Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Disconnect

Earlier, a LiveJournal friend of mine posted a positively gorgeous photo of herself, a sample from a professional photo shoot she'd had done recently. Honestly, I was taken aback by how lovely she looked -- very refined features, wonderful skin, and the most gorgeous long violet hair.

Up until that point, I'm not sure I'd seen a picture of this particular person that really allowed me a clear look at her. Once I had, I immediately began to wonder why she doesn't post pictures all the time. She is stunning. Her looks are very close to the type of looks I've always wished I had. "If I looked like her, the entire Internet would be so fucking sick of my selfie spam by now," I thought.

Then I actually read the words she wrote. Among other things, she mentioned having a disconnect between the way she sees herself and the fact that she likes the way she looks in the picture. She mentioned having gained weight and being able to see it in her face and a couple of other things. I really didn't see any of that myself. I just saw a stunningly beautiful girl that is very blessed with what I consider to be an incredible dose of beauty. To me, she looked absolutely flawless.

I can relate though. More than I probably really care to admit. Truth be told, I don't usually think of myself as a beautiful woman. I'm well aware that others consider me to be not just pretty, but exceptionally attractive. I'm also aware that many people feel the same way about my looks that I felt about my friend's. However, I do not see that in myself.

At best, I feel like I'm good at hair and make-up. I view myself as someone that cleans up well. I see my beauty as something fake that I can manufacture for myself when I feel like it. It is a cheap, artificial substitute for the natural beauty I don't actually feel I possess. I don't take more pictures or spend more time and energy on my looks because I don't really like having to focus on my looks and on all I feel is wrong with them. I'd rather focus on what I see as my real assets -- my creativity and my wonderful, curious mind. The same things many women that see themselves as "unpretty" cling to because it's a hell of a lot better than being nothing.

But then I'll actually bother to put myself together and take a couple of photos because my social media avatars are getting old. And for two seconds I'll actually see a picture of a beautiful woman and I'll have a fleeting understanding of why other people say the things they do about my looks. And then it's gone again as quickly as it came.