If you saw me walking down the street you wouldn’t think that I am a vain person. You’d probably actually suggest that I put a little more effort into my appearance. I go out in public without makeup, I frequently get comments on my messy hair, and my friends once staged a borderline intervention to rid me of a ratty purse I continued to carry around because it simply didn’t bother me.
Fundamentally, I am a person who doesn’t value appearances, or judge others based on how they look. At least I assumed that. When people ask me if I noticed someone’s weight gain, comment that another person isn’t dressing for their age, or snicker that they can’t believe so-and-so doesn’t dye her hair to cover up the grey, I am generally confused and uncomfortable — because those sorts of thoughts don’t usually cross my mind.
But I realized the other day that as much as I claim to not care about appearances, I am actually fiercely critical of the way I look, and embarrassed to say that I secretly obsesses about it all the time. I don’t think people understand the draining, self-scathing commentary that runs through my mind 24/7. Because I am so down-to-earth people probably assume that I am comfortable with the way I look. If I wasn’t, I could easily take the time to put on some extra make-up, commit to a diet, or wear nicer clothes. Yet I refuse to do these things, and just resign to the horrible insecurity that results. Even at home (when alone) I’m usually checking out my reflection in the mirror: analyzing what my hair looks like, questioning if I can spot a few more wrinkles creeping up under my eyes, checking out the way my butt looks n my jeans. It’s ridiculous! And I don’t get it. I should either do something about it or stop caring.
I honestly didn’t occur to me until recently that I am a walking contradiction. I am constantly at odds with hating everything about the way I look, while simultaneously telling myself that I just don’t (or shouldn’t?) care about those sorts of things. When I see one of those women that always look flawless, I am jealous of how they are always *so* unbelievably put together, and am inspired to try a bit harder. But at the same time when I see that person wearing flaming pink sweat pants in a fancy restaurant and just not giving a **** about it, I am equally as impressed and wonder how liberating that must feel.
It’s causing me to question what kind of person I really am, on the inside, and the kind of person I want to be. I’m hoping that it’s just that my vanity itself is superficial – and that I’m not actually a shallow person. I am hard on myself in general so this is probably just yet another expression of that? I’ll have to try and sort it out…