June 25, 2013

This Is Why It’s So Hard To Love Yourself

You could be better, you know.

Thinner. Have a flatter stomach. Why must your thighs touch? Muscle, schmuscle. They don’t need to be that big. Just be prettier. Maybe you could start by taming your hair. Also that un-perfect complexion is something you could have taken care of back in high school. You know, maybe if you ate like a bird, you’d finally fit into those jeans you love and your skin would be perfect.

Oh, you bike every day? Cool. What about some real exercise? Why can’t you go running like everyone else? Bad knees, huh? Maybe you’re just lazy.

And you know what? Why don’t you spend some time getting a real job and saving some money instead of trying to make “being an artist” happen and living paycheck to paycheck? You’re never going to be as good as everyone else; maybe you should go back to school and get a real degree. I mean, your brother didn’t finish college, but he joined the Navy. As a SAR swimmer. He serves his country; he helps people. What have you done, exactly? You work in storefront theatre by night and pour lattes by day? Sweet. Let me know how that works out for you.

Hit the loop pedal. Replay. Daily. Hourly. Every time I look in the mirror, or spend just a little too long letting my brain wander.

But I tell others to love themselves and embrace themselves for who they are, and fuck anyone who tells them that they aren’t good enough. Don’t change because someone else wants you to, I say. Be you; be confident, and be you. I don’t care what you look like, who you love, or what kind of background you come from. If you’re real with me, you have my respect.

Yes, agrees society. Be you. Be bold, be confident. Be you. Don’t be so down on yourself. You aren’t supposed to look like an airbrushed model, and you aren’t supposed to look a Barbie doll. I mean, have you seen her? If she was a real live woman, she should wouldn’t be able to walk upright with her proportions; people have done studies on this.

But hey, while we’re on the subject of bodies, can I give you 7 tips to get a flatter belly by the weekend? No? Perhaps you’d be interested in seeing Jessica Alba’s perfect beach body — before the cellulite. It’s okay though. We’ve got procedures and lotions and creams that can get rid of that perfectly natural (but gross!) human affliction.

Listen, though. You should definitely love yourself, society says with a smile. But be careful. You don’t want to love yourself too much. If you’re too confident and too proud, people are going to think you’re arrogant and vain. You might look nice-ish in that dress, but don’t enjoy it too much. And you definitely shouldn’t post a self-picture of it on Facebook, because that means you’re immature and vain without a shadow of a doubt. Yes, you just opened a kickass show, so you’re allowed to celebrate and dress up and feel good about yourself, but try not to be too happy about it.

And don’t forget to shave your legs before you go out in public with that dress. Women aren’t supposed to have visible leg hair. But we can direct you to the best deals on shave-minimizing lotion, if you’d like. As a matter of fact, Dove makes some of those aforementioned lotions, and they just did a really awesome campaign about women’s bodies and loving the skin you’re in. You should check it out. Once you’re done, though, you should really check out that lotion, and maybe pick up some of their deodorant while you’re at it. You don’t want to smell like a dirty human on your big night, right?

And you know what? says society, I think it’s awesome that you’re pursuing your artistic dreams. Don’t ever think that you’re not good enough, not talented enough, or too old to be successful. You can do anything you put your mind to — within reason. There are insanely successful actors and musicians who didn’t get their break until they were almost twice your age, and some of them weren’t even trying that hard.

That being said, if you want be successful, you might give some thought to practicing a little more. Or: you could move out to L.A., BUT you’d probably want to tone up a little first. And maybe work an extra job or two; it costs money to live in California, and since you haven’t started saving for a rainy day yet, you should probably contribute a little to a new savings account. Plus, that retirement fund isn’t going to fill itself!

Oh, wait. I just noticed your tattoos and piercings, says society with disdain. Never mind. I guess you could always become a musician, but your acting career is probably down the drain. Though, on second thought, most of your musician friends are years ahead of you in skill. Maybe you could go back to school for a real degree and just play music as a cute little hobby? We know some great online schools if you need a recommendation. And we can give you some good literature on recent studies regarding “degrees that definitely won’t get you hired,” if you’re so inclined to read them. You’re never too old to go back to school and make a decent human being out of yourself.

And you’re going to want a decent job in the future so you can provide for your children — which of course, you will have. It’s totally your choice, but we want you to have them. We’ll even send you ridiculous amounts of coupons for cheap diapers!

Look, society says. It’s not that we want you to give up on your dreams, or change who you are, or hate yourself. We just want you to be the best “you” you can be. We’ll always be here to help guide you and tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, and we’ll promise to keep you confident but grounded. Not too confident, though. And not too grounded. We’ll always try to give you self-love encouragement, and if you’re ever feeling especially down on yourself, we’ll always have suggestions for how to make yourself feel better — whether it’s a list of heart-healthy calorie-free snacks, or the latest photo collection of celebrities doing something we think is stupid. We’ve got spanx and push-up bras for the days you feel ugly, and sea salt hair spray and fake tanner for those days that you want to look extra sexy at the beach. We’re armed with success stories of people twice your age in your chosen career field, and a lengthy list of folks who went back to school for new degrees and became millionaires.

And we love your tattoos and piercings — they’re so edgy and artsy. But if you ever want to fit in, we’ve got a few suggestions for how to cover them to score a sweet 9 to 5 job. All you have to do is ask!

Hey, Lindsey. Good talk, society says with a smile. Keep up the balance; don’t ever be idle, but find some time for self-love. Eat healthy and get some fresh air now and then, but take some sunscreen with you and watch your portion size, even with vegetables.

Looking forward to our next chat, sugarpie. Get back to us when you’ve hidden that zit on your chin. TC mark

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image – Flickr/Javier Delgado.
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Lindsey Gavel

Lindsey Gavel is an outspoken and opinionated atheist, feminist, and cyclist living in Chicago. She graduated from …