Anne Sexton said something to the affect of: I use to be pretty, now I’m just me. I have been looking all over the internet for the actual quote. If anyone knows it, please email me or leave it in the comments.
Blogs are weird. They are personal and public at the same time. This feels like a personal post, but I don’t know most of you, so I am going to blog it anyway. I am going to trust that those of you who do know me, love me enough not to hold my character defects against me.
I have been thinking about this quote lately. I look a lot different than I did before the baby, and its not sitting so well with me. I had a horrible pregnancy and gained 80lbs. I am still lugging around 40 of it. I use to have long, red hair, but it changed color during the pregnancy. For expediency’s sake, I chopped it all off. I am still getting use to my new self.
So this is the part that is hard for me to talk or blog about. I did not realize until now how much I leveraged my prettiness in the world. I would categorize the new people that I would meet into two categories. “Prettier than me” and “Not Prettier”. If I was uncomfortable in a situation, I could rely upon my physical attractiveness to help me meet people. People were interested in me.
Now, I know. I know. I know. Pretty vain. Pretty shallow. In my defense, it has a lot to do with my upbringing. My mother, despite giving birth to 5 children, remained at a fashionable 110 her whole life. She use to say things to me like, “There’s no reason to learn how to change a tire, just stand by the side of the road and look cute. Someone will help you out.” It’s a terrible message. But there was a truth to it. I was often pulled over for speeding, the policeman never gave me a ticket. Even more bothersome to me is that I really think people took my opinions more seriously 3 years ago than they do now. To be fat is to be invisible. Like the erstwhile quote says, now I’m just me.
I ran across something today that I wanted to share. It is from the blog, Dress A Day.
You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.
What it all boils down to now is that I just don’t have pretty in me anymore. I know I could do something about it. I can’t make myself younger, but I could lose the weight. I could scrape up the money to visit those Newbury salons I use to frequent. But I won’t. I guess this is how someone falls into the “Not Pretty” column of the debit sheet.
I have been trying to think of new ways to leverage myself. Did you see “The Fisher King?” In the movie, the Amanda Plummer character complains to Mercedes Ruehl that she has no personality. Mercedes Ruehl says “You want a personality? You can be a real bitch.” So instead of being the pretty one, maybe I will be the bitchy one for a change. Besides, I have since learned that you don’t actually need to know how to change a tire if you have Triple A.