It’s hard to feel unbeautiful when Josh Groban has his mellifluous tongue (virtually) stuck in my ear. And also when I’m drinking a bottle of sauvignon blanc I bought at the corner store on my way home from work. Which may point to a certain type of single-woman-of-a-certain-age solitude but has nothing to do with if I am beautiful. But what does have to do with beauty? Why do I feel beautiful on one day and not another? Or in one hour of the day and none of the others? Or vice versa? Is it the clothes? Is it the makeup? Is it the way the sun feels on my shoulders? Is it remembering–as my sunglasses slide down my sweat-slicked nose one. more. time.–how giddy I was when I first tried on said sunglasses? Is it the precise torque of curls in my hair? Someone might answer–it’s confidence, but I’d counter that confidence is as fickle a beast as any, perhaps moreso, and there have been plenty of days I’ve felt gorgeous while still feeling insecure about something or the other. Is the question what makes me feel beautiful, or what makes me feel unbeautiful? Which set of answers is most useful? Do I then avoid at all costs the unbeautiful makers and surround myself as much as possible with the beautiful makers? Or can certain things fall in either camp depending on the phase of the moon, if the bus is late or not, how many times I hit the snooze button, if I’m listening to Jack White or Josh Groban on the way to work, if I’m reading a romance novel or staring into space, if the person sitting next to me is thin or fat and I feel comfortable or squished in the seat, if I’m late or on time, if I took a shower that morning or the night before, if I have five meetings that day or not even one, if my sister has made me laugh for the 1,000th time this year or the 1,000,000th, if I get light cheese on my pizza or none at all, if I watch Jeopardy or get so caught up on Facebook that I forget, if I want to write a blog that night or I don’t want to write a blog? If I can’t aspire to feeling beautiful every minute of every day because the conditions are mutable, unknowable, irreproducible, imprecise, what then do I aspire to that gets to the same place? Or is the question not whether or not I feel beautiful but rather how sensitive I am to that place in me where I feel beautiful most of the time and know enough to fake it the rest of the time? When I don’t feel beautiful, am I just making to much noise of all the wrong sorts? Is it not the appreciation of our peculiar and singular and wonderful beauties that changes, but our willingness to walk in those peculiar and singular and wonderful beauties? Is it a choice?
If you believe that everything happens for a reason, then I must believe that my struggles with my weight, or I suppose, more accurately, my struggles with my appearance happen for a reason. (And for the literalists out there, I mean more than how eating and exercise affect what I look like.) I was thinking today that I always default to the negative things that come from walking in this particular body. But I never think about any possible good that may have come my way because I’m short and plump. Is it possible that people are more likely to hear me as intelligent because I’m not a bombshell? Is it possible that I’ve formed the relationships that I have because I don’t look like a man-stealing femme fatale? Is it possible that because I never took my looks for granted that I was more likely to work harder toward getting what I wanted? Since I’ve never stopped to think about the positives associated with looking the way I do, I can’t even form the what-if questions without them sounding ridiculous to my ears. And I suppose it’s not really as neatly cause and effect as I’d like to make it, at least for purposes of this post. And I also think that no matter how I frame the question, there’s is no adequate answer. Still, it’s interesting to think about, and an opportunity to reframe how I look at my body. Yes, there are many challenges associated with being a woman of size, so to speak, but I think I’m going to choose to believe that there are also doors that open because of this particular body, whether or not I can precisely point out which ones they are.
25 Synonyms for My Body