I sit here and ponder upon the thought of self-image being a product of one’s environment. This is what some sociologists would call the “looking glass self”, where one’s self image is based upon what one thinks others see in us. This theory would say that our self-image is but a reflection of the responses we receive from others–our “looking glass”. For example, if one is consistently berated and criticized; they will often have a poor self-image–no matter how facts may speak to the contrary.
In a society where the marketing media portrays the young and super thin as the ultimate ideal in feminine beauty, this reinforces feelings of inadequecy in the many of us whofail this ideal. On a personal level, I have always felt fat and unattractive–a big Slavic frump. Hmmm, perhaps it comes from being the only blonde in an adoptive family, all dark in color. Having brothers tease me and call me “Bertha Butt”, developing early,and later in life having a partner always “tease” me about being fat (even though I was a size 8). Perhaps it was all of this that instilled within my mind the one-dimensional self-image that I was, indeed, a large and unappealing glump. And who cares? you may ask, and seriously–there are bombs and wars, AIDS, starving people, natural disasters, despotic leaders worldwide and crimes at every level. Who gives a flying rats ass if I didn’t feel “Pretty?”
In truth it’s a little embarrassing to be so insecure and perhaps a bit shallow; I actually feel that the cultivation of soul-beauty is a more honorable feat; I think there are a lot of “beautiful” people but not very many people who display true beauty. I believe that true beauty flows from the fount on a beautiful soul, and is most literally the “salt of the Earth”. But on the other hand, I know what its like to always fall back into shadows and darkness because you feel you don’t matter much, anyway. I know how bad it hurts to have a phone that never rings. I know the shame that burns on your cheeks like a scarlett flood every time, every time that you are the last person chosen.
One of my favorite songs by Elliott Smith(d) is titled, “Pretty (Ugly Before)”. In it, he says….”I feel so pretty….I was so ugly before”. What could have changed his self opinion on such a profound level? It is said that beauty is skin deep but ugly goes to the bone. Something had to have happened to have–even if briefly–helped to see himself in a new light.
It has been posited that only 5% of the Earth’s people are physically beautiful. One day, about three years ago, I met such a person–one of the gods own children, a person of natural grace, beauty and charm whose presence would light every room they entered..
And this beautiful, beautiful person….
Fell in love
Me, Bertha Butt.
Me, the Big Slavic Glump.
In that moment, in that Light, all of the pain, all of the conditioning, all of the years of feeling worthless slid off me like scales from the eyes of Paul.
This beautiful, incredible, unforgettable person
Thought that I
Was a beautiful, incredible, unforgettable person too.
And in that moment….
The old mirrors were gone–the ones that lied, distorted and saw only in one skewed dimension. A new mirror was held up, and it was held up in love, for….
And love makes everything beautiful.
“I don’t remember frumpy, but I remember you”.–from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
“You thought that I could do better than you? Oh NobleLee; there is nothing better than you”. –Forney to NobleLee in “Where the Heart is”.
“You would weather well….in a climate of love” –Mark Heard, “Look Over Your Shoulder”.