I have been insecure about my looks for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it began in middle school, when a male classmate told me I was ugly over AIM. Or maybe it’s because I’m a female and societal beauty standards are impossibly high.
But this is not a piece about why I am insecure.
All that matters is that you know I am insecure about my physical appearance.
It may be important that you know the specifics. So, here goes. I hate my boobs (too small). I hate my height (too tall). I hate my skin (too prone to breakouts). I hate my hips (too wide). I could go on and on and I’m sure many women have similar laundry lists.
Here’s the thing: I have found that because I am self-conscious about what I look like, I take particular pride in other elements of my being. A few examples:
• I think I have a great moral compass. Sure, I’ve made a few mistakes in my life, but generally I believe I’m a good person.
• I believe I am smart. I understand concepts quicker than many, and I am very articulate.
• I know I am social. I have the ability to strike up a conversation with almost anyone and I believe most people like me.
You see, despite my sometimes-crippling anxiety about my looks, I have managed to remain confident about almost every other area of my life.
This leads me to a recent revelation. In the past, every time a guy has chosen a friend over me or walked away from our conversation in a bar, I chalk it up to my looks.
Damn, must be too tall for him, I think. Or oh, her boobs are much bigger than mine.
Then, a guy I was hooking up with recently asked me on a date. I had high hopes for the situation, but then he failed to follow up. I was crushed. Soon after, he “ghosted” me completely. Answered texts sporadically, then stopped contacting me at all. Done. Just like that.
This time, I couldn’t blame it on my #1 insecurity. He actually loved the way I looked. He loved my boobs, worshipped my hips and called me beautiful when I was fresh out the shower, breakouts and all.
My thoughts went something like this: if he thinks I am beautiful and still doesn’t like me, I must be damaged in more ways than one. He’s not interested in dating me because I am me. Because of who I am on the inside. Maybe I am not a good person, smart, or social. There must be something wrong with me on an emotional, mental, and intellectual level. Without saying anything at all, he was basically telling me “It’s not me, it’s you. YOU SUCK!” (If you think this line of thinking is fucked up, it’s probably because it is. But if you’ve been ghosted, I’m sure you’ve lived in this hellish circle of doubt.)
Once I got out of my own head and talked it over with a friend, I realized that there are a million other conclusions I can draw from this guy “ghosting” me. He could not be ready for anything serious. He could have decided that we simply weren’t compatible. Maybe he misses an ex.
Unfortunately, I will probably never know.
In a perfect world, any time you exit a relationship — or even a fling, in my case — you would be able to hand your former lover a feedback form. Just like magazines ask you why you stopped subscribing, or a company asks you why you took a different job, you should be able to ask for some honest, straightforward feedback.
What did I do wrong? Did I even do anything wrong?
Since this feedback form doesn’t currently exist and people will continue to disappear without any explanation, we are left with the unknown.
But that doesn’t mean we should automatically assume that we are broken. If I am any example, we already have enough insecurities. To anyone who’s ever been ghosted — don’t take this as an opportunity to add more to your list. It’s not always about you.