Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm Okay (I Promise)

Let me just preface this by saying that this is totally crazy to me, but I was recently told by someone (please forgive the passive voice) that I'm somewhat inspirational to her.  My first reaction was surprise. Hearing that I'm inspirational to someone took me aback, and I simply thought, Wow. In the two days since then, though, I've been thinking about my friend's statement, which, in turn, led me to think of two other instances when I was taken aback in the same way.

Both incidents occurred about a year and a half ago, very close in time to one another.  A former friend of mine and I were talking, and she told me that she loved the way I looked and would give anything to look like me. I can't even tell you how shocked that statement made me.  Okay, wait--maybe I can--let's see. That statement shocked the hell out of me.  I'd spent my entire life up to that point vacillating toward being okay with my looks and hating every single thing about myself.  I'd spent (and still spend) countless hours in the mirror lamenting my looks, from my swimming-pool-sized pores to my dimple-ridden, extra-large ass to the Greek-Italian monstrosity of a nose that sits in the middle of my face to the Jew-curl hair that I could never control.  I mean, when I tell you I've hated my looks, I am in no way using the word hate lightly.  Not only that, but I've pored over countless magazines in my day, scrutinizing pictures of models and actresses and thinking that if I could just look like any one of them, my life would be so much better.  And then, suddenly, somebody was doing the same thing I'd always done, expressing her desire to look like somebody else, but shock of all shocks, she wasn't expressing the desire to look like Drew Barrymore or Lucy Liu (two people I'd trade places with any day), she was expressing the desire to look like me.  What?

The second incident came pretty soon after when I was out playing pool one night (I guess I must have been going through a good stage).  I was in the bathroom when a complete stranger told me that she loved my hair (it was super short and even super-er red at the time) and that she wished she had the confidence and the nerve that I had.  It's been awhile, so I don't remember her exact words, but I remember they were the kind of words that made me feel the same way I felt when my former friend said that she would give anything to look like me and that I recently felt when my friend told me that I was inspirational.  All three incidents left me with the same feeling of what? 

And here's where I'm going with this.  We're all so busy--and when I say all, I mean me, and because I mean me, and I'm not a complete anomaly, I also mean you--seeing what's wrong with ourselves that oftentimes we don't see what's right. We're so busy complaining about what we have--in my case, a crooked, chipped front tooth, my grandmother's hips (on a smaller scale, thank God), a fine layer of facial fuzz that gleams in the sun--and wanting what we don't have--to be Asian, to be dewy but not shiny, to carry off the gamine thing as flawlessly as Jean Seberg did (yes, my case again)--that we don't realize that we--We! Yes, you! And, yes, me!--are to other people as our objects of admiration/inspirations/motivations are to us.  In a lot of ways, we're better than we think.

So the next time you're having an episode, staring in the mirror and thinking that if only you'd upped your SPF way back when, you wouldn't look like a leather bag with eyes or like anything you do is futile because you're just a big nobody who could just disappear and nobody would even notice, remember that I--I!--am somebody else's Drew Barrymore, another person's Zora Neale Hurston.  And that, readers, means so are you.


No comments:

Post a Comment