As much as I don’t like to admit this, maintaining positive self esteem can be daunting for me in the face of things like the Internet or mirrors. Even though my normal brain knows that a great personality (and about a million other things) is much more important than the perfect face or body, sometimes this awful voice in my brain will be like “Your personality doesn’t matter unless you are conventionally attractive.” The rational, thinking part of my brain knows that beauty standards and idolizing an abstract concept of physical perfection is absolute bullshit. But this voice isn’t rational at all, and it fights against the thinking part of me that knows better.
That being said, it’s kind of sexy to be self deprecating, right? Well, to a certain brand of person (me), nothing gets things going more than a little self loathing. If it helps, you can picture me as 5’4” Woody-Allen type but with a bigger rack and less developed jokes. So because I find self deprecation to be funny and oddly attractive, I think I get into this weird cycle of trying to make myself sexier by hating myself more. I think it’s working! And by working I mean it’s making that crazy-person voice in my head get louder, so it’s not working at all.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by thinking about how gross I am, the advice that I always get is to focus on the positive. But I’m a sour-soul and “the positive” seems like this giant, big, vague wilderness that I can’t conceptualize. What is positive? Cool I have my health and love and friends and a job, but also I want to be prettier and that’s more important than my full and rich life. Since I am an ungrateful ingrate who can’t conceive of “the positive” at large, I’m going to focus on one positive, because all this negativity is a giant waste of time. I am going to find one thing that I love about myself, and it has to be physical. I am trying to increase my sense of self-worth, after all, so my personality is irrelevant.
Here we go. I have great skin. It’s a lovely pale shade and I rarely, if ever break out. Even when I feel like I’m at my absolute worst, my skin is there, looking pretty freaking radiant. I really should take better care of my skin because it doesn’t ever let me down. Despite my habit of self deprecation, I can’t say anything bad about my skin, and I can with total sincerity say that I absolutely love it.
Acknowledging something positive about myself feels foreign but nice, and like something I should do more often. I wanted to see how my coworkers would respond to the same assignment, so I asked The Gloss staff and writers from some of our sister sites to contribute what they thought was beautiful about themselves, physically, and I offered ten points if anyone picked her vagina. Here’s what I got back:
I think I have a really good belly button. My mother insists she picked her OBGYN by interviewing every doctor in Chicago, and her only real question was, “Are you good at tying belly buttons? Do you have a portfolio of work I could look at?” But it’s a symmetrical, vertically oriented deep innie with a teardrop shape. My sister has one just like it. Almost nobody has ever actually seen mine because I don’t go in for crop tops or bikinis, but it’s in there.
When I was a kid, I got bullied for having giant cheekbones. Now, I really love them because that’s what makes me look so much like my late Peruvian grandmother.
I like my collarbones, always have. I like how necklaces look laying on them, I like putting perfume on them, and I just like the way they look. They make me feel feminine.
Actually, mine is my vagina! Since having a hysterectomy a year ago, I no longer get my period (I was getting blood transfusions for heavy bleeding) and no longer have to worry about birth control, so I am terribly fond of my lady garden. (Ed. note: Eve received ten points).
I had the biggest hands in my high school class, and I’m talking boys and girls here. My fingers are so long that I’m typing this response 5 feet away from my computer. Someone once told me that I could be a hand model. Unfortunately that someone was my mom and not only is she biased, but she’s completely useless when it comes to hand modeling connections. Regardless, I still really like my hands.
I like my eyeballs. They are my favorite part of my physical appearance next to my boobs because, duh, everyone knows boobs are the most important as a lady. Severus Snape would tell me I have my mother’s eyes, which is partly true because I have my dad’s good ol’ Italian lashes. My eyes are usually green but change color depending on my mood, the seasons, the weather, what I’m wearing. And I have a freckle on my left iris so that’s pretty cool. All the kids who made fun of me for having bug eyes as a kid can go pound sand.
I really love my scars. To get very philosophical and deep, I like that they tell a story about me without me needing to say anything (…because I am lazy). If I had to pick a “favorite” it would probably be the various scars scattered around my right knee from a couple surgeries. They just make me think of field hockey and I like how they sometimes turn purplish when I am really cold (I hope that is normal). In general, I scar pretty easily, so I feel like I get some new additions to my body story on the regular.
As odd as it sounds, I found that focusing on how much I love my skin was a nice feeling, but I really got something out of listening to my colleagues compliment themselves. Something about it made me feel like it gave me permission to love myself a little harder, and to try to find more things about myself to like and celebrate.
So tell us. What’s your favorite feature?