Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Artist Formerly Known as B.A.

I don't like looking at pictures of myself.

Consequently, I don't like all of you looking at pictures of myself.

Because these days, those photos tell me things I don't like to hear.

Not that I'm not pretty.

Pretty is as pretty does.

Pretty is fleeting and unimportant.

I was raised in a household where pretty was a way to make a living and a way to have fun; not a means of defining one's self. Both of my parents made sure that all three of us girls had a sense of worth that was independant of our physical attributes.

So though I've always known that I'm not a conventional beauty, I appreciate my assets and I don't lament my lack of cookie cutter features.

Okay, okay...maybe once or twice I have fantasized about a slender, aqualine nose. Maybe once or twice, I used my birthday wishes to wish for a nose like Elizabeth Montgomery's. And maybe, in the eighties, I might have played a little fast and loose with the contouring techniques.

But aside from that...not being a legendary beauty has not been a great tragedy in my life.

I like to feel beautiful of course. What women doesn't? There are days that I feel like the most beautiful woman on the planet. This is due in large part to my husband, who tells me in word and deed, that I am beautiful to him.

He has done so when I was a size 8. He has done so when I was a size 22. He has meant it just as much the latter as the former. Perhaps more.

So why the reluctance to have my picture taken?

Because the images that I see do not match the way that I feel. The way that think. The way that I move and breathe and exist. I do not want to think of myself as a fat woman, because the skin I wear does not feel like that of a fat woman. Except when I have to unzip it to sit down.

Pictures are irrefutable proof of that. Pictures don't allow me to hide from myself.

And pictures tell me that once again, I've allowed apathy and impotence to triumph over strength and empowerment. Six months ago, the pictures told a much different story, you see.

And I suppose too, that there is that secret, stabbing fear that all fat people experience...that you will think less of me as a person, a writer, a human being if you can see for yourself who and what I am.

What I look like does not summarize me as a person.

I know that. Most of the time.

But when I see a picture of myself, just for an instant, I see a person I am ashamed of. If I don't look, I don't have to confront that shame. And I suppose a part of me has always thought that if I don't allow you to look, then you can't disapprove and you won't judge. You will still admire me in your ignorance of who I really am.

I could post a picture of myself from 2005, when I lost 60 pounds. I could pretend that I haven't allowed it to come creeping back, pound by agonizing pound.

But fuck that. This is me. As I am. Today. Not six months ago. Not fifteen years ago.

I am 38 years old. I am currently a size 16. At the moment, I have approximately six chins. You can't see it, but my ass, though pleasingly shaped, has it's own zip code.

Ta Da.

Ha. Ya snooze. Ya lose. What? You didn't expect me to LEAVE it up there didja? Look, there is little enough mystery in life. Let's enjoy it where we can find it, shall we?


  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger thailandchani said…

    Well, from another Size 16 - I think you are very pretty, just as you are. :)

  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger S said…

    You're beautiful. That's true. You have a gorgeous mouth, gorgeous eyes. And man, those brows! I need you over here ASAP to help me with mine.

    Nice to meet you. I like who I see looking back at me.

  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger Jammie J. said…

    But you ARE pretty, beautiful.
    In that picture you are pretty.
    But also in this blog you reveal incredible beauty and insight and that comes from your heart.

  • At 11:27 AM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    From another size 16, 38-year old, I think you are beautiful! We women are are own worst enemy and always see flaws that others can't see.

  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger we_be_toys said…

    Girl I know wereof you speak - I was a size 10/12 forever and since college (almost 20 years ago) its been creeping up. If its any comfort, you have less chins than I do (or even the Chinese phone book, for that matter!)- I know, cold MF comfort. I didn't want to post pictures of myself either, but I figure if I have to look at them, it might make me put down the damn box of cookies! Kudos to you for your personal bravery!

  • At 12:00 PM, Blogger Gross|Photo said…

    Lookin' fine to me. Other people seldom see you as you see yourself. I'd stand and watch you in the mirror all day. (c:}

  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger Sharon L. Holland said…

    So are your bookshelves always that neat? Because THAT makes me envious.

    And we are the same size. On a good day.

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Oh thank you for sharing that! You are not what I pictured at all! You look too young to have boys your boys' ages... Beautiful ~ no matter what size you are!

    But as a former size 18... I know how you feel.

    Knowing you from only reading your blog... you're as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside...

    Thanks for sharing!! :)

  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger jennie said…

    you ARE pretty, and no kidding about the perfect brows. lovely.

  • At 12:53 PM, Blogger abogada said…

    I am a size 16 too. I am up from a size 10, having gained 40 pounds in the last 8 years. The truth is that it just didn't come off after my daughter was born, and I've added to it since then as the result of a weak will.

    My husband has never said I'm beautiful -- ever, though on a handful of occasions, he has said I look "nice." You are very lucky, indeed.

  • At 1:18 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    You are beautiful, Both inside and out. I too understand the fear, but applaud you for sharing this wonderful photo to all me to put a face to a name.

  • At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ohhhhh, you're BEAUTIFUL! i purposely did not scroll down to look before i finished reading and you really did yourself a disservice. what i was expecting and what i saw were two different people. you ought to be ashamed of yourself. based on your description, i was expecting a worn-out, overweight, tired mom and what i got was a gorgeous, classy-looking, talented woman who should describe herself as such! it's nice to put a face to the person who is such a wonderful storyteller!

  • At 1:38 PM, Blogger Slackermommy said…

    You are beautiful! How can you deny those bedroom eyes?! I do know what you mean though. I am way hotter in my mind and I feel comfortable in my skin until I see a photo then I have to face that I'm not all that!

  • At 1:45 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    Oh goodness, thank you SOOO much for posting that! I've been thinking so many of the same thoughts. What happened to me? Why does the mirror defy what's in my mind? I'm a size 16 and hating myself for it. Hell, I'm unemployed and hating myself for that, too. Oh, and old, too!

    Thanks for posting what I couldn't, but should have. You are absolutely beautiful, inside and out!


  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger Liv said…

    You are a beautiful person. And I can say as someone who has lost a *lot* of weight, that now as a size 4, I still can't believe that I am. For me, the sadness is that no matter how small I am, I still feel fat. I still look at size large clothing when I know I'm a small. Now, I'm not expecting anyone to cry me a river, but it saddens me that I'm no happier for what I thought I'd be happy to accomplish. Make sense?

  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I have ALWAYS wondered what you looked like. Always.

    You are gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

    Thank you for posting a picture. :)

  • At 2:20 PM, Blogger Chanda (aka Bea) said…

    I couldn't have said it better myself. I love reading your posts, because 9 times out of 10 Im usually thinking "yeah, what she said!". This post is no different. And for what it's worth, you are very pretty, and I'd kill for the sleek shiney hair. I know how you feel though. Im ususally hiding from the camera, and it's very rare you will see me in a picture. I aplaud your 'the hell with it' attitude!

    ps. thanks for posting a picture, it's nice to put a face with the blog.:)

  • At 2:43 PM, Blogger Alison said…

    You look great! Most of us hate pictures of ourselves but really, you do look like the kind, interesting person I've come to "know" through your blog.

  • At 2:51 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    From a size 22, 40 yr old - I wish I could be fat like you! Sheesh - I guess we all think of ourselves as fat - but trust me - we don't see you as fat at all. But you could use some sun LOL

    Very nice to finally be able to put a face to the excellent writing.

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    It's funny how you get an idea of how you think someone should look based on their writing and how far off that can be! That was one of the most interesting things about attending BlogHer is seeing people in real life that you kinda/sorta think you know from their blog. Even if you've seen their picture, when you see them and hear their voice all together, it's kind of a shock to the system.

    You are lovely and I would love to have that color of hair.

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I think most people don't like pictures of themselves for the reason that you mentioned. We all have a different picture of ourselves in our head, and it doesn't always match the outside. It could be the size 6 who still feels she's a size 26 or the 26 who still feels like a size 6. The picture brings us back to what others see.

    We can't see ourselves as others see us though because we fixate on our supposed flaws instead of rejoicing in our assets.

    I'll see a photo of myself and think it's awful. I'll see the same photo years later and wonder why I didn't see how beautiful I looked then and wish I looked like that now. Never satisfied.

    You are beautiful. Someone else already mentioned them, but I now suffer serious brow envy.

    By the way, a 16 is my goal size.

  • At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You, my dear, are stunning. A pretty face is only the tip of the iceberg, as your beauty truly runs way down deep.

    Love that you're in front of the books you adore.


    I don't know why I can't post a comment with my link, but whatever. For you, dahlink, anything.

  • At 5:50 PM, Blogger Mitzi Green said…

    i now totally have eyebrow envy--and i just noticed the person above me said the same thing, but dammit, i thought it first. seriously, i saw that picture and thought "how the HELL does she get her eyebrows that perfect???" mine would make you cry. and not out of jealousy, either, just out of sheer despair that such horrific specimens of facial hair exist.

  • At 6:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    you are all about posting the pictures this week! :) oddly enough, i'd pictured you as a blond.... i have no idea why! but i have to agree with the others - you are indeed beautiful!

  • At 6:34 PM, Blogger fiwa said…

    I found your blog last week via One Plus Two and have been enjoying it ever since. I just wanted to say, I think you are gorgeous. I know what you mean - I hate having my picture taken for the same reason (and dressing room mirrors, WHY do they tell a different story from the ones at home?!), but don't be so hard on yourself. You look like a normal, above average on the pretty scale, woman. And in scrolling down I saw the FSM symbol, so now I know you are wise, too. ;)

  • At 7:01 PM, Blogger Tania said…

    Not that you need us to blow sunshine up your butt, but my first thought was, "Great hair!" You are too hard on yourself.

  • At 9:29 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    That's you?? That's you!! Almost exactly what I pictured. You're a gorgeous lady and I'm so glad you decided to post your picture.

    Now, can you please come up here and give me some makeup lessons? I really need them.

  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Aw, BA...I can't even read the comments before commenting myself.

    I made sure I read and thought about every single word you wrote before I allowed myself to look at the picture. Well, at first I didn't know there would be a picture, then I hoped there would be, then I was a *tad* afraid to look.

    When I did scroll down, my jaw dropped. You are so much more beautiful than you realize, with your amazing bone structure, humongous eyes, full lips and and crazy facial symmetry.

    We are our own worst critics, remember that. And thank you for letting me see you in this new way.


  • At 10:03 PM, Blogger Mary Alice said…

    You are gorgeous inside and out...and courageous too. BTW I am a size 16....personally I am planning on bringing back the bustle and hoop's illusion baby.

  • At 10:06 PM, Blogger Cynthia said…

    Three cheers to you for speaking what many of us are afraid to ... for having husband who is clearly a wonderful man ... and most importantly for having a strong sense of self. I've been reading your blog for a few months now and always look forward to your insightful posts.

  • At 11:13 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    Size 16s unite!

    You are quite pretty. And I'm not just saying that because I am incredibly envious of your writing.

    I know what you mean about the chins though. Lately I have been trying to find an angle where I don't have so many chins...and failing. Maybe our chins can run off together and be happy somewhere far away.

  • At 11:17 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    WOW! The great unmasking!

    You've come a long way from the BA I knew who wouldn't even reveal an initial. And now here you are...absolutely striking. And surprisingly, looking so much like I had pictured you. That's the sign of a great writer with an honest heart. Rare. Wonderful.

  • At 11:22 PM, Blogger Julie Marsh said…

    Next year - BlogHer. Right?

    Okay, okay. I'll be happy with that gorgeous photo for now.

  • At 11:40 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    My ass has it's own congressman, so there. Hello, beautiful friend.

  • At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said… wonder you were able to give such fabulous beauty product suggestions. Your hair color is gorgeous. It is the one I have been trying for, but can't ever get. :(
    Never mind the eyebrows, the lashes, and the perfectly done lips. Can you come do my makeup every morning?

    Nice to put a face to a great writer. Nice to "meet" you!

  • At 1:01 AM, Blogger said…

    That's a great photo - your eyes are intense and Oh! The Beauteous Hair!

    My mom will be 70 this August. She says that she is surprised every morning when she looks in the mirror - she says that she always thinks of herself as being 17 years old on the inside.

    Meanwhile, I'm finding my first gray hairs. And yet, I have a 16 month old.

    It's so difficult sometimes to reconcile the truths of all our different selves, especially as they are all continuously changing. I'm starting to feel a bit more settled in my bones, but I completely understand the disconnects.

    That said, it's true: your eyebrows are even better than Orpah's and J. Lo's.

  • At 1:26 AM, Blogger Cathy, Amy and Kristina said…

    You are beautiful. And I am coveting the shiny, shiny hair.

  • At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A (male) friend of mine says the difference between men and women is that a kinda greasy paunchy looking guy looks at himself in the mirror, punches himself in the shoulder and says "You're lookin' good, guy!" whereas a beautiful well-dressed woman looks at herself in the mirror and runs weeping into the next room that she's too old, fat, and ugly. And it starts so early. My daughter is nine and a half with a perfect body, long strong shapely legs, beautiful face... people routinely stop me to admire her beauty "She looks like a porcelain doll." She's the kind of gal my currently size 16/18 self (down from 22) just hates. But she thinks she's fat. The girls at school told her her eyes were too big! She thinks she's not pretty.

    Makes me want to scream. We cannot see ourselves with any clarity and yet somehow we must do better at loving ourselves as we are. And most of us are real women, not anorexic models (who also think they're fat, I hear).

    Thanks for sharing your beauty. The inner self is what matters to me. You could actually be all that you fear and it wouldn't matter... your heart sings through your words. But you're also a great looking lady!


  • At 3:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love you.

    That is exactly how I feel. I see a photo and think 'is that ME???' I don't look how I feel.

    Some days I feel dang sexy, others I feel like a big fat cow. It has nothing to do with my actual physical appearance, but how I feel inside.

    And you know what? I get a lot of attention on my 'I feel dang sexy' days even though I am technically a fat chick.

    It's all about how you feel. And you should feel dang sexy all the time, cause you look like it to me (not in a sexual way, in a purely one chick to another...:) )


  • At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I thought that you were blonde too. I think it's the avatar. And I'm totally in the eyebrow-envy club.

    You've hit the nail on the head, when it comes to the mismatch between the images and the way you feel. I weigh 15kg more now than I did before I had my son. For me, it's not the photos that makes me feel bad (because there isn't anyone around to take them), it's my clothes. I love my clothes and I'm only reminded that my brain's picture of me and reality don't match when I want to wear something that no longer fits. It makes me wonder who on earth I am.

    Kelley's right that attractiveness (to other people) is more about how you feel than anything else.

    The Cerebral Mum

  • At 7:32 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    From a 33yr old creeping into a size 18 slowly (diet after xmas lol) you look great!

  • At 8:34 AM, Blogger Pgoodness said…

    Good for you, posting a picture! I, too, have been reluctant posting pictures of myself. I see fellow bloggers, all beautiful and thin posting pics all the time and think "5 years ago, I SO would be doing the same thing."

    Just the other day I was laughing at myself because my lips are all swollen with cold sores - so I made some "sexy" faces and actually posted a picture!

    As a fellow 16, I salute you and your beautiful self!

  • At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And you have gorgeous skin and startling eyes and that hair color is one I've coveted my entire life. You're a beautiful woman, B.A. and no amount of chin talk will convince me otherwise. Besides, I have a multitude of chins myself, and maybe someday, if we're ever in the same area, our chins could get together and have some lunch.


  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger Emily said…

    I don't post pics of my kids for the same reason many people don't. Pictures of me? Because I don't feel very pretty (and I am a size 4). You have inspired me. I will post one in the next week or two.

  • At 9:55 AM, Blogger the mad momma said…

    wow..! I was scrolling down reading and i see this gorgeous lady and i am like - for this she wrote all this?! she's so beautiful she should be plastering pictures everywhere. i refuse to post my pictures...

  • At 8:33 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Lovely photo to match a lovely person! And, gosh, I love the color of your hair!!

  • At 1:58 AM, Blogger JCK said…

    Your eyebrows are to die for. Definitely movie star eyebrows. 6 chins. NO. Not true. Gorgeous sheen to your hair. Best of all, honey, you've got the writer chops.

  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    missed the picture.


    you sound lovely. all that shiny red hair.


  • At 1:37 PM, Blogger Mad said…

    Ya, bum. I flaunt my size 16 self all over the blog all the time. I am what I am.


Post a Comment

<< Home