This week's chapter for Inner Excavations has been "I see me..." and deals with how we see ourselves verses how other people see us, as well as the whole 'body issues' thing.
In a previous post, I showed the photo I used (of myself) as a basis for this painting, and it was fun for me to see what people's reactions were. I've done this before in one of the Facebook groups I'm in too. It's also happened to me at my job, where I talk to people extensively on the phone without meeting them...then when I finally do meet them, it's interesting to gauge the reactions. I tend to get a lot of "That's not what I thought you'd look like...at all...". I get that one a lot when meeting the phone conversation type people from my work. I honestly think that one's due to the fact that I have a phone voice that is what I like to call "high school cheerleader voice"...which does not really match my physical appearance so much. It makes first meetings a little bit of a let down for the other person, if said person is interested in the ladies... On the positive side, I could easily get a position as a phone sex operator if times got tough.
I also get a lot of "cute" and "adorable" comments. Which I'm totally good with...I mean, I AM cute and adorable! :) But it's taken me a really long time to come to terms with that. One of the ladies I work with likes to tell me "Not every man likes a skinny girl...it takes all kinds." Which, is true, although I think it comes with a little bit of pity/this-is-the-nice-thing-to-say attached when she says it. There are totally guys out there who think thin girls are grody and thick girls are made for cuddling. I'm married, so their opinions are pretty much meaningless for me either way. But they ARE out there my single thick girls...way more than I realized when I was a single lady...so don't lose hope!
Three years ago, when I first stared at the job I'm at now, before anybody really knew me/knew I was married, I had three separate incidences of guys being interested in me as a...'lady friend'...bow-chicka-bow-wow. It was the craziest thing that ever happened to me. I think mostly because I am oblivious to flirting. You basically have to honk a boob or try to suck on my tonsils before I realize you're being anything more than friendly. So I never really think people are flirting, I just think they're being nice. But these were pretty direct advances that even oblivious ole me could pick up on...
I was telling my sister about my experiences right after they happened (because they kept getting progressively more...forward...and if there had been one more, he would have had to just pull out his wiener and slap me in the forehead with it for it to be any more "forward" than it was) and I remember that the thing I was most surprised about was that 'these guys don't even know me'.
As I told my sister, I am, and have always been (except for the year and a half of being a skinny girl when I was 19/20 years old), the kind of girl that is friend first, building into more. ALWAYS. I mean, I'm not a hideous beast monster or anything, but I'm no prize pig either...and I tend to win dudes over with my personality. (My personality is really sexy! haha) I don't just catch somebody's eye when I walk past them! I'm not that girl! But here were three different instances in close succession which told me otherwise! And I was kind of freaked out by it! They were messing with my reality!
This was part of my sister's response, directly quoted out of the email she sent me when all this happened (I keep the really important ones! My sister is a wealth of knowledge/info/hilariousness!): "Obviously, you are not as physically ogre-like as you tell yourself because people do find you attractive even without [knowing of] your cunning, wit, and charm...not to mention your crafty skills..."
This was a big turning point for me, I think, regarding how I viewed myself. Before this, I basically knew that people could 'get past' my physical appearance because (as previously mentioned) I have a good personality...but here was three separate evidences in short order that some people actually enjoyed my physical appearance! That was an entirely new concept for me! I basically learned that maybe that guy isn't looking at me because I have something stuck in my teeth...or a low hanging booger...or whatever. Maybe that guy is looking at me because he thinks I'm hot stuff! It was a radical concept for me...
I guess, more than thinking about how I see me vs. how others see me, I have been thinking about how I see me now compared to how I used to see me...because I didn't really have an accurate idea of what others thought of me at all. I used to think of myself as plain...boring...annoying to others... an acquired taste...a total weirdo that was 'off-putting' to most people. As I've gotten older (and possibly wiser), I've come to see that I was looking at things in the wrong light. I'm not plain. I'm cute and adorable! In general, I'm DEFINITELY not boring... I'm not annoying or off-putting, people like to be around me...people choose to be around me. I might not be everybody's cup of tea, but for some, I'm their favorite flavor!
The reason I say that this is more about how I see me than how other people do, when all the above things have to do with how people view me, is that, while I'm changing and growing as a person, I haven't completely overhauled my personality. I've progressed, I've gotten rid of a lot of baggage, and I've matured, but for the most part, I'm still the same person. Outwardly, I haven't changed a whole heaping huge amount. But inwardly, the person I am now is vastly different. I could have felt confident in myself all along, but I didn't. I could have accepted (what I view as) my quirks and understood that those 'weird' ways are what make me interesting...but I didn't. I wasn't at that point yet.
I saw this quote a while ago that says "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." I think that in my case, it should read 'accepting who you are'. It's taken me thirty years, but I finally am learning that it's ok to be who exactly who I am. Sure I have faults and flaws that I want to work on, things I want to improve about myself, and ways I still need to grow as a person...I'm sure I will continue to grow and evolve till the day I die...I hope so anyway. But learning that, overall, at the heart of everything, who I am is just fine, that it's something to be proud of...that's been a real privilege for me.
And so here's the finished spread for Week Four of Inner Excavations:
|"I move forward. I look at the past with love. I will not look back with regret, because regret will only hold me back and I am determined to press on. I am a work in progress and I am moving forward all the time. Nothing can stop me. I am a constant work in progress..." The "I move forward" and the part on the left page are both stamps, the rest is just my (attempt at legible) handwriting. The "I move forward" letters didn't show up well (there are pretty designs in the letters in the actual stamps) so I went over and colored them in so that they would stand out. I like that they are so BOLD!|
|Thanks to Mo and Pamikins for the help with the journaling on this. They both hit the nail on the head with their suggestions, and I really like the message combined with the painting in this. It makes me super happy!|
|I did make a few changes to the face in this, including adding some shadow to the hair and changing the nose. Thank you to Bibi for the suggestion about the nose, I think it is much improved now, and thank you to Raine for pointing out the angles being different...it worked out much better with that new photo as a reference for the shading. Now I feel like I've got two new tools in my arsenal of face making skills for the future as well!!!|
I had written a lot of this post before the whole hospital stay happened, but just finished it up today. I am still pretty puny, but am feeling even better today than I did yesterday, so fingers crossed that I will continue in the upward direction! Thanks for all the well wishes and sweet words from yesterday's post. I promise I will get back to all the comments, it's just gonna take some time, but I don't want you to think I would forget! I am sending squishy love in all directions to meet each of you. <3