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Tag Archives: self-confidence

Genetics Can Be Cruel

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When I was a teenager, I had acne. Not just one or two little zits. I mean, I had acne.

I took antibiotics. I used several different types of topical creams. I used light therapy in my doctor’s office (which, by the way, smells weird). I took birth control pills, which caused me to gain 10 pounds. I took Accutane.

I hated looking in the mirror. I felt ugly. My face hurt. I just wanted to be normal.

I still have oily skin. I still take various and sundry medications/creams to try to get it under control. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel 100% beautiful and “normal.” And now, I’ve passed it on to my kids.

Two of my three kids have acne. My son’s is the worst. It’s red and angry. The problem is that he also has inherited my husband’s sensitive skin, so finding something that works on his skin without causing other irritation is proving difficult.

I took both kids to the dermatologist a few days ago. He prescribed a cream for both of them to use in the morning. My son used his and his worst spots looked SO MUCH BETTER. The problem is that EVERYWHERE the medicine touched is now bright red.

If it’s not one thing it’s another. At least if he were a girl he could wear makeup without thinking twice about it. Being a boy, that’s not really an option these days. Not yet, at least.

I hope that his skin calms down. He’s such a wonderful, bright, fun, beautiful kid, it kills me that he might be thinking that he’s “less than” because of his skin, as I have done most of my life.

Genetics can be really cruel.

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Do I Look Good Naked?

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I’ve been doing a lot of knitting lately, as you can imagine. Since I basically lost the last two weeks to sickness and other projects, I’m hankering down and getting work done on my book.

It involves a lot of sitting and knitting, or sitting and typing out the patterns, so I’ve been looking for things to watch while doing so. This is when I get on Netflix or Hulu and watch things my kids can’t hear, so I plug in my earbuds and work while watching. I’ve watched a bunch of things lately, but today I discovered a show called “How to Look Good Naked” hosted by Carson Kressley (formerly of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy).

I turned it on, thinking that this would be a show about getting in shape and looking great. Actually, it’s kind of the opposite. It’s a show about women of all shapes and sizes (although none I’ve seen are really obese) and who have horrible body image issues. He works with them on their confidence and tries to get them to love their bodies and see the GOOD parts, not just the “bad” parts… and also to look at their “problem areas” in a new light. This involves the women stripping down to their underwear and taking a long, hard look in the mirror.

That’s how I’d feel, buddy.

I think this is something all women could use, but I tried to imagine myself doing this on TV and the thought almost sent me into fits. Carson takes a photo of them in undies, crops the head off, and hangs it up in Santa Monica for all to see, and asks people what they think. They’re always positive responses. The cynic in me says that they edit out all the negative ones, or simply that people who are asked on tv will always say something nice.

Once they’ve gotten fitted for proper undergarments that flatter, new clothes, and a makeover, they do a nude photoshoot (tasteful). The photo is hung up HUGE again in a public area and the woman has to go up to people and say, “How do I look?” or “Do I look good naked?” I’ve often thought about my own journey of self-awareness. I’ve thought about posting photos of me “before” and “after” exercising and eating right. I’ve thought about posting the picture of me in the Leia Bikini. But the two things that keep me from doing that are 1) Everyone wanting to throw up when they see the photo and 2) Being judged as vain for even posting those photos.

And here it is the summer, and I’ve gained back the 6 pounds I’d lost a few months ago. I don’t want to put on a bathing suit. I don’t want to take the kids to the pool if it means I have to get in the pool. Part of me says maybe I just need my own Carson in my pocket to bring out whenever I need him and make peace with my body. The other part of me says that I can do something about what I look like, so I should just do it.

While I think that I DO need to accept who I am and LOVE who I am, I also think that if I stop watching what I eat, stop exercising (yeah, I know, I just started up again), and just said, “I love myself,” what would happen? If I continued on how I was living, I’d just keep gaining weight. Then the question is how big do I let myself get and still love myself? Am I really taking care of myself if I’m living that way? Is it a good example for my kids?

I suppose the answer, ultimately, is a mix of the two. I need to feed my body better, take care of it by being active AND love myself in the process.

Well, this is me, Sunday at the gym (don’t tell them I took a picture in their facility!).

This photo isn’t my best, but it isn’t my worst. I took it on Sunday, the first day back to “real exercise” in ages. I’m not where I want to be- physically and mentally- but I’m taking steps to get there.

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What do YOU think?

What do YOU do to help yourself love yourself? How do you make peace with yourself at all sizes, or do you?