it isn’t about Bear

Sometimes I thought that I wanted to look good for guys. Sometimes I measured my attractiveness  by how many looks I got on the street. By how many dates I got. By how many guys in class tried to whisper jokes to me when the professor turned towards the board.

I saved my best outfits for coffee with other girls, but I thought it must be the guys who mattered.

Secretly, without even telling myself I was thinking it, I imagined that one day I would get married and stop worrying about the way I looked. I’d have this man who thought I was perfect and gorgeous and sexy beyond belief, and that would be that.

This may come as a huge shock to you guys, but: yeah, it wasn’t. It wasn’t that.

I’ve been married for a year now, and the other night I woke up and Bear was asleep next to me and this is the precise transcript of my thoughts: “Whoa, who is that guy? He’s really good looking. He has big muscles. This is my husband. God, I’m lucky. Wow, I can’t believe this is my life. YES!!!”

But being married hasn’t made me feel hot all the time. Or even reasonably pretty. It sometimes makes me think it’s probably OK if it turns out that I’m ugly. Bear will still think I look good, even if he’s the only one.  He can’t even admit that I’m not as pretty as famous actresses and models. He stubbornly repeats “You’re prettier,” as I roll my eyes and feel enormously grateful.

If anything, being married has made me realize how little my relationship with my appearance has to do with my relationship with a man.


OK. I’m not stupid. I could have figured it out. But I didn’t want to. I wanted a neat solution. Which is probably also why I got a nose job. And it’s also why sometimes my mind wanders and suddenly I’m boldly and fearlessly negotiating a contract with Warner Bros Studios. It seems they want to make a series of movies out of my recently published fantasy book. That figure isn’t high enough, I’m saying. I’ll be needing a helicopter. You know how bad traffic gets in the city. They’re saying something about how I get to do the casting. Oh, and would I like a bagel with cream cheese, high quality lox, fresh in-season  tomato, and capers? Yes, I would. Thank you.

God, my mind. It’s terrible.

An interesting thing happened when I got married. I started feeling like I had to be pretty or I might let Bear down.

Which is really not fair.

He wasn’t showing any signs of being about to be let down by my failure to be pretty enough. But I felt this new, startling, malicious pressure. I wanted his family to think I was pretty and his friends to think I was pretty and his boss and his coworkers to think I was pretty. And I wanted that to happen so that they would think that Bear was successful and well-matched. I wanted them to turn to one another and murmur, “He’s done well for himself.” And usually people say that about two things: prettiness and money. And usually when you’re a woman, it’s the prettiness that people are more interested in. Also, I don’t have a lot of money.

Instead of feeling automatically beautiful, because I had this man who was telling me I was beautiful every day, I began to feel like it was probably a character flaw that I didn’t have longer legs and more doe-like eyes. Eyes like a goddamn doe, I muttered at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, is that too much to ask?

(why can’t you just have doe eyes and a little nose??)

I had this amazingly antiquated idea of what being a wife should look like. Or maybe it isn’t. I also had a close friend who was married and she looked like a doll called “The Perfect Wife,” and she was always smiling, and she even wore pearls sometimes. I tried always smiling for a while. I felt like people could tell it was a fake smile.

Since it’s been a year now, I’ve started to come to terms with the fact that being married won’t make me feel beautiful. I’m the one who has to do that. As it turns out, there aren’t really that many shortcuts. It’s an annoying lesson to learn.

But feeling really, really loved is great. It might even be better than feeling pretty.

I’m kidding– it definitely is.

*  *  *

What do you guys think? Has your relationship with your appearance changed a lot through your relationship with a romantic partner? I’ve heard stories from people who really have felt a lot better about the way they look when they find a great partner. It can happen.

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a faux fur vest.

 

39 Comments »

Kate on December 6th 2011 in beauty, marriage, relationships

39 Responses to “it isn’t about Bear”

  1. Lucy responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    I know exactly what you mean. The same thing happened to me. My husband always tells me I’m beautiful. My automatic response is “Stop lying.” He often says “Hey, stop insulting my wife!” which makes me laugh and proves a good point – if someone else was calling me ugly I’d tell them to stuff it.

    It really is nice to be loved :)

  2. Kate responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    @Lucy
    That is so cute. I love that he tells you to stop insulting his wife. When Bear is being down on himself, I often say, “Hey, that’s my husband you’re talking about! I’ll beat you up!”

  3. Deanna responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    My husband finds some of the more unusual actresses pretty. I guess that’s why he found me attractive as I am not at all ‘usual’. He doesn’t care for the blonde, blue eyed Aryan look (although he admits to finding Grace Kelly beautiful) and prefers a more ethnic look.

    I’ve realized that I will probably never think of myself as beautiful. I’ll have to come to terms with this and just stop trying to change it. I guess I believe that what is considered beautiful in any culture requires very regular features, glossy hair, perfect skin and a balance. My face always looked like it fell on the floor and someone put it back together again a bit too quickly (sort of like a slender Humpty Dumpty).

    However, I still enjoy being proved wrong. I wore very tight jeans and high leather boots to an event last night and got a lot of looks. Even I noticed the looks. If I dress sexy, carry myself with confidence and brush my hair…men do find me attractive. I know it’s the height, the figure and the fact I have years of dance training and know how to carry myself. Take away the makeup, the sexy clothes and put my hair in a pony tail…I am invisible once again.

    Did I answer your question? I also tend to get off on tagents…LOL/

    My point is that sometimes we never really come to terms with our looks but we manage okay.

  4. Sarah responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    This post reminds me of our *wonderful* gchat sesh on Friday haha.

    Confidence is the best make-up there is, I think.

  5. Melanie responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I think you have an amazingly antiquated view of womanhood in general. You have absorbed so many beauty standards. You spend time analyzing why you don’t conform to xxx and what is wrong w. you bc you don’t conform to xxx. Do you feel pressure to look a certain way around Bear’s work people bc he has such a $$$ job and yes, women are expected to look a certain way in that millieu?

  6. Kate responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    @Sarah
    :-)

  7. Kate responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    @Melanie
    Is that a serious question? The way you started this comment sounds like an insult, so I’m not sure how to respond.

    I can understand why it might be tempting to point me out as an exception/ hope that the way I feel about beauty is weird and antiquated. But I write about this stuff because I think it’s not just me. If I’m thinking it, so are millions of other women.

    Also, I spend time analyzing these things on this blog, because the blog is ABOUT these things. I also spend a lot of time thinking about other stuff :-)

  8. Rachel responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    My relationship with my appearance hasn’t improved because of my relationship with one partner, but actually with many partners. Because I’ve dated at my lowest weight, and I’ve dated at my highest weight, and it’s proved to me that my weight has absolutely no bearing on my romantic success. When I was younger and skinnier I dated guys who treated me like crap and was too timid and insecure about myself to cut them loose and find someone actually worth dating. I definitely thought that if I gained weight and got fat like I’d been in high school I would NEVER find anyone to date me, much less treat me well. But I gained weight as I got older, and my dating life has gotten better and better. I don’t have any more trouble finding dates than I did when I was skinny. I get more, actually, because I seek people to date instead of hoping they come to me. I know what I want from a relationship and I (mostly) no longer put up with crap from guys who don’t deserve my attention. I struggle with my body image a lot still (and I often still feel like guys won’t like me because I’m fat even though I know it isn’t true), but at least I know that my dating life has nothing to do with my weight.

  9. Kate responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    @Rachel
    It’s really interesting that even though your dating life improved as you got heavier, it’s still hard for you to believe it. That makes perfect sense to me. Sometimes, despite all of the evidence, that voice in your head is strong enough to almost convince you that the truth lies somewhere in exactly the opposite direction.

    But I’m glad you have the evidence. That’s really important.

  10. craftosaurus responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Hmm. I think I have to stop saying “you’re biased” and start saying “thank you.” (Though I think for it to really work, he’ll have to start employing the same policy when I compliment him.)

  11. midnightsky responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Having romantic partners has actually proved beneficial to my view of myself. You mean that people are actually interested in me even though I’m not twiggy? People think I’m sexually attractive? Really? Even though I have a poofy stomach and chipmunk cheeks? Whoa. Maybe my stomach isn’t all that poofy. Maybe my cheeks are okay. Maybe people *can* consider a woman with muscley arms to be pretty.

    It was crazy stuff.

  12. jeanie responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Kate, I totally see what you mean. My partner would be ok if I wore the same clothes every day, but I have a strange innate desire to keep dressing up. I think not worrying about my partner’s judgement has freed me to experiment with fashion more than I did before I started dating him, and that’s been really fun.
    But I also have that feeling that I want my partner’s friends and relatives to think I’m beautiful, because he deserves someone who is so. I take extra care with my appearance around his parents. I think that’s probably pretty normal.
    “Eyes like a goddamn doe”–that line made me laugh!

  13. Katharine Lilley responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    I’ve been married for 5 1/2 years, been with him for 7. The thing I really like about being married to him is that we can wake up at 6am everyday together and he truly doesnt care that I’m in sweats and a hoodie 4 sizes too big to keep warm and my hair is horrendous and my acne is showing because I have no make up on and I have eye boogers and morning breath. And after I see him off to work with lunch and a kiss I look at myself in the mirror and see how gross I look. But see, HE doesn’t care, so I don’t either. That has been so liberating to my psyche and my spirit.

  14. Deanna responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I think Melanie may be off base in her comments. I don’t think things have changed much in the beauty arena in years. As a matter of fact, the only time things were any different was for a few years in the 1970s when the feminist movement was going full steam ahead. I can tell you this…Pole dancing as a form of exercise would not have been popular in 1977. As someone who was alive (a teenager, but alive nonetheless in 1977)I can confirm that if anything, beauty myths are even worse today than they were then.

    I also think that in wealthier areas: New York, LA, Paris and among the affluent crowds, being well dressed, well coiffed and well made-up is very important.

  15. dev responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Stumbled upon your blog via another blog. Been reading it everday for weeks now. I can truly relate to most everything and feel better about myself for a little while, sometimes even the whole day after reading. Thank you so much for that.

    Also, this is the first time I have ever commented on stranger’s blog! It’s fun :)

  16. Kelly responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    This doesn’t really answer your question, but it reminded me of something I swore to myself when I was a teenager. I swore that when I was married, I would wear makeup and dress nicely EVERY SINGLE DAY because I didn’t want my future husband to think I was lazy and unattractive. This was after noticing that my mom wore eyeliner and mascara only when we left the house, never for a day we stayed home, and I thought that my dad might think that she wasn’t trying hard enough to please him. (I was a strange kid.)
    Fast-forward 15 year, and here I am, with a baby in a Moby wrap strapped to my chest, in the same sweatpants and t-shirt that I slept in, bright pink socks, no makeup, and un-combed hair. Maybe, if the 2-year-old and 4-year-old nap long enough, I’ll have time to shower and get dressed, but it’s doubtful. And makeup? Please. Makeup comes out once a week these days: under-eye concealer, mascara, and lip gloss for church. You know, I don’t feel any less pretty without it. And my husband, when asked if this mattered to him, told me that, while he does like me dolled-up and “slutted-out” (his words, meaning going-out clothes, hair curled, major makeup), he loves me no matter how I look and thinks it would be lame if I wore makeup on days that I don’t leave the house.

    Being loved is a wonderful thing.

  17. Hannah responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    I’ve never been in a relationship, so I can’t really say. But it makes sense to me that you would still put pressure on yourself to be pretty…

    When I go home on break, I always put a lot of time and effort into picking out outfits before hand. Even if I’ve been in a lazy fashion slump at school. And it’s not like I hang out with my peers while I’m home– 95% of break is spent around my parents and my two siblings. And still I put a lot of effort into looking coordinated. Even though my brother is a teenage boy who couldn’t care less what I look like and my sister doesn’t care about fashion ever.

    And I feel like I have to be pretty for them or I might let them down, too. Because they think of me as pretty.

    But it’s way more than that– somehow, my being coordinated and sophisticated and pretty is a way of trying to prove my worth. And, if I’m honest, also my superiority. And I worry that that’s why we put effort into our appearances all the time– because we think that there is only so much sophistication to go around, and so we need to make the most of it and grab our fair share all of the time, no matter who we are surrounded by and no matter how much love is coming our direction……

  18. Jess responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    My only relationship-based attractiveness insecurity? Redheads. And he says that’s silly because he’s always wanted brunettes. Curly ones, specifically. I fit the bill tidily.

    Being so well matched and loved has definitely helped. While I miss the days of dressing up for him because the ritual had a nice, exciting feeling to it, I enjoy not doing it almost as much. I don’t worry about my tummy. I don’t worry about looking any specific way. I worry when I break out because thats just not a pretty *feeling*. But I don’t worry when I put on a bikini. As long as I’m with him. When I’m in a group of other women, well… that’s a lot harder to pull off. As much as I’m very comfortable with the range of body types my friends have (thin, rounded, larger breasts than mine, smaller breasts than mine) I can’t help making comparisons. And feeling guilty when I come out on top– and not because I fit a certain standard they don’t. I sometimes envy the small breasts. I sometimes don’t. It’s all in the moment and the presentation.

    But the need to compare? It’s some weirdly feminine thing we think is for guys. Really, its probably tangentially about them in the desire to look like an alpha female and thus attract the best mates. But if you’re already someone’s alpha? Then it becomes a self contained status race. Damn evolution.

  19. Liz responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    you know how i feel about this post since i messaged you before typing this lol. still, i just wanted to leave a comment saying that i found it really refreshing and so true. made me smile! thanks!

  20. Kate responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    @Jess
    I like that you say it’s all in the moment. I think that’s true. What you find beautiful can change– beauty can change. It’s nice to acknowledge how inconsistent the reality is, especially when it’s easy to slip into imagining permanence and unyielding regulations.

    I feel like there is probably a quicker, clearer way to put that.

    Sigh.

  21. Kate responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    @Liz
    Thanks for doing both!

  22. aria responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    “I wanted his family to think I was pretty and his friends to think I was pretty and his boss and his coworkers to think I was pretty”. I KNOW! I so get you. Even if I’m only engaged with my boyfriend, since the engagement I feel all eyes are on me, and NEED to feel pretty All the time. This makes me feel better about me.

  23. Carmen responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    I actually agree with Melanie, and it is something I’ve thought about as I read (and enjoy) your blog, so I don’t think it’s so much criticism as a good question, and one worth considering. It helps me knowing when I have realized that the things I accepted unquestioningly are indeed antiquated and unnecessary ideas. I really agree with her question and am wondering your actual answer.

  24. Sarah responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    This is such a great topic, and it is so very true. Although it wasn’t an overt thought I had before getting married, I always had this undercurrent of feeling that I would finally stop feeling ‘fat’ if I heard enough times that I was not…and that includes hearing it from the man I marry. Who, like Bear, has this crazy habit of insisting I am the prettiest girl ever.

    Turns out, it wasn’t the case. Although my body image has improved drastically ove the years, I still have hangups. And although I obviously accept that I will always have SOME hangups, I don’t accept that I should have this many. Especially not at 29 and whilst married. So rather than magically feeling beautiful all the time, I get frustrated a lot of the time because I still worry about stupid, inconsequential things when I have no need! It’s definitely not about our partners, for sure.

    As an aside, I’d love to see you write a post about this: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3698436.html (if the link doesn’t work, it’s an article titled “Death of marriage the path to equality”.

  25. teegan responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    ah. i feel like i comment all of the time here. oh well. it’s because you sound like i sound.
    hubby tells me all the time how beautiful i am. and not in that i-have-to-say-this-because-you’re-my-wife way, but while we’re in the midst of romantic interaction and with such awe and joy that i can’t not believe him. i tell him it’s because of him, because of us.
    and then i look in the mirror after said encounter and see that my hair is a rat’s nest and i haven’t magically lost the twenty pounds i thought i had for him to look at me like that.
    i still dress up for hubby. but not just for him. yes, he loves my skirts and dresses and stockings, but he loves my blue jeans and my flannel shirts and my cords, too. but i think part of it is that i dress up for me. i dress up (or at least change out of pajamas on a daily basis) so that i feel confident and capable of productivity (and so that i get more decent tips at the coffeeshop – though there customers like me more for my brain and my hippie ways – the other girls there are more about the revealing clothing). but i don’t worry about clothes nearly as often as i once did. i don’t try on 4-5 outfits before i choose one (except for job interviews and the like). i don’t fret all day about whether i made the right decision. is this because i’m married or because i’m finally sufficiently happy with what i look like – or both? i don’t know.
    and, yes, hubby says that he finds and has found people like ani difranco and angela bassett and tori amos quite attractive. but he loves me.
    you’re right. that does feel better than pretty – though it definitely makes feeling pretty easier.

  26. teegan responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    oh, and i definitely identify with wanting his family to at least think you’re somewhat cute and put together, especially when you/i don’t make much money. but it helps that he has an ex-wife, and that she was so entirely crazy and cruel and wrong for him that anyone would have to be nuts to consider me a step down.

  27. Kayla Lane responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Regarding the arguments about you “antiquated views of womanhood”:

    In my opinion, a lot of your blog posts *do* feature an antiquated or stereotypical view of womanhood. However, the distinction here is that you do not endorse these views nor do you reject them automatically. Instead, in a manner that reminds me very much of Zen practice and modern psychotherapy techniques, you simply are curious and aware of these views about yourself (or women in general). You take the time to engage in critical inquiry with them, while the majority of the time resisting the urge to punish or judge yourself for having these thoughts. You simply cultivate awareness around them and open up a forum for a dialogue about them.

    And that, in my humble opinion, is brave, inspiring, and necessary.

  28. Sooz responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I think it’s nice that your husband tells you how beautiful you are all the time. My husband stopped saying that long ago. I wish he still let me know if he thinks I’m “hot” and “sexy”. When the husband doesn’t say it you start thinking “maybe he isn’t so attracted to me”. And I still feel like I’d want to be thought of as attractive and “hot”.

  29. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Bravo for Bear, what a lovely (and lucky!) man:)

  30. Kristine responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Kate,
    It’s funny that you are insecure about your nose. I always wanted a nose like yours. I like noses that stand out and are regal looking. Mine is noticeable and it’s not small, but I always wanted a longer, pointier one.

    My boyfriend tells me how great he thinks I look all the time and that when we met he thought he didn’t have a chance with me because of the way I look (which is ridiculous as he is a very good looking guy). The only thing that really made me insecure is that his ex girlfriends and people he had dated in the past looked nothing like me. While I normally would not have been intimidated by them, because he dated them it sort of made me feel like maybe that was what he wanted. The girls that were less attractive than me actually made me the most insecure. Even when he admitted he wasn’t that attracted to them, he just liked them, that made me feel sort of worse. Because then i was thinking “what amazing traits did they have that made up for him not being physically attracted to them? are they amazingly smart? great in bed? have some sort of hidden talent?” And if I wasn’t someone he was as attracted to, and I looked like them, would he have still dated me based on my personality? I know it’s neurotic and stupid but it ran through my mind at some point. His first girlfriend who was pretty (and also nice) I understood right away what he saw in her and I didn’t feel threatened, but the ones where I didn’t get it that made me feel insecure. Isn’t that weird?

  31. Stephanie Ivy responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    I’ve never been in a relationship. But, this year I seem to have hit some weird Cinderella phase where suddenly I am magically visible to guys! And lots of them flirt with me! And lots of them ask me out!

    I always thought I just wasn’t pretty enough, and that if I changed that it would be better. Only…it doesn’t work like that. The attentions great, and yeah, it has eased some of my insecurities. But it’s not the magic bullet, because I’m still looking for that spark with someone. I don’t want everyone, I want the right someone. So it’s weird still and flattering but…I don’t know. Not what I thought it would be, I guess.

  32. lisa responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    here’s a slightly different version of the same thing, I think. I am the mother of a four year old. All my life I’ve been a slobby girl and didn’t care, house and person the same attitude: love me, love my mess. and they did. boys and girls – I never had too many problems attracting people. I met my husband and my attitude didn’t change a jot. But. As soon as I had my baby… The house has to be clean and tidy and, as a mother, I have to be presentable, coordinated, polished. I want my child (I hope it’s not because he’s a boy, I doubt it, but how would I know?) to have a perfect home and a perfect mummy. Slobby, hairy, messy, gloriously unkempt mummy would be a let down, no?
    Perhaps it is just an expression of how much we love the other person that we want them to live in a fairytale of perfection at all times; that the self-applied pressure is a form of giving love?

  33. Val responded on 06 Dec 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    You know, I think insecurity about appearance is a handy place to direct all nebulous anxiety about measuring up, expectations, fitting in.

    It’s almost like a metaphor for all the things in life we don’t have really have control over. “If only I were beautiful then life would be perfect.”

    And yet there are plenty of examples of physical perfection who do not have perfect lives. We know one doesn’t lead to the other and that it’s a superficial measurement.

    But it’s like a default setting.

    I thought I’d feel like I’d arrived when I reached 30, a magical age of credibility to me.

    Got there, and was still me.

    I thought when I finished my degree then I’d feel, what? Different.

    Well, I was glad to have finished that, but you guessed it, still me.

    Then one goal after another have followed and been reached, and I still have times when I feel insecure, and when I’m already feeling a little unsure is usually when I pass by a mirror and recoil in shock at the appearance of my NECK! Or how I look like death with my Einstein bed hair.

    Coming to terms with feelings goes on for a lifetime in one form or another, and it’s probably part of what makes us human.

    Thanks for writing this very beautiful blog. love, Val

  34. sophie responded on 07 Dec 2011 at 4:20 am #

    The bit about feeling you let him down by not being pretty enough? Yeah, I can identify with that. When my boyfriend does something amazing for me I sometimes find myself thinking “he deserves someone prettier/taller with longer/more toned legs” what the hell is that all about?!?!

  35. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 07 Dec 2011 at 9:39 am #

    well, my last experience wasn’t so good in that department…i married a man who professed an attraction to one certain type, but all private viewing was a blatant contradiction to that which was professed…i considered a boob job because he loved looking at fake boobs…and was VERY confused when he didn’t want ME to have them…????…hypocrisy is a sore spot with me…however, i learned a lot from that experience…men can be shallow too! :)

  36. melissa responded on 07 Dec 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I read an article when I was really young that said women are only pressured to look good by other women and feel like we are in competition with each other.

    It really rung true with me because the only reason I cared about things like shaving my legs was because of the girls in elementary refusing to be nice to other girls who didn’t.

    But luckily for me, that was pretty much as far as that went. I never went on diets growing up, never learned about makeup, never learned how to dress well…

    I think only one man ever pressured me to look a certain way…

    I don’t obsess much over my own appearance though I don’t think it has to do with any long term relationship. I have to wonder if I just emotionally age faster or something and have just… gotten over it? I don’t know.

  37. tirzahrene responded on 08 Dec 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Has my relationship with my appearance changed because of a romantic partner? Yes, yes it did. At first it changed because for the first time in my life I felt like it was okay to show off a bit. And it changed in two ways together because a) I got a LOT of positive affirmation from him on my appearance and b) I also got a lot of subtle criticism and the message that I really, really needed to stay in a certain range of appearance to be okay. (Read: Above all, stay super thin.) I came out of that relationship feeling like I’m reasonably gorgeous and like I don’t need to be that perfect to still be seen as beautiful.

    Now (heaviest weight ever, yep) I’m dating someone who likes my looks. Including my crazy hair that’s been probably five different colors this year.

    But I look like me, this shape or any shape, and that’s one thing I’m determined to keep no matter what. To look like myself – whether it’s kinda punk today or business wear tomorrow or fleecy giant lavender sweats or the footie onesie PJs my boyfriend gave me for my birthday – and if you don’t like it, that’s okay, there are plenty of other women you can go after. I clean up pretty well, and I do my best to dress appropriately (I still can’t figure out why purple hair is weird when purple scarves aren’t), and I think that’s as much as anyone needs to ask of me.

  38. Kate responded on 08 Dec 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    @tirzahrene
    I don’t see any reason why purple hair shouldn’t be perfectly fine.
    I’m glad you’re not with the first guy anymore. One of my friends was recently with a guy like that. His requirements were subtle but constant. It messed with her a lot. I’m glad you came out confident!

  39. Steph responded on 08 Jun 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    I just found your fantastic blog and I immediately started devouring your posts so thrilled that SOMEONE understands where I am coming from.(It seems alot of people share that sentiment, you really are great at writing and putting into words what so many people feel it’s amazing) I wanted to comment on other posts, but I didn’t want to stop reading. This post I had to comment, this is something that I have been trying to figure out for a couple years now and you somehow perfectly described everything I feel. I constantly, obssesively would wonder what Billy’s (my husband) friends think about me I would try to pretend that I didn’t care that I was comfortable with myself flaws and all (I SO SO was not comfortable) I always wonder when we walk passed an attractive women if Billy was comparing me to her (which seemed to start after we got married which seems backwards but it is how I felt) or If I was letting him down for not gradually becoming more attractive because I honestly thought that he did expect that of me. Needless to say it lead to many arguements and breakdowns and tears and it still does. I have a lot of growing up to do I realize that I have a lot of growing up to do but after reading all your great posts I think I may have found a starting point finally. Enough magazines and fashion blogs I need to read things and fill my head with thoughts and writings that actually matter, because reading your posts make me feel good reading and obbsessing about ideal beauty makes me feel like trash. How could I not have tried to find blogs like yours sooner, I don’t know, maybe denial that if I obsessed enough I would transform into a beautiful butterfly or some shit. I know this comment is filled with spelling errors and grammer mistakes but bear with me because I truly am grateful for your vulnerability and how well you articulate your feelings. It makes me feel good about myself which unfortunately is a rarity. So thank you thank you thank you and keep writing!! Lots of love and respect
    Steph