breath. I thought about my body, my face, my hideousness with such constancy that I can barely call it thinking. It was a way of being. A sad, doleful way of being.
The energy I expended on this – not on primping, or dieting, but simply on hating myself, was incalculable. What a waste.
I still have the same face, the same intractable eyebrows and expansive forehead. I’m still short enough that I don’t feel fully grown. But thank God and therapy I don’t let those things consume me.
Was it really about my face, my stature, my weight? I don’t think so. It was about projecting my self-hatred on others’ perception or me. It was about being so concerned with others’ gazes that I always half-hovered outside myself, looking at myself with disgust.
This week I was tempted to play the comparison game. I was in an unfamiliar environment and I wanted to be better than the people I encountered. The most obvious way to do that was by being prettier. And thinking about that made me realize I need a haircut, and my color is off from a winter of being sick, and my hairline is still too high and my lips are too pale, and those hips! And those eyebrows!
I was appalled at how shallow I was being. None of this matters in the world I want to live in. It really only matters in the silly economies of power that value women by how much a man wants to be with them.
It’s not about my eyebrows. I don’t need compliments or reassurance. That’s not why I write these posts, or why I come back to this theme and these thoughts I can’t quite escape. I write all this out because I know how badly I need to remember comparisons are odious, appearance doesn’t define worth, and I’m a daughter of God, praise the Lord.
God looks on me with love. There have been precious few times when I have treated myself with the gracious care God intends for me. I was created in perfect love. This is more radical, more frightening than “learning to love my flaws” or “realizing guys like all types of women” or whatever self-help trope is being sold today.
To see as God sees means to drop the veil of hatred and see with clearer eyes, loving others and loving myself.