Thursday, August 19, 2010

Confidence (or lack thereof)

On Monday, Nicki posted about getting back on the workout wagon this week.  I really should follow her example.  Last spring, I had undertaken the P90X program and although I frequently cursed Tony Horton during the workouts, I did like the way I felt after they were finished.  But I got bounced off the wagon when I somehow injured my neck, and despite the fact that I'm better now, I'm enjoying being lazy far too much to pick up where I left off.  Maybe when it cools down in the fall.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Nicki mentioned that the motivating factor for her workouts at this point is because she's joining one of her best friends in a few weeks for a family vacation at a cabin (which sounds blissful).  Her best friend is probably going to see her in a swimsuit.  I'm fairly certain that Nicki's friend won't care one bit about how she looks in a swimsuit, but I totally get where Nicki is coming from.

As a married 30-harump-thing, I am past worrying about looking good for other men, but I do care how I look.  My husband likes me with little to no makeup, but I still do my face up for work everyday.  I hate that my fine, flyaway hair that never looks good more than 10 minutes after I brush it in the morning.  I fret that my clothes aren't stylish enough.

The one thing I have accepted is that, being that 30-harump-thing, I am who I am.  I hate shopping, particularly shopping for shoes.  Believe me, I would love to have cute shoes because there is just a certain je ne sais que that they add to an outfit.  The difference is subtle but definite.  But unless someone is going to source them, break them into to my exact foot contours and deliver them to me at no charge and match them to all the equally cute clothes I also don't own, I can't be bothered. I haven't trained myself to touch up my hair or makeup during the course of the day.  Once I'm out the door in the morning, what you see is what you get.  And most of the time, I'm fine with that. 

When am I not fine with it?  Two situations: 1) when I'm confronted with a terrifically stylish woman in real life and 2) when I'm going to be seeing my girlfriends.  Situation number 1 just reminds me that I'll never measure up to the people in the magazines that have stylists at their beck and call... but that some mysterious creatures manage it in real life.  This makes me feel inferior, even though I'm usually confident in my quality as a person and that has nothing to do with how I look.

Situation number 2 - well, that's just me being silly.  My friends don't care (even if they do notice) that I don't wear cute shoes - or any of the rest of it.

The thing is, most men don't really notice all the little things women do in the name of beauty.  But ladies, we do notice.  And we can be a catty bunch, no?  It's the women I'm dressing for, doing my hair for, fretting about my clothes over.

I have what you could call striking looks.  I claim "striking" with absolutely no arrogance - striking isn't the same as beautiful.  It's just I have the kind of looks that people notice.  I'm so blonde and pale that I've been asked on numerous occasions if I'm albino.  Do you SEE red eyes here people?  No?  Then I'm not an albino - watch a little Discovery channel now and then.  I used to be so skinny that people asked without compunction whether I was anorexic.  (I'm not, and now that my 30 harump-thing metabolism is slowing, I don't get asked that anymore!)  But why is that okay, when mentioning someone's extra pounds is rightfully considered rude and tactless?  And if those are questions women would put to me in person, what must they be saying, or thinking, behind my back?

It shouldn't matter.  My husband loves me the way I am.  I'm successful even if I'm not beautiful.  I have good friends and a good life.  But that doesn't stop the insecure teenager buried inside me from rearing her anxious little head now and then.

It's not just me is it?  Will I ever be grown up enough to get over myself?


  1. I don't think it's a matter of getting over ourselves. I think we are simply assaulted CONSTANTLY with images of acceptable beauty that are so deeply ingrained within us that we measure ourselves all the time.

    Like you, I don't do the touch up thing. I rely on my personality more than anything. And my income makes keeping up with fashion trends impossible.

    Luckily I have a man who thinks I'm beautiful and insists on buying me clothes here and there since he has to look at me.

    PS. Thanks for the mention!

  2. I think the insecurity peeks out of everyone at random times. I don't think this is something you outgrow entirely. For me, I've gotten more and more self-confident as I've aged. I have more wrinkles, and I'm more likely to leave the house with food on my clothing than ever before, but I feel so much better about myself. But every once in a while I ride the elevator with several tall, skinny, impeccably put together women and I feel all frumpy dumpy.

  3. Keanie I think this little teen insecurity never leaves us. Even tall gorgeous elegant women have it. Not that I am one of them I am short and fat but I know people. My god you dress up for your Girlfriends?? I dont, the girls see me at my worst, when the hair needs a wash/brush and is stuffed under a hat to hide. When my house is a mess and in my torn knee jeans and garden grubby t-shirt, oh yeah anyone who turns up at my place in the weekend is likely to see me like that. I try to dress up and look nice for the blokes but as I dont have one it doesnt happen. I dress up for work as it's a corporate job but half the time forget the makeup anyway lol. Basically I am either a complete or at time semi train wreck. Basically I like me though so I am ok with who I am.

  4. I totally get where you're coming from. The insecure teenager is never far away and I often end up measuring how I look against other women, often being dissatisfied with the results! I too would love a cuter wardrobe but like you, have a lack of time + money + willingness. It's tricky: on the one hand, I don't want to be the kind of person who really cares what others think about my superficial looks; on the other hand, I like to look good and sometimes feel I should make more effort. Like you and the other commenters, however, I am very grateful to have a partner who loves me in all my different states - slobbing out on the sofa or full on groomed for a night out - and soothes my anxious insecure teenager's insecurities!

  5. I'm right there with you girl! Most of the time I am pretty comfortable in my own skin, confident, at ease etc. But once in a while, perhaps in the presence of a very put together woman or someone who I imagine is way cooler than I am, I get a little self-conscious.

    I think part of it is the insecure teenager that still lives in us all, but I think women especially have this insecurity due to the nature with wich women judge each other.