Sunday, December 1, 2013

This time of year is hard for me...

Last night, Bill and I were sitting at our kitchen table, talking about my Cave Dwellers post.  I will admit it.  Part of the reason I get so upset about rude comments people leave on the internet is because they hit close to home.

My own family gave me a lot of shit about the way I look, which had a serious effect on my self image.  For years, I thought of myself as unattractive.  Then I met Bill, who is nicer to me than almost anyone ever has been.  For my last "thankful" post of November, I was grateful for an evolved husband who's not with me just because "he'd like to tap that".

One of my friends wrote, "Of course, this coming from a beautiful woman like you…"

That was a nice thing to read.  My response was that I feel prettier now at 41 than I did at 21.  Another friend insisted that she'd seen photos and that I was pretty at 21, too.  I said that I know now that I was pretty, but back in those days, I didn't feel that way.  My mom used to try to bribe me to lose weight and begged me to wear makeup or get my hair fixed or cut… or colored.  She started getting my hair colored when I was about 10 years old.  I hated it, but she wanted me to keep my golden blonde locks.  As I got older, she finally relented… though I colored my hair through high school and college and let it go natural when I was in the Peace Corps.  I later started coloring it again, but in a shade much closer to what it would be naturally.  And now, it's going silver so it looks reddish blonde anyway.

I'm fatter than I was when I was 21, but at 41, I am more comfortable with who I am and I don't have to listen to criticisms about my appearance anymore.  And also, I don't know if it's because of the Internet and people have gotten bolder, or because I've managed to age somewhat slowly so far, but I get more compliments now than I did back then.  That makes me feel somewhat more confident.

Anyway, I was sitting at the table with Bill last night talking about this and I ended up talking about how I feel about my family.  I told him that I don't know what I'd do without him.  I don't think I'd enjoy being a career woman, even if I had to be one for survival's sake.  Bill is pretty much the only guy I ever had much of a serious relationship with and we get along extremely well.  I think it would be hard to find someone else like him, though I'm sure there are more good guys like him.

I eventually ended up in tears and confessed that there have been many times when I wanted to cease to exist.  I don't feel that way now, but when I was younger I did.  I have this great family full of attractive, intelligent, talented people, but I don't feel like I belong.  They post their family photos on Facebook and I realize that they are my relatives, but I don't feel connected with them anymore.  On the other hand, if I were to go to the big party, I'd probably enjoy it… as long as I didn't stay too long.

I've come to realize that I come from a very image conscious family.  They all look the part and they're mostly good people.  But there's a lot of pressure to look the right way and fit in.  I don't feel like I fit in, so that makes me less connected with them.  And being less connected makes me feel like I'm more alone.

The holiday season always reminds me of that stuff… which makes me feel somewhat depressed.  This year, I wasn't really wanting to decorate for Christmas.  Now that we've done it, I'm glad.  But I wasn't excited to do it.  Holidays are for family and I don't feel like I really have much of one anymore.

Tim Minchin gets it.


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