Tag Archives: self-esteem

You Want a Social Life, With Friends. (And an apology.)

29 Nov

Hi. Hello. I am here, and I am going to write something.

Before I do, I thought it right for me to apologize for an issue that has been needling me for quite some time now. No, I’m not going to apologize for my six month absence. I might kind of try to explain it though, so hold your horses.

My apology has to do with some things that I’ve written in past posts about fat bodies. In one post, about that terrible wedding I was in, I implied that the kind of awful bride was unattractive because she is fat. I later went on to snidely describe her second husband as “probably weighing 600 lbs”., which again, was my attempt at negating the fact that she found love and marriage for a second time. “Yeah, another person wanted to marry her, but just look at him.” I was saying that without saying it. Probably because I was/am a coward.

In another post, the name and content of which I can’t recall and am both too jittery and lazy to search for, I claimed that proof of my self-love was the fact that I don’t weigh 300 lbs.

I am sorry for writing those things. They are examples of the hatred of fat bodies – including my own – that I’ve internalized from a variety  of sources. I am working at ridding myself of that hate. Tumblr has been a priceless resource in my learning that fat bodies have value, are deserving of love, are beautiful, and can tell us nothing about a person’s health, abilities, or self-esteem.

Surprisingly, no one called me out on the things that I wrote. But maybe someone read my hateful words and was hurt. I couldn’t let that possibility stand without acknowledging how sorry I am, how much I am trying and want to change, and that I am asking for forgiveness. Please forgive me.

I’m leaving those posts up as they are (considering I can’t even find one of them, ugh) and hope that my future pieces will demonstrate my growth and sensitivity since writing them.

Thank you for sticking around as I grow.


 

You Want a Social Life, With Friends

You want a social life, with friends.

A passionate love life and as well

To work hard every day. What’s true

Is of these three you may have two

And two can pay you dividends

But never may have three.

 

There isn’t time enough, my friends-

Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends-

To find the time to have love, work, and friends.

Michelangelo had feeling

For Vittoria and the Ceiling

But did he go to parties at day’s end?

Homer nightly went to banquets

Wrote all day but had no lockets

Bright with pictures of his Girl.

 

I know one who loves and parties

And has done so since his thirties

But writes hardly anything at all.

-by Kenneth Koch

 

I never thought I’d be the type of person to have a favorite poem. I just didn’t think poetry was for me, wasn’t sure that I liked it all that much, the work of Langston Hughes and Shel Silverstein being notable exceptions. And then a few years ago I read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s 2005 memoir Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life.

In it she mentions that Kenneth Koch’s You Want a Social life, With Friends is her favorite poem and told a funny story about meeting its author. I read it over and over again, and the next time I was at work, I made a too-dark photocopy and hung it on my fridge.

You Want a Social Life, With Friends resonated with me. I was someone who was chronically lonely, felt confused and like a failure when it came to her career. I was absolutely convinced that “everybody else” had managed to master having fulfilling work, romantic love, and meaningful friendships. I did take solace in Koch’s assertion that “What’s true is of these three you may have two and two can pay you dividends but never may have three.” So, all I had to do – like the Disney villain I am deep in my cold, dark heart – was sit back and wait for my friends and acquaintances to suffer some loss, of a lover, of a job, of friends, because no one can have it all; look, I have proof!

I didn’t really want anyone I knew and liked to lose anything. But I desperately wanted all three for myself, and the poem was a reminder that life is full of sacrifice and compromise and comes without guarantee. Of anything. I remember feeling a chill of foreboding each time I read it after first finding it. I’d find some way to have all three, dammit! I’d beat the odds!

Now, here I am, 35 years old, feeling as lonely as ever; feeling as unfulfilled at work as I hoped to never be.

Part of me believes that there is still hope. That if I can maybe put myself on a writing schedule, something will come of my questionable talent. My current job may even allow me to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in professional writing for cheap or free. The work piece could potentially, someday come together. Maybe.

As far as love and friends? My hope meter is running on empty. Over the summer I did things that made me think “This. This is the moment when the pendulum swung to the other side with such force that I don’t think I’ll be able to move it back.” I let people borrow money, I stopped wearing contacts, and I went on a solo vacation. These events signaled to me that I was barreling towards spinsterhood at a frightening speed.

The money thing was a mistake. I should have known better. I’ve watched enough “Judge Judy” to know that owed money will destroy relationships despite one’s best efforts. Not only have I stopped asking for the money, I’ve stopped communicating with the people who benefited from my foolishness. I don’t think that they’ve noticed. And to be fair, I was – I am – seething under the surface, trying to hide my resentment, my disappointment, how used I feel. I didn’t tell them about my feelings. I didn’t hound them for the cash.

“It’s not fair,” I thought. “They have families and lovers and close friendships and now my money.” I was in communication with them until September, when the people in question suddenly stopped their correspondence. I hoped that I’d hear from them on or around my birthday; they owed me at least that much. I heard nothing. The idea of initiating contact with them makes my heart pound, my gut churn, my hands tremble. The realization that I lent the money with so many invisible strings attached makes me feel ashamed.

How is this a sign of my spinsterhood? I’m like the rich old aunt that never married, who eats store-brand canned soup and has to make it home in time to watch “Jeopardy!”. No one comes around until holiday time, because they know Auntie gives the best gifts, the poor sucker. “I mean, she’s got nobody, hardly any expenses. What does she need all that money for anyway? I’ll send her a card.” The card never comes. I open another can of chicken and rice and set up the TV tray in the living room. Alex Trebek always was a handsome man.

So that’s two friends I’ll never hear from again, or am doomed to have awkward, sporadic contact with when they feel like paying Auntie a pity visit.

The contacts thing and the vacation thing happened simultaneously. I planned a last minute, somewhat haphazardly planned vacation to St. Lucia. I’d never been out of the country alone before and I knew that if I waited until someone could go with me, I’d never travel. I spent five lonely days at a luxury spa. The island was beautiful, the weather lovely, the people damn nice. My tour guide hit on me; it was really uncomfortable, especially considering he did it after telling me that Tyler Perry movies send necessary messages of ‘warning’ to those wacky black women that want to be independent and self-sufficient and in charge.

I met two nice English ladies old enough to be my mother, one also named Ambrosia. We chatted a bit and shared one night of cocktails and a meal together, then spent the rest of the time awkwardly waving to each other across the resort. I was seated at the communal table for other solo travelers on some other night and had an Asian-fusion four course meal with a lady elementary school principal from Canada. It was both better and worse than it sounds.

There was a young, fat, attractive American girl I hoped to befriend. She was alone, was wearing a fatkini, kept her nose in a book. The fact that she made bold fashion choices and liked to read had me sold. She never noticed my smiles, which in all the sunlight and happiness surrounding me may have made it look like I had a bad case of indigestion. I was too chicken to go over and say hello.

On my second day there, I realized that I’d left my contact lens case somewhere in America. I’d recently purchased new, large, bold frames, but have always felt ugly in glasses. I can’t see without either contacts or glasses, so I had no choice. I had to feel ugly for four days in paradise.

I never bothered to renew my lens prescription. I’ve been wearing my trendy glasses full-time since August. On one had, with my nose ring and natural hair, I’m at times convinced that I look okay. Like maybe I know people that live in Brooklyn or smoke weed out of decorative glass pipes or am vegan.

But then other times I’ll catch my reflection in some shiny surface when I’m off guard or try to take a selfie and the person I see looking back at me is a sexless nerd, who read in her hotel room in a foreign, tropical country; who got suckered into lending substantial amounts of money in the hopes that somebody would love her best; who sat and watched other people dance on the last night of her vacation, wearing her ill-fitting glasses while a stray cat took pity on her and kept her company.

I don’t really like that person so much.

She reeks of desperation. Her bug-eyed stare screams “I want a social life, with friends! A passionate love life, and to work hard every day!” I wonder which one of us screams the loudest.

Triage.

12 Aug

My needs have not been met.

I feel like a jerk for dwelling so much on the fact that a big part of the life that I dreamed about may not come true, which is weird, since I haven’t even had two weeks to process it. I suppose I feel this way because I’ve been under the impression that I’m to just suck it up and move on when it comes to the little tragedies and heartaches I’ve faced.

It has started to dawn on me that I’ve been trying to function for years and basically failing and beating myself up about it. I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t simply be normal and thin and do laundry and put on makeup and make my bed and pack a lunch and be on time and take showers and not scream at my parents and stop fantasizing about killing myself until I finally realized that I’ve been wandering around throughout life for the last decade plus three years with a gaping, festering wound that hasn’t been properly dealt with while adding other wounds around it that don’t fully heal and it truly is a wonder that I’m anywhere at all.

I’ve tried to make people understand the screaming void I feel inside, going without any sort of physical intimacy or love for more than a decade. And it isn’t just about the lack of sex. I see single people who’ve gone without sex for a very long time but have children, and perhaps I’m making a huge and incorrect assumption, but I don’t believe that they suffer in the same way because they can hold their child and kiss their child and feel that incomparable parent/child love and know that they are needed and wanted. I imagine that this is not the case for everyone, but it is still something that I do not and possibly will never have.

To never have been held out of romantic love, to go without feeling someone’s lips against mine, a hand in my own; to not feel the pleasure that another’s body can bring mine and to not know if my body can do the same, to continue to go on without these common human experiences year after year after year and to be expected to feel okay and to function normally? I’m starting to figure that that may have been an expectation too great for me to meet.

Perhaps it would be different if we were talking about three years instead of thirteen. Maybe if there had been a kind and gentle lover or two for me to look back on and fondly remember instead of one man-child whose pleasure was derived from the pain he caused me.

How do I make anyone understand what it does to my feelings of self-worth to admit that the only man to see my naked body mocked it? The only words he uttered were meant to criticize and deliver his displeasure? “Find your beauty from within!” everyone screams! “No one is going to love you if you don’t love yourself!” “There is more to life than sex and relationships! By the way, did I tell you all about the fabulous sex I’m having in my feminist, kink-positive, poly-amorous relationship?”

I would just like someone, for once in all this time, to acknowledge my wounds. I don’t want to be handed anymore band-aids or children’s Tylenol in the form of “Well, let’s redo your Match.com profile!” or “What you need to do is organize your closets.” I need wound care. I need stitches and sutures and cauterization. I need major treatment.

I don’t want to hear that no one knew what was going on; that they couldn’t have helped me because I didn’t say anything. The Ambrosia most people knew died 13 years ago and a zombie has been walking around in her place. I don’t know if there’s anything that can bring her back. She’s probably a long lost cause. But I’m here. Try with me.

When I was around, I don’t know, 22, 23 years old, and the wounds were far more fresh, before the gangrene had started to set in, I went to a counselor on my college campus. A black woman. She’d understand me. She’d see the blood, the tears in my flesh, how the wound wasn’t clotting even after two or three years. I don’t know how far how I got with my story. I was telling her about Christmas, about the gifts he’d demanded, and how I’d nervously driven all over the state to make sure I found each thing on the list, worried about what psychological trauma he’d inflict on me if I failed. I might have even told her about my visit to the emergency room in the middle of the night that he wouldn’t take me to. “If you’re gonna go, you’re going alone” he’d growled. She’d rolled her eyes and thrown her hands up in the air. “He was a 19 year-old boy” she interrupted. “That’s how 19 year-old boys are. I mean, really, what did you expect?” That I years later dated and was rejected by her son only added insult to injury.

Though I don’t want the focus to be all on him, I do want it to be understood how hard it is to feel normal and unbroken when the last relationship you’ve had and the only physical intimacy you’ve known is with someone who was so cruel to you, no matter their age. I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out that this has been the black cloud I’ve been under for so long. And every time someone said that boyfriends and sex were overrated and that I didn’t want one anyway and did I really want children and that I had to focus on loving myself and that I wasn’t trying hard enough to meet people and maybe it was because I went natural or put on weight or didn’t smile enough or lived in the wrong city, they dug their dirty finger deep into my wound when they should have wrapped their arms around me and said “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. You need to heal. You need to rest. ”

In the meantime, does it mean that while I heal, I must still go without physical, emotional, and sexual intimacy? Do I have to continue to starve? When you starve a thing it dies and I’m afraid that my ability to give and express love and intimacy is in fact dying.

In the meantime, while I heal, can I be brought back to life?

Retrospect.

8 Aug

I was struggling with what to write about tonight. I decided to take what was originally an answer to a question I received on Tumblr about what my first “real” relationship was like and repost an edited and expanded version of my answer below:

I’d had lots and lots of boyfriends before I met He Who Shall Not Be Named, but I “lost” my virginity to him. I was away at college and we lived in the same dorm, so that added an additional “grown up” element to the whole mess because no parents were around.

I was 19 when I started dating him and 20 when I lost my virginity. I’d grown up in a very religious household and really wanted to wait until I got married to have sex. He basically threatened and coerced me into having sex with him. There were elements that I realized years later that were kind of rapey. But once he “talked me into it” – by quoting Telly’s lines to me from the movie “Kids” which I realized with a sickening clarity while he laughed as he made me watch it after one of the first few times we had sex – I continued to sleep with him because I thought I loved him and wanted to keep him interested in me.

I was a MESS myself when we were dating: suffering from untreated depression, totally directionless in college, my dad was fighting cancer. I feel like he preyed on my weakness. He’d isolate me from my friends and family and tell me that they didn’t understand me; only he did. He told me things like “Love is an illusion” and other nonsense that basically meant “I am going to cheat on you often and generally treat you very badly.” Other girls would come to his dorm room, where I was practically living, day and night. He even tried, and failed, to set it up to have me and his ex-girlfriend fist fight over him in front of our dorm for the entire student body to witness. He did this by forging letters, arranging secret meetings. He thought he was in a Nazi spy drama.

He’d tell me that I was spoiled and “bougie” and that I needed to “learn my place”. He thought it was funny to hit and pinch and slap me to the point where I was crying from the pain. He hit me twice out of anger, once in the face. He threw me down the porch stairs in front of his house during an argument. When he bit a chunk of my flesh from the back of my hand to keep me quiet during a movie I was having a hard time following, I simply wiped away the blood and obeyed. He wanted me to do “wife” things like cook for him, clean for him, take care of him when he was sick. When I did them, he’d ridicule me and tell me I did it all wrong and that I was worthless. If I did something “right” he was surprised.

I’d pretty much shut out everyone from my life at his recommendation (translation: orders), but when I’d try to talk to him about how deeply depressed I was, he’d laugh and say I was crazy, that I was one of those nuts that wore aluminum foil helmets and heard voices.

Basically, he was cruel, he was a drunk, and he loved the way he was and did not love me. He showed me who he was right from the beginning and I chose to ignore it, thinking things with me would be “different”. I’d change him. He’d love me. We’d live happily ever after. We did not. I did not. He broke up with me over the phone; he’d simply tired of me just shy of a year. I’d served my purpose. He had no use for me anymore.

From what I gather, he’s doing just fine. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in 13 years. He was in the military, I think, and may now be a cop, maybe even for the NYPD. He has a child. If I remember correctly, these were things that he really, really wanted. He got what he wanted.

I wonder if he ever got what he deserved.

I’m full of shit.

7 Aug

The more polite, scholarly way to say that is there is a great disconnect between what I say I want and what I actually want.

I suppose I’ve always been that way. I desperately wanted siblings or for there to at least be children that lived in my neighborhood when I was growing up, but if that happened, then those other kids wouldn’t let me play “Orphanage-World War II Rescue-Glitzy Musical-Dramatic Death Scene-British Street Urchin-Let’s See if We Can Catch a Frog We’re Too Scared to Actually Touch”. So maybe it was better that I spent a lot of my time alone because I got to do whatever I wanted.

Now I’m an adult female type person that says she really, really wants to catch the eye of a man that is a suitable substitute for the rapper Drake. There is a part of me much larger than I’d like to admit that thinks I might actually have a chance at catching the actual Drake’s eye and whatever STI he may or may not be carrying when I attend his concert in October. I’ll be in the seventh row, I have a vagina, big boobs, a butt that is/looks big depending on the outfit I’m wearing, an okay face (if you like Bruno Mars), and Rihanna-ish hair. I seem to meet his general criteria.

But the thing is, if I’m to believe Black urban gossip blogs and Instagram and twitter and tumblr and the amount of times I’ve been pushed out of the way in nightclubs, I don’t actually want Drake or any guy who thinks he’s anything like him. If I’m to pay attention to the discomfort I feel when I watch twerk videos on YouTube or try on bodycon dresses or wear lots of make-up or try to take selfies or pretend I care about designer shoes and handbags, I don’t actually want Drake or any guy who thinks he’s anything like him.

I set an alarm to remind myself to watch the televised announcement of the 12th Doctor on BBC America. I’m upset that I still haven’t been able to get my library card since moving, but relieved that my voter registration was taken care of. My favorite article of clothing in the whole wide world is the cardigan; I was going to wear what I think is a sexy dress to the concert, but I was thinking that maybe I’d wear what I wore to work today because I felt cute and sexy in it: a cropped cardigan, baby-doll top, and skinny jeans. I walked out of a top designer outlet in disgust at the ridiculous prices. I have no business setting my sights on a rapper.

I feel like if I were a better, more exciting, more normal Black woman, I’d be sexy and fashionable and good at taking my own picture and then I’d have a sexy, fashionable boyfriend and have sex and be normal and wouldn’t have to have a blog or care so much about things and I’d finally lose weight and be beautiful again. The end. I feel like my life was very much headed in that direction many years ago. If I’d stayed on that path I’d maybe be a popular Instagram “model” and figure out how to take those pictures where you stand to the side to show off your plump ass and how flat your stomach is and pout your lips just so and get, like, 1,000 ‘likes’. But instead I got fat and depressed and didn’t have a choice but to work on my intellect, but I’m lazy and not good at math or science so I only got so far.

My problem is I still want what 19 year-old beautiful, thin, popular Ambrosia was entitled to in a man. I’m afraid of ending up with what 33 year-old uglyish, fat, lonely Ambrosia deserves, which is apparently nothing, or some tragic Al Roker/Wayne Brady hybrid. I want sex and excitement and danger and also thoughtfulness and stability and a face I think is so handsome and biceps that are strong and a belly that is smooth and cute and a booty and intelligence and so much laughing.

I’m just really terrified of settling for the first nice man that takes me on a date. It’s back to that whole childhood want again; I desperately want to be loved and desired, but if it’s by the wrong guy that would be so terrible. So I set my sights on an unobtainable celebrity and focus myopically only on meeting 6′ tall Black men of a certain complexion with facial features that have to be just so in order to avoid dealing with my overwhelming fear of either ending up alone or with some Nice Guy that I’m not attracted to, don’t love, but that there isn’t anything actually wrong with and TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

I know that this post was all over the place and perhaps poorly written and awfully hard to follow, but I needed to attempt to get these thoughts and feelings out. And now I have. So I am a little less full of shit than I was before.

Short and sweet.

6 Aug

My thoughts after watching 15 minutes of “T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle” for the first time:

T.I. and Tiny’s marriage gives me hope that someday, I too will find a handsome, charming, successful man that will love me for my. . .  personality?

 

I know, I know. I’m goin’ ta hell.

Lessons in fashion from this girl I hate.

9 Dec
This picture is perfect for this post because he is sniffing his armpits (maybe because they smell like oranges?!?) and is super fashionable. And also, I love him.

This picture is perfect for this post because he is sniffing his armpit (maybe because it smells like oranges?!?) and is super fashionable. And also, I love him. Source

I have done the unthinkable.

I have switched to a mail order, organic, antiperspirant-and-aluminum-free, natural deodorant. That shit burns like a motherfucker and makes my pits reek of oranges, but at least I’m not absorbing all the toxins of commercial deodorant! That’s right, I’m on my way to being toxin free! Please pass the Pepsi-soaked, bacon-wrapped Nacho Cheese Doritos.

In other random announcements, I want to thank the readers (and maybe the good Captain herself?) of Captain Awkward for stopping by, following, commenting, and just being generally awesome people. Thank you for the encouragement and laughs and advice and sudden spike in Internet traffic. I love you and am sending you Jedi Hugs.

And now, on with the rambling, semi-coherent, potentially offensive show!

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

I learn something new everyday. For instance, just yesterday I learned that it is possible to simultaneously and suddenly almost fall and vomit while simply walking to one’s car. And no, you don’t have to feel the least bit nauseous or unsteady on your feet! Surprises abound!

It is in the spirit of life-long learning that I must admit that one of the many sources I pull from when it comes to looking my version of good is from this girl I fucking hate.

I can’t go into why I hate her, unfortunately, because it is a pretty great story if I do say so myself, but let’s just establish that there’s this girl, whom I hate, that dresses pretty freaking rad the majority of the time. While I glare at her through squinted eyes and imagine her eventual and well-deserved downfall, I also secretly take notes on her various ensembles and attempt to recreate them in a way that works for my body, personal style, and station in life. God, I hate her so much!

Here are some of the things I’ve learned from watching this pretentious little snot that I try to incorporate into my wardrobe without being such a raging bitch about it:

  • Use Classics as Your Foundation
    I think that those of us who want to push the fashion and style envelope, even just a wee bit, may tend to shy away from classic pieces and silhouettes. We assume that they’re boring or that everyone will have them and the point of cultivating our individual look  is to stand out from the crowd! Well, let me tell you, this girl I hate has a great skeleton of classics that she then adds her own meat and muscle to, if you’ll allow me to indulge in the metaphor. For example, now that the weather has turned cold, she has chosen a simple, knee-length, black wool coat. No mandarin collar, no technicolor puffy-down parka for her. Simple lines, classic cut. She’s in style from winter to winter as she skulks about in that coat, thinking she’s better than everyone. But she’s not! She SUCKS! Anyway, I learned from her example. I came very close to buying a military-inspired winter coat, which, arguably, is a trend that comes around again almost every season, but I instead went with a knee-length wool blend with a classic collar and buttons. However, instead of just basic black, I chose a tasteful leopard print in a variety of neutral shades because I’m not lame like SOME people.
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Color and Pattern
    As a fat woman who is learning to embrace her body as it is, I am discovering how important it is not to stay in the comfortable embrace of head-to-toe solid black. I’m not an Italian widow in mourning; I’m young(ish) and full of life (sometimes)! I want my clothes to express those things. This girl I hate has never met a color or a pattern she didn’t like and isn’t afraid to mix. She isn’t afraid to loudly share her opinions either, no matter how asinine they are, but I digress. Though I’m throwing some of their hard and fast style rules out the window as I cultivate my own, I still have a deep love for Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear and fully embrace the notion as coined by them of “It doesn’t have to match; it has to go.” I haven’t yet delved into head-to-toe contrasting or complimentary color and/or pattern, but when I’m ready to take the plunge, this girl I hate has given me many examples of what can work. Recently, she wore a blue and white French (or breton)-striped thin boat-neck sweater, not-quite-Kelly green jeans, maroon dress socks, and Cognac-brown Oxfords. You’re probably raising an eyebrow or two in disbelief, but it worked! Just wish she had the wherewithal to work as hard on not being jerk.
  • Give a Small, Tasteful Nod to “Counterculture”
    I’m not a tattoo fan, but I wanted a nose ring for more than a decade. Last spring I took the plunge and got a little crystal stud that I’ll be changing to a hoop and back again in my nostril. This girl I hate also has a nose ring. If it floats your boat, I think it can be fun and important to incorporate body art and/or jewelery into your overall look. It may be just me, but I think that body art and/or jewelery can also send the message of where one stands on social issues, as this form of self-expression is typically associated with “the left”. I’m sure that’s why this girl I hate has a nose ring. And I’m sure she also thinks she’s a gay rights activist because she had a bisexual roommate once. Ugh.
  • Embrace Your Hair Texture and Experiment with Color and Hats
    After years of chemically straightening my hair, I went natural in 2010 and have never felt more free. People who’ve known me both relaxed and natural have said that embracing my curls suits me better than straight hair ever did. I think I just might believe them! This girl I hate has big, bouncy curls and waves that she used to diminish with the blow-dryer and flat iron, but she’s now embraced her hair’s natural texture. She’ll tell anyone who’ll listen about her “fabulous” hair and is a year-round hat wearer. Not to hide her hair, but as a kicky accessory to accentuate it. The smug expression on her dumb face can be seen peeking out from under floppy brims in the summer and all manner of berets the rest of the year. She also changes her hair color rather frequently, favoring semi-permanent darker shades that won’t be quite as rough on her tresses. Semi-permanent dye will fade and wash away rather quickly, which is perfect for a person who believes relationships to be as interchangeable and disposable as a Annie Hall-inspired hat and a bottle of Chestnut Majesty hair color.

So, there’s a taste of what I’ve learned about fashion from this girl I hate. I didn’t even touch on tortoiseshell frames, the men’s wear influences so prevalent in her wardrobe, or the importance of thrifting! Well, whatever. She’s an insipid twit and I hate her and does anybody know if they make that dress she’s wearing in a 16/18?

I’m asking for a friend.

On staying positive when everyone thinks you suck.

7 Sep

I dunno. I typed “online dating makes me want to die” in Google Images and this picture came up. Source

So, I got drunk and signed up for Match.com. Again.

I’ve only been on for a week and I’m already losing hope. I’ve read skimmed a number of self-help books on dating and they all said the same thing about online dating: RUN, BITCH, RUN!

No, all the books said that women will be inundated with emails and messages from potential suitors. However, if their inbox stays empty, it means that they are fat, or ugly, or fat and ugly (or possibly came across as boring, stupid, or crazy in their profile, but we all know that 99% of men aren’t actually reading a word in anyone’s profile). Guess what condition my inbox is in? If you guessed that my inbox is a lot like my other box, you guessed right. I’m pretty sure I just saw a tumbleweed fall out of my underwear. It’s probably on its way to meet up with its cousin from my email account at Match.com. They go there to hang out and laugh at me.

I’ve received exactly one email since joining. I’ve received four ‘winks’, which is a nonsensical method for indecisive weirdos to tell other weirdos that they’re “interested” without actually bothering to write something. Three of those winks were from men who looked to be about my father’s age, though they claimed to be younger. One of the men appeared to have some sort of tooth and gum disease. The fourth man was a lesbian.

Two men liked one of the nine pictures I posted to my profile. One of them didn’t post any pictures and hadn’t bothered to answer any of the questions, including the ones with preset responses, like height and body type. The other guy looked like a murderer. He also hadn’t answered any questions other than claiming to be 6’4 and 41 years old. He posted one shot of himself unsmiling in front of a wall of graffiti. He had on a jacket, tie, and blazer, a ball cap cocked to the side, humungous dark shades, baggy jeans and sneakers. The little I could see of his face was set in an ugly scowl and covered in mysterious scars. The next two pictures he posted were of him in the same outfit, wearing the same menacing expression, but this time dragging a similarly dressed toddler by the hand, seemingly against his will (his AND the toddler’s) down an abandoned street. How fun! An action shot!

I always write a quick but gracious note or send a polite ‘thanks, but no thanks!’ response generated by Match to all the serial killers in training that take the time to contact me. As my adult life has been utterly filled with rejection, I know that it certainly hurts, but that being ignored is far more infuriating. I mean really, how dare you? You can’t even bother to send an email that says “You’re too ugly for me to consider fucking, but good luck out there”? I’m so beneath your time and effort that even acknowledging that I found you and your profile interesting through a three-word email (“Thanks, but no.”) is too much of a strain for your delicate fingers? What, you’ve got women lined up around the block, stacked one on top of the other in your bedroom and you couldn’t get through the throng of admirers tearing off their bras to reach your laptop? Look, dickwad, we all spent a nonrefundable $100.00 because we aren’t getting laid in the real world. No one is checking for us. Unless you’re one of those utter assholes that is so busy and attractive and successful that you “don’t have time” to date and your only hope for screening meeting people is by letting a website do the work for you. If you are or think you are one of these gems of humanity, go fuck yourself, hard, often, and well.

I realize that I sound a tad angry. I am angry. And hurt. And embarrassed. And hopeless. And out one hundred bucks in this shit economy. I’m mostly so upset because those books never say what you’re supposed to do if you’re one of the fat, ugly, boring, stupid, crazy women that no one who wasn’t recently released from prison will write or respond to. They’ll spend a paragraph telling you to lose weight (REALLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I hadn’t thought of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for pointing that out!!!!!! ERMAHGERD, it’s a good thing you put your wealth of knowledge on paper!!!!! How would humanity have CONTINUED if you hadn’t pointed out the obvious???????????????), pay to have your picture taken (But my local Glamour Shots is closed!), or have a friend look over your profile and “correct” it for you. Ha. My friends are a bunch of liars who tell me that I’m pretty and not fat in a bad way and smart and funny and that any guy would be lucky to have me. Those con artists have been blowing smoke up my ass for years; there’s no way in hell I’m getting any honest feedback from them. Except for the one who told me to read The Hunger Games. She’s BRUTAL, which is why I don’t ask her anything.

I’m just sad, man! I don’t want to die alone, man! All the chubby chaser websites are scary, man! My immediate solution is to search only for dudes who describe themselves as “heavyset”, Match.com’s kind descriptor for “My tits are bigger than yours”. I kid you not, out of all the non-smoking, social drinking, want-to-have-kids-someday people with penises that live 30 miles away from my zip code, only 16 of them were honest enough to describe themselves as heavyset. I had to add “stocky” and “a few extra pounds” to really get the fatties to come out and play. Hell, I’m on there telling half-truths myself by describing my body as “curvy”. I only picked that because they haven’t yet added “If I sit just so, I can feel my gunt (not a typo) resting ever so gently on my upper thighs, but you’d never know that if you saw me clothed” as an option.

I’m not particularly attracted to or repulsed by fat men. It all depends. No two fats are alike. I have no type. I see what I think I might like and then wait to see what kind of crap comes out of his mouth and then like him more or less if his teeth are nice and his brain seems to function properly. But I figure I might have better luck with the boys who are pre-diabetic, although we as a society lived through 10 years of “The King of Queens” and every romantic comedy starring Kevin James ever which makes your average Tub-O-Lard think he too deserves and can pull a hottie with a tight body who’ll be willing to resuscitate his ass once a fortnight.

Go to hell. Source

Hey, but it’s only been a week. Ariel insisted on writing the first draft of my profile and wrote “I’m cheerful and focused on the bright side of things”. I gave her major side eye and changed it to “I try to stay cheerful and focused on the bright side of things”. I initially thought it was an absurd statement to use to describe me. Cheerful? Bright side? The fact that I haven’t called Match headquarters and demanded a refund (Hey, I’ve done it. Ask eharmony.) and that I’m focusing on guys that “look like” me is proof that I do try. I created this place, this blog, as my sounding board, mostly because the co-pays for weekly therapy sessions really add up, but also because I want to make people laugh, even if it is at my expense. Look at that. Evidence of dormant cheerfulness and bright sided tendencies. Whodda thunk?

I just really want to be loved. And not 20 or 50-lbs. from now. Not when I’ve “learned to love myself”. I’m not dead or 300-lbs. I love myself, okay? I will even settle for a strong like coupled with some trips to the movies and light spanking. I just need some validation that I’m sort of okay looking and interesting and a living, breathing red-blooded woman from a man that won’t kill me or ruin my credit.

I will also settle for everything in the picture of Zach Galifianakis from “The Hangover 2”, but don’t let that get around. I don’t want people thinking I’m easy. Or that they can pay me in watermelon. Because that’s super racist.

Jennifer’s body.

2 Sep

Things would be far simpler if this post was actually about “Jennifer’s Body”. Source

I’m going to need to ask David Sedaris and Sloane Crosley if they still have friends.

I’ve been getting a bit of backlash about le blog; specifically, certain people weren’t thrilled with their portrayal in past posts. I will make it up to them by baring my soul in today’s entry*. Like, really putting it out there. Talking about things I hope I rarely do, laying private things out on the line, inspiring Jennifer Lawrence’s people to file a restraining order against me.

Yes, I love Jennifer Lawrence. Much like Annie Cresta did to Finnick Odair, Jen crept up on me. I first saw her in the film “Winter’s Bone” for which she was nominated for an Oscar. Even though I fell asleep in the middle, I was pretty impressed by her portrayal of Ree Dolly, the main character. However, the book was way better, of course; she didn’t win the Oscar, and I quickly forgot all about her. Then came The Hunger Games.

For the last six years, I have been employed by either a bookstore, a library, or both. There isn’t a book trend that escapes my notice. So I was familiar with Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, but didn’t pay it much attention. It takes me a while to embrace certain pop culture trends, books being one area that I am particularly stubborn about.  I scoffed at the Harry Potter series for years before I finally gave in. I won’t touch anything Twilight related with a ten-foot pole, unless that pole is also on fire. The only thing Fifty Shades of Gray can do for me is provide me with more than fifty ways to wipe my ass with its pages. So when The Hunger Games became a thing, I responded by rolling my eyes and picking anything else to read.

Because I pride myself on being a pretentious blowhard, my assumption is that things that most people – especially your average, everyday people – like are probably terrible. People in general are stupid. Why would I want to read something that everybody thinks is great? I choose things to read based on recommendations from trusted friends; judging books by their covers; and searching out the books and authors that writers I respect enjoy. Oh, and whatever NPR tells me to read. That way, I can brag by saying “I first became aware of ____________ when I heard it mentioned on All Things Considered. Michele Norris says it’s a must read.” Man, am I one high sadity bitch or what?

Anyway, one of those trusted friends asked if I had read The Hunger Games. In response, my eyes glazed over and I said “What? Is that the book about anorexia or something? We can’t keep it on the shelves, but no, haven’t read it. Don’t know if it’s my thing.” She grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. “You have to read this book” she spit as she slapped me across the face. Okay, that didn’t actually happen, but wouldn’t it have been awesome if she had? “Read it and we’ll go to see the movie at the end of the week.” It was an order I had no reason to refuse.

Amazingly, the book was available at the library where I’m currently employed. I checked it out and started to read it on my dinner break. I read it at my desk while pretending to work. I read it while the students I supervise quietly went about their closing duties. I read it as they stood over me, holding their time cards, waiting for me to wake from my HG-induced haze so they could leave. Basically, I was hooked and finished it that night. And yes, I cried. Hysterically and often.

That weekend my trustworthy friend and I went to the movie. “I know her!” I gasped the first time Jennifer Lawrence came on screen. “She’s the girl who got nominated for an Oscar for this movie about hillbillies! And now she’s doing another movie about hillbillies, sorta! I like her!” I said between bites of popcorn. “Shut up!” hissed my friend. I was practically swooning as I soaked in every moment of Jen’s portrayal of Katniss. She brought that girl to life. She became grumpy, depressed, determined, confused, kick-ass Katniss Everdeen. I cried for and with her. I shrieked and laughed and cheered and just made a fool of myself in the dark, crowded theater. I walked in a normal woman over thirty hooked on a YA series and left a woman obsessed.

Jennifer Lawrence is the girl I want to be and if I can’t be her, I want to be her best friend. I will settle for living vicariously through Zoe Kravitz. . . for now. She’s funny and down to Earth. She makes self-depreciating jokes that are adorkable and quirky and don’t come across as secret cries for help. She likes to look good but isn’t a total jerk about it. She still hangs out with her parents and brothers and boyfriend and does it all while wearing mismatched pajamas and exhibiting appropriate emotions upon receiving major news. She helps black ladies wearing booty shorts who suddenly faint on the sidewalk. She plays basketball and forgets to shave her armpits. I have a major fangirl crush on her. I’d donate an organ to this chick. Speaking of bodies, I want her body. I’d also settle for having her adorable face.

Let’s ignore the many psychological and sociological issues involved in my apparent desire to look like a white, blond-haired, blue-grayish-greenish-eyed woman 11 years my junior. This isn’t that kind of blog, i.e., I’ll objectify and idolize who I want, dammit! The real issue, the secret that I referenced above, is that there was a time that I did have Jennifer’s body (See! Don’t underestimate me, kid.).

I was 16 or 17 years old and dating yet another mean boy. I can’t wait for the day that I can write about a guy I dated who wasn’t awful to me. Yeesh. Anyway, this guy was short and skinny. I was all of 140-lbs. and a size 8 at 5’5. I felt like a beast. My weight had been an issue my whole life, but it took years for me to realize that my weight wasn’t actually an issue at all. My parents (maybe just my mom) had certain ideas about what kids were supposed to look like and I guess I didn’t fit the image in their mind’s eye. To make matters even more sucktastic, I started developing very early. Boobs and Aunt Flo appeared while I was still in elementary school. By high school, I was spindly arms and legs, crazy cheek bones that could have cut glass, huge boobs, huge butt, and a soft tummy. To my distorted, adolescent mind I might as well have been morbidly obese.

It didn’t help that my “boyfriend” at the time was a shrimp and a jerk. I towered over him and probably outweighed him. He commented on my body whenever he could, never calling me fat outright, but would suggest that I looked fat in certain clothes or ate too much or too often. It never dawned on me that he was insecure about his height and chicken chest and was doing whatever he could to make me feel as bad as he did because I was an idiot. I cried a lot, eventually dumped him when I found out he was regularly sexing the girl who’d fixed us up that I thought was my friend, and went on a mission to recreate my gigantic body into one that would leave him begging me to take him back.

It started innocently at first. I’d go on walks with friends or do a “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” tape and a bunch of crunches, followed by a trip to Taco Bell. It quickly turned into something rather ugly, I guess. I say “I guess” because even knowing what I know now about what I did, I miss the control and willpower I was able to exude back then. I also say “I guess” because it’s embarrassing and awkward as a person who’s been different variations of fat for the last 13 years to reminisce about how I was once very thin. People always want photographic evidence; you show them the pictures and they either say “Oh, you weren’t that thin!” or “You looked so good back then!” or “You looked awful!” or “I prefer you with weight on you” and it all sounds like horrible lies and the awful truth. It may only be embarrassing to me, but I have heard “What happened to you?” more times than I’d like to admit. I haven’t heard that lately, but those four words replay in my ears whenever I’m faced with seeing someone I haven’t seen in ages who knew me when. And I don’t have a kid I can shove in their faces and blame for my additional girth, so I know that they know that I just got “lazy” or “depressed”. Parents, hug your children! You may be fat, but you have a runny-nosed, loud-mouthed, obnoxious, toothless, short person who demands things to blame for your flabby body! I just have me.

I can’t really recall the moment that things got ugly. My exercise routine must not have given me the results I hoped for and I wanted a boost. Not sure if the diet pills or the laxatives came first, but I can remember the fear and excitement I felt as I bought them and sneaked them into my bedroom. Then I decided that as it was fat I was trying to lose from my body, fat was the thing that I needed to lose from my diet. I allowed myself 0-10 grams of fat per day, with “cheating” allowed on Saturdays. Meat was all fat, so that had to go without question. My diet mainly consisted of rice cakes and baby carrots. Those were my favorite things to eat, as they came in bags, making them convenient to carry with me, and both things were fat-free. I’d bring full bags of each to school with me and subsist on those alone – oh and candy, as long as it was fat-free – and a bottle of water for the entire day. The diet pills killed my appetite and gave me energy so I could accomplish my two to four hours of exercise a day. The laxatives let me shit away what I did eat since I allowed myself unlimited quantities of food as long as it was fat-free. Though I tried several times, I never could get the hang of self-induced vomiting, so the laxatives were a godsend.

My cheat meals on Saturdays weren’t very much fun at all. I’m sure the combination of my restrictive diet and laxative use was destroying my stomach. I couldn’t enjoy the one food I looked forward to indulging in each weekend – french fries – without excruciating stomach pain afterwards. Instead of curbing my weight-loss efforts, this unwelcome side-affect only encouraged me to report that I was “allergic to/unable to digest fat”, self-diagnosed, of course! I became more focused than ever.

One of my favorite examples of how insane I became is the following story: I was out for a run with a friend. My workout clothes were hanging off me. My friend was struggling to keep up as I had the artificially produced energy of a meth head. We jogged in place, at my insistence of course, as we waited for it to be safe to cross the street. I don’t know where the car came from; we had both looked and waited until we thought it was clear. My friend made it safely across while I made it up onto the hood of  an old Saab driven by a terrified man. In case I described that too poetically for you, I was hit by a freaking car. He hit me with enough force that I was thrown up on to his hood, hit his windshield, and rolled off into the street. I jumped up, elbows and knees skinned, forehead bruised, and stared at the driver, stunned. He took one look at me and since I was upright and had my eyes open, decided to speed off. My friend was screaming in terror and pulled me out of the road. “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod, are you alright??” he screamed. “You just got hit by a car!!” I quickly snapped out of my daze – thanks, amphetamines! – and started to jog in place again. “Yeah, I’m fine! We need to get back on our run! Burn that fat! Let’s go! Please don’t tell my parents what happened!”

I was so thin. I didn’t feel very thin because the scale wouldn’t budge below 124.5-lbs., which to me was still a too large number, but I was thin. My graduation dress was a size 3 in Juniors; I’m sure I cried with delight when it fit. My mom and I had never been closer. We finally looked just alike! A beautiful, majestic doe and her fawn. We shopped like an upcoming ban on women’s wear had just been announced. People stopped me on the street to ask if I was a model and when they learned that I wasn’t, to demand that I start a career right. That. Minute! Men and boys professed their love with a frequency that made my head spin. Girls hated my guts. One especially jealous bitch angrily told my friend that no matter how thin the rest of me got, I’d always have a fat ass. I wanted to thank her, as what she thought was a dig actually meant that I’d achieved Black America’s Dream, but he wasn’t supposed to tell, so I never got to rub her face in my skinny body and bodacious buttocks.

All good things must come to an end. College ushered in my eventual defeat. At first, things were awesome. I continued my ridiculous eating habits, the boys on campus declared me the hottest thing since. . . I don’t know, the sun? The sun’s super hot. Since I was a total prude and didn’t drink, I didn’t gain the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. But I wasn’t happy. I was incredibly lonely. Loneliness turned out to be the only thing I got to keep from my visit to The Land of Incredibly Thin Pretty Girls. I hated my roommate. I was convinced I was going to catch a disease from her and her nasty boyfriend. Sex particles travel through the air and that’s how you get STDs, right? I knew better; I’d gotten at least a B in science, but I had this incredible anxiety that I was going to become diseased from living with her that I couldn’t shake. My runs weren’t fun anymore. Creepy men thought it was funny to chase me. Working out in the gym on campus was out of the question as guys would show up with chips and soda, pull up a seat and watch me on the Stairmaster. Lucky for me the bouncers at the local nightclub took pity on me and let me in even though I wasn’t yet 18. Clubbing Thursday through Saturday became crucial as dancing was how I got my exercise. If guys wanted to stare or even grope, fine, just as long as I could burn fat on the dance floor.

Fall came in with a rush of freezing, bitter cold wind. Between my gross roommate and the rapidly dropping temperature, I was certain that I was dying. I dressed in layers and became more vigilant about food. I didn’t eat more nutritiously, well, not on purpose anyway. I decided that I would allow myself to eat anything that I wanted, absolutely ANYTHING once a day- as long as I could make it fit on a coffee saucer. It couldn’t hang off. Dry English muffins and hard boiled eggs became a favorite. Dark beverages were out; I could only consume liquids that I could see through. Most of the time, my day’s calories came from 2-liter bottles of Sprite or 7-Up and fruit or plain baked potatoes from the campus cafe. I went to my pediatrician and told him that I was afraid I had contracted Mono from my roommate. I was Mono free, but the good doctor was worried about my weight: 118-lbs. in two shirts, a sweater, jeans, a belt, platform high-heeled loafers (Shut it, it was the 90s) and undergarments. I don’t know why he didn’t have me undress. He wanted to know if I was eating. Of course I was! I just didn’t digest fat very well, so my eating options were limited. He took my answer as gospel, I suppose, as I don’t recall anything more happening from his initial concern.

Eventually I paid a visit to the school psychologist. I don’t know what caused me to finally become concerned for myself. My friends’ worries fell on deaf ears. I’d signed up for a campus fashion show and in the space where we were to write down our sizes, I put ‘Women’s 5/6’. The coordinator of the show, a fabulous and outspoken gay man, took one look at my form and shouted “Pppfffssshht! Put her in the 2s!” They did, and they fit. I reminded my friends who were shocked to see what size I’d become as I came down the runway that the 2s didn’t really fit; they were a bit tight on my stomach. A true size 2 wouldn’t have red marks on her belly after wearing pants. They shook their heads in defeat and I invited them back to my dorm room for Sprite and oranges.

The school psychologist told me that I was beautiful, and certainly thin, but girls with eating disorders were emaciated and I was not, and that meant that I was okay! In a rare moment of clarity, I shook my head and stammered “But I have. . . trouble eating. And I’m always cold. I think there might be something wrong with me.” Was I puking? Nope. Had I eaten that day? Yup. “You have a beautiful body! You’re fine. You’re just experiencing first-year stress.” That was two doctors that didn’t think anything was a big deal and one of them had basically said that I was fat, so I went on my way and changed nothing.

As suddenly as my transformation had begun, it was over. I met a girl who recognized the disordered eating behaviors I exhibited and reached out to me in friendship and concern. She tried to teach me how to eat again. Her efforts were short lived as I noticed that I was starting to gain weight using her methods. I met my first white boyfriend who had no time for my food nonsense and wanted a girl who would eat, so I made my best efforts during our relationship. The whole mess was started by a boy’s opinion of me and ended for the same reason. I was back up to 124.5-lbs., then 130-lbs., then 135-lbs., and before I knew it, I was 140-145-lbs. again. But the damage had already been done.

I had tasted thinness and it was delicious. No matter how I tried, though, I couldn’t make my body do what it had done for those glorious 2 years. Diet pills and laxatives didn’t seem to have any affect on me anymore. Eventually, the good ones were taken off the market. My weight would eventually soar and drop, climb and fall for the rest of my adult life. 140-lbs. is a long ago dream. And I never did learn how to eat. Food is like a stranger that I see everywhere but have no idea how to interact with. I’m either ignoring it or food’s taking out an order of protection against me. “Officer, she ate my entire family. She even ate the children! Keep her away from me! Her appetite is insatiable!”

So, that’s my secret. I may or may not have had and continue to struggle with disordered eating. You’ll notice I’ve never used the term “eating disorder”. Can’t do it. Doesn’t feel real. Mostly because two doctors and two parents and lots of other adults didn’t see a problem. They told me I was beautiful and that only white emaciated girls struggle with anorexia and bulimia. They were the experts; I’m sure they knew what was best.

Jennifer Lawrence gets flack about her beautiful body. Dumb idiots think she looks “fat” on screen. She gives those douche hounds the bird and keeps it moving. I’m fascinated and amazed by her ability to eat regular food, – no “clean eating” or vegetarianism or binging or starving has been reported about her. . . yet –  whenever and whatever she wants, and still be slender and beautiful. I don’t know. I guess that’s not my particular lot in life. But my eyes have seen the glory, even if it was for just a brief moment in time! I wish I’d bothered to wear a bikini back then. Dammit.

Well, those I’ve written about and upset, I hope this makes us even. I shined a bright light on a part of my life I’d have rather kept hidden away. I hope you’ll forgive me for inadvertently hurting your feelings in previous posts. But whatever you do, don’t ask me to see those pictures. If you thought what I wrote before was bad. . .

*I want to apologize in advance if anything I wrote was triggering or offensive to anyone who has had or currently struggles with an ED. Though I am uncomfortable labeling myself as someone who has an ED or is in recovery from one, especially because I was never diagnosed and continue to have major struggles with food, weight, and body image, I empathize with and understand your struggle. It is not my intention to purposely cause hurt or make light of a debilitating disease that has robbed so many of so much; I’m more comfortable making light of my own struggles than speaking about them seriously, yet realize the seriousness of the struggle of others.

A ICSHSS Public Service Announcement.

5 Aug

“I have confidence in me! I think.” Source

As much as I loathe him,  – and not just ’cause of his proclivity for peeing on preteens; I truly think the man is just yucky poo-poo in general; his talent questionable, and his songs sucktastic – I can’t get R.Kelly screeching “This is a radio message!” out of my head since I’ve decided to call this post a public service announcement. Whatever, you’re not in my head; it makes perfect sense to me.

I’m going to write a little something about the idea of confidence as it relates to dating. Or really, as it relates to other people’s perception when it comes to one’s dating success, or lack thereof. In my case, it’s lack thereof. Remember, I called this blog “I Can See Why She’s Single.” for a reason, ya’ll.

This post is going to be one of many that is super awkward, mostly because I will be writing about people that I like an awful lot and spend tons of time with, and I will be calling them on what I think is their total bullshit. I will also be going on and on about the undeniable beauty of another, which though complementary, is still crazy awkward for all involved. I mean, it is for me. And yes, people do go on and on about my supposed beauty, and it always makes me feel like a freak, and not because I am a walking sack of insecurities, which I may very well be – I’ll get to that – but because, dude, it’s weird. More on that probably later, but first, let’s get to the bullshit!

So, I whine to my friends about how no guys like me pretty often. You try not having sex for 13 years and see what kind of mood you’re in. Anyway, I whine a lot, and two of my friends whom I shall forever refer to on this blog as Dick and Jane because they are adorable and always together and would make great subjects for a hilarious series of children’s books, are often on the receiving end of my seemingly never-ending complaints about my banishment to The Barren Valley of Singledom. Dick and Jane try to always be SUPER encouraging about everything, which I attribute to their being raised in a religious cult that if it were to join forces with the Mormons would conquer us all. (They are gonna hate that. The attributing anything positive about them to the religious cult they escaped bit, not the conquering us all bit. When I pointed that out, Jane laughed. I don’t know where Dick was.)

Even though they are beacons of support in the dark, empty cavern that is my dating life, they also make an attempt to keep it real. Part of their attempt at imparting some realness into my sex love-starved brain involves the notion of confidence and self-esteem. Dick and Jane like to constantly remind me that I’d be luckier in lurve if I were confident. I constantly remind them that I am confident, in my own way, but I am also a realist. They disagree, we argue, and then they like to once again tell me the story of Ariel and Eric.

Ariel is our beautiful friend that I have decided to call Ariel because whenever I describe Ariel to people that haven’t met her yet I say “She looks like a mermaid!” She is petite and slim, yet curvy where a girl ought to be, and has raven hair that flows down her back, and porcelain skin sprinkled with freckles, and pouty pink lips, and these blue-green eyes the color of the sea on a glorious summer day. She is also kind, thoughtful, smart, talented, and funny, but nobody cares about that when you’re as stunning as she is. She is perfection.

Ariel met her boyfriend Eric (not his real name, but it is the name of the prince in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, so I thought it was fitting to call him that, and our Eric is handsome the way a prince should be, and also has luxurious hair like Prince Eric in the movie) and decided that she found him desirable and declared “You will be mine” to him in her head and he of course agreed that yes, he would be hers, and now they live happily ever after and will someday have adorable, vaguely Asian looking children with black hair and green eyes. Dick and Jane tell me this story over and over and over again. The real story that hasn’t been edited to protect their identity on a blog that nobody but them reads is really cute and I like hearing it and all, but I say the same thing in response every time:

“Yeah, but it’s Ariel. I mean, look at her.”

Dick and Jane tell me that story because they think the moral is “Confident women get boyfriends by being confident!” where I, being the realist, think the moral of the story is actually “Men like beautiful women.” If Ariel looked more like, say this (I’m sorry Rachel! I love you!), then I would agree that they have a valid argument. But because Ariel looks like this if you’re a heterosexual male with no imagination – ahem – or like this and this if you are an awesome nerd with kick-ass taste in books and movies and a disturbingly vivid fantasy life, of course she’s going to get the guy in the end! Attributing her good fortune in love to her “confidence” is absurd and kind of insulting to my intelligence, especially because when asked, Ariel would describe herself as looking like this, but covered in freckles and with worse hair.

Jane will argue that fact with me to the death, because she is kind and likes me despite my many faults. My personality, which she thinks is pretty rad, has deluded the poor girl into thinking that I am very pretty. She thinks that I am just as pretty as Ariel, but what gets in my way is my belief that I am not. I think Jane is wonderful, and I appreciate her opinion, but sister-girl needs to get her eyes checked.

Here’s the part where I’m going to try to convince you, dear reader, that I am not crippled by low self-esteem despite the fact that everything in this post, heck, everything in and about this blog, points to the contrary. I don’t always think I’m ugly and there are times when I think I look down-right beautiful. I will go out and be surprised that no guys tried to holla, or that only one or two did. I don’t let my plus-size body stop me from wearing short skirts or color or horizontal stripes or skinny jeans. I recently cut my hair short and think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made all year. I have plans to buy a fatkini before summer is over. I had an in-depth conversation with a Frenchman who looked like a fashion model on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Would a girl who wasn’t confident do that? Does any of the preceding sound at all like what a girl who has low self-esteem would do?

The thing is, I know that I’m not anywhere near as pretty or as attractive to the opposite sex as Ariel. That’s me being a realist. If you were to ask the average man who’d they rather with the choices being Megan Fox or Jill Scott, the celebrity I am most often told that I resemble, I believe that nine out of 10 of them will choose Megan, including the black men. It’s like comparing chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to avocado ice cream. Most people won’t even give avocado ice cream a try, but everybody likes chocolate chip cookie dough. That doesn’t make avocado ice cream awful or gross or stupid for existing. It just means that it’s an acquired taste. I am an acquired taste.

What bugs me the most about the whole thing is that when I remind Dick and Jane that Ariel is very hard on her physical appearance when they tout her confidence, they sort of wave away the idea. “But she carries herself confidently” they’ll say. And I don’t? “Well, we know what you really think of yourself” they’ll say. Yeah, but you’re two of my closest friends. Some guy in a bar won’t have a clue. I’ve put on three coats of mascara; there’s no way that I’m carrying myself in a way that isn’t confident. It bothers Jane that I know believe that I’m not as pretty as Ariel. We’re both her special girlfriends; in her sweet eyes, we’re equally gorgeous. Dick is more frank about the whole thing; he agrees with me in a way that is without tact, but that I still sort of appreciate, if only because it helps to prove my point. But yet he can’t let it go that my real problem is “confidence”.

I think it makes Dick and Jane uncomfortable to say “Yeah, Ariel is better looking than you are. She is more conventionally attractive, yet is also more beautiful than your average woman. Of course she got the guy in the end! We’ll stop telling you that story, because it simply doesn’t apply to you.” They already encourage me to do the things that only ugly women are encouraged to do: be friends first so he can see what a great personality you have, talk to him about the things you have in common with him, hang out with him in a group so he can see how much your friends love you. They did forget to tell me to put a paper bag over my head, though.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not angry at Dick and Jane or at Ariel’s beauty. I get that I’m an acquired taste. If I were still thin, and still wore my hair long and relaxed, I too could declare that someone I liked would be mine and it would be so. It was so during my glory days. What irks me is the notion that my (supposed) lack of confidence is a). a thing b). obvious and c). keeping me single. That the things that I think or share privately (or write about in a blog) about myself are obvious to everyone. They’re not. Unless I’m in big time denial, I know they’re not. My whole life has been about perfecting masks; ain’t no way that this one has slipped. I, with natural, short hair and fat body, (and maybe also with brown skin and black identity; we’ll talk about that some other time) am not going to have an easy time with this dating thing. I haven’t. I’m still the same neurotic jerk whether I’m fat or thin, kinky or straight. I’m just a lot easier to take when I’m wrapped in a prettier package.

So, for the public service announcement. It will need to be catchy and memorable, yet informative. I’m thinking of something like “It’s okay; you can tell me. I can take it.”, a reference to the fact that I get that lots of girls are prettier than me and will have an easier time attracting men. No need to sugar coat it in platitudes about how no one will love you if you don’t love yourself (if you’re a fat and/or average looking girl). I’m also throwing around “It’s alright if you think she’s prettier. I do too, but I’m still confident!” I think either would look great headlining brochures instructing folks on how to talk to their more unfortunate looking single female friends.

Oh, wait. I’ve realized that I’ve left something out. Something that is perhaps critical to the story. Dick and Jane use Ariel as an example because of her “confidence” AND because she approached Eric. I’m not into the whole approaching guys thing. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable and/or embarrass myself. I mean, imagine how the counter girl at the ice cream shop must feel trying to get people to taste the avocado flavor. It would suck to hear “Ew, avocado??” all day long, am I right? HAHAHAHA! Right?

Shut up. Dick and Jane do not have a point.