It’s true; they are. Well, the skin beneath the actual hair of my eyebrows and above my eyelids is, to be exact. Is that technically still the eyebrow? For this particular conversation with myself/blog post, let’s just say it is still the “eyebrow”; and that brow is drooping.
The skin is starting to sag. Proof: how else would my eyeliner somehow manage to get from above my lash line to my “eyebrows”? I noticed it when I looked in my car visor mirror the other morning. My first thought: “How can I fix this without surgery or Botox?”.
Just another flaw to deal with and try to cover up. It’s exhausting to be not-me. The other day a good friend inquired over lunch about my potential boyfriend status. “Do you know any decent guys?” was my response. She asked me about giving the online dating sites a shot. “I’ve tried them all over the years.” But how was I supposed to meet someone, she inquired. She even offered to manage my online dating profile for me. “Hmmm, I’ll think about it”, but what I was thinking was “I don’t belong on those sites.”
Just like with the drooping eyebrows, I have been trying to find a way to hide or get rid of some part or two or three of my body, of me, for … as long as I can remember. “I can’t go on those dating sites because I’m too fat and though I might get a couple of winks or messages, when it comes time to meet, and the guy sees the complete package in-person he will be disappointed, feel jipped.” That’s what I was really thinking.
Being not-me is tiring. Hiding this, tucking that. Finding the right clothes to camouflage the cellulite or extra curves, the shoes that give the illusion of my legs being longer and making my thighs look thinner, the right lipstick to make my lips look fuller, and now … practicing just the right face so that my eyebrows don’t sag as much but at the same time doesn’t crinkle my forehead because then that would cause more lines, dare I say the word … wrinkles, on my once smooth, untainted forehead. TIE. ER. ING. TIRING. Tiring even just typing it; admitting it out loud, putting it out there into cyberspace.
I was a “heavy” kid. My mother would try to console me and tell me I was just “big-boned”. I shopped in the “husky” kids section at Sears. Husky. Who the heck wants to be referred to as husky? Who even came up with that thinking it was a good marketing tool for the “fat kids” section? I was always the fattest of my friends, or at least that’s how it seemed in my mind. Honestly, it still does. Kids are honest. Kids are mean. Those mean words stuck with me. I don’t blame them. I was a prime target because, regardless of my size, my insecurity made me an easy target. I reeked of self-doubt and co-dependency (co-dependency … that’s a whole ‘nother post of its own to take on!); it’s just like with animals in the wild, they can smell out the weak ones.
I am now 37 years-old, and I’m exhausted. Exhausted from years of disguising and pretending and trying to please … everyone but myself. Defining myself by my physical appearance, my shape, my size. I don’t want to be that girl, that woman. I want to be a better person for myself, for my nieces and nephews, for the children that I often fear I may never have. For my mother and father who gave me the gift of life and pieces of themselves that I should take pride in, not disguise. I’m at a point in my life where I just want to be healthy and inspired and fulfilled. The next time someone asks me about dating I don’t want my appearance to be the first thing that comes to mind. I don’t want my immediate definition of myself to be, “I’m the fat girl”. Bigger than the rest of my friends, or the rest of the world, saggy “eyebrows”, round thighs … I don’t want all of that to define me. Those things, what I am and not who I am, have owned my self-definition my whole life, pretty much. That self-definition, that lack of self-respect is what the kids of my youth smelled on me; it’s what people in my adult life smell because that is what I am putting out there. Granted, I have gotten better … a little better … a little easier on myself, but I smell it, and I don’t like it. I cannot change people’s opinions of me, I can only change the perception of myself that I put out there for their interpretation. Repeat.
I have been up and down the scale. I have done the cabbage soup diet (as early as fourth grade), the fat-free diet, the Atkins diet, I have worked out obsessively and denied myself nourishment. I’ve worked out the right way and eaten the right way and lived the right way, and then fallen off track, gotten back on again, and fallen back off again deeper into the abyss, most recently because I invested myself in a relationship, a man, who was not good enough for me but I settled, because I though he was the best I could do. I have been painfully skinny and painfully overweight. But have I ever truly been 100% me? 100% happy and at peace?
“I’m so tired of saying no, and waking up in the morning and recalling everything I ate the day before – counting every calorie I consumed so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt.” – Liz (as portrayed by Julia Roberts) in Eat Pray Love
AMEN, Liz. I want to be you. Strike that. I want to be me, with an attitude like you.
I’m working on it.