Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flawed

Last night, I felt blue. Not dark blue, just a light-ish medium blue.

Anthony had irritated me the night before. I'm sure he didn't even realize it, but he did. Irritate me, I mean. Something else has been irritating me, just under the surface, and he made it a little bit worse.

So, when I got home from work last night, I ate dinner and went for a nice, long walk. I walked passed the soccer fields, where I saw and chatted with Sarah's sister, then wandered aimlessly around the cemetary for awhile. It's a favorite walk of mine and did a lot to improve my mood, but I was still a little down.

On the way home, I had a brilliant idea; I would go to a movie all by myself - something I haven't done in awhile. I had read a review for Penelope, a movie I had never heard of previously, and it looked interesting, so I checked the local theaters and found it was playing at 9:20pm. I quickly washed my dishes, tidied up my apartment a bit, and changed into going-out clothes before heading to the theater.

I loved this movie. It's a modern-day fairy tale about a very wealthy man many, many years ago who caused a curse to fall upon the first daughter born into his family. If it was a man who caused the curse, why not curse a male, but whatever. The first girl born into the family would have a pig's face, and the curse could only be broken when someone of "their own kind" loved her, pig face and all. Several generations pass with only sons being born until the time the story starts. Penelope has a pig's snout for a nose and pig's ears that you can't really see because of her hair. In fact, she's absolutely beautiful, even with the snout, but every eligible, blue-blooded man that her mom tries to get to marry her ends up running out of the house, sometimes out the window, when they see her. Christina Ricci plays Penelope, and I never realized how pretty she is. I won't tell you the rest because I don't want to spoil it for you, and because this is almost enough for what I want to say in this post.

A little while ago, I mentioned to a friend that sometimes I feel like I'm not equal to Anthony in the looks department. I think he's so attractive and I don't think I am at all. (I also mentioned that I don't think about it too often because now I think about Anthony's other qualities more than his looks.) This friend very, very kindly disagreed with me and said Anthony and I are on the same level looks-wise. It was mentioned that although I have "one physical flaw", my personality, smile, eyes, and hair are quite nice. I appreciated these compliments a lot, I really did. I value this person's opinion, and I know that the comments wouldn't have been made if they weren't deemed to be accurate.

So, why do I focus on the "one physical flaw" part so much? It's not that I don't know about this flaw. It's pretty obvious. And, I've been trying, kind of, to reduce this flaw as much as possible, so it's not like this is the first time I realized I have this flaw. I wasn't offended by the phrase, really I wasn't, it's just that I centered in on it, a lot more so than the nice things said. That's what's been bugging me.

I've been overweight my entire life. Even when I really wasn't, I felt like I was. I hit puberty early, so in elementary and middle school I was taller than pretty much everyone in my class. I also felt fatter than everyone else. It kind of grew into a self-fullfilling prophesy and I became what I always thought I was. Fortunately, I was really active in high school, so it didn't get too bad. What killed me was going away to college, learning bad eating habits but not gaining weight because I walked everywhere, then coming home to prepare for a mission and driving everywhere but eating the same. I put on a lot of weight those 5 months. When I came home, the same thing happened. I think sometimes about what I'd give to be able to redo those months. Pointless, I guess, but I think about it anyway.

Like Penelope, my one physical flaw has been with me a long time. I'm sure a lot of guys metaphorically jump out the window when they see me. It hurt her a lot to see that over and over again, and I'm grateful that it's just metaphorically in my case! Anyway, it's the excuse I've given myself for all the times a guy hasn't asked me out, or not asked me out a second time, or broken up with me, etc. If I were only thin, then...

I never really realized what a disservice I'm doing to myself until my friend's comments and this movie. Everyone has flaws, it's a fact of life. If I weren't overweight, I'm sure I'd worry about something else - maybe my breasts would be too small, my freckles too prominent, my behind too flat, or my nose too crooked. Who knows! Whatever it would be, I'd focus on it to the exclusion of all the positives about my looks, just like I do now about my weight. And, it's not just in the looks department that people do this; most of us tend to focus on the negatives about ourselves in every aspect. We find it easier to accept than the positive, for some reason.

So, what to do now that I know? GI Joe used to say that knowing is half the battle - what about the other half?? As I thought about it last night, instead of sleeping, I remembered the words some sister said at general conference a few years ago (sorry, but I'm not going to take the time to look it up; besides most of you will know who it is without me telling you - you're that awesome!). She said, and I paraphrase, Do what you can to look your best in the morning, then walk out the door, forget about yourself, and serve others. I have always loved this advice because it doesn't say you shouldn't try to be attractive; instead, do what you can with what you have and then go about your life trying to be a good person. It doesn't say I shouldn't try to lose weight - cuz I need to lose weight; physical asthetics aside, I need to be healthier! - but it gives the antedote for becoming too self-absorbed as I try to lose weight: service.

I'm thankful for my friend's comments - all of them - and for this movie about a beautiful girl with one physical flaw that seemed to overshadow everything else; they both helped me to see something I hadn't before that I really needed to see. So, while I will always be flawed, in some way or other, I can still be fabulous - in many ways!

12 comments:

Cardine said...

Ah, the color scheme does look nice. It's very springy and reminds me to purchase an egg dying kit for this weekend. To color by myself.

Anyway, I think that I feel the same way. I concentrate on about three of my physical flaws and think that they hinder me a lot. And I sort of self-fulfill my own prophecies because of my own inability to accept myself for who I am sometimes. I'm glad to hear that you liked that movie. Christina Ricci better be pretty because people think that my sister Cash looks like her, and my sister is such a hottie!

Framed said...

You have a flaw????

Cassie said...

I loved Penelope. I'm so glad someone else has seen it. I'm with you with the physical flaw thing and we already kind of talked about this so and I think I let my flaw hold me back as well and even convince myself it's a lost cause and just keep spiraling myself to get even fatter.

julie said...

Cardine, thanks, it reminds me of a dyed egg, too! The picture of the tulips inspired the colors, but the white background definitely makes one think of an egg! Hmmm. I guess Cash looks a little like her, but I wouldn't ever have made the comparison before now. They are BOTH beautiful, though!

Framed, YES! But thank you. :)

Cassie, I wondered if you had seen this movie when I read the review about it. I'm glad you have. Did it inspire you? I was inspired and a little depressed, but mostly inspired. :)

tearese said...

Julie- I love you! And I like you more now than when you were in high school, and looks have nothing to do with it! ;)
I love your tulip avatar too, its so bright and happy.

James & Melissa's Family said...

You said exactly how I feel, a lot of the times. You said much better than I ever would have. You are such a wonderful person, that one would be a fool not to overlook your "flaw" and see you for who you really are. Thank so much for being my friend, I truely treasure our friendship. Hope you have a GREAT Day! Thanks again for being so honest with all of us fellow bloggers.

Booklogged said...

"Last night, I felt blue. Not dark blue, just a light-ish medium blue." That sounded like something Anne Shirley would say.

If you have a copy of Anne of Avonlea you might reread Ch 27. The part when Charlotta the Fourth tells Anne that she would rather look like Anne than be pretty! So many great things in the next paragraph. The last sentence: "Her mirror never revealed to her the elusive, every-varying play of feeling that came and went over her features like a rosy illuminating flame, or the charm of dream and laughter alternating in her eyes.

You have all your wonderful personality that adds charm and dimension to your prettiness.

I could also add to you, and to Cassie that you're very lucky to only have one flaw! Mine have "rolled" into many! Small boobs would be fabulous.

julie said...

Tearese, thanks! I love you, too! I wish we could still stay up late talking in my car like we did so long ago. Even if we were in the same town, I don't have the same staying power I used to. Oh well. :)

Melissa, I really value our friendship, too. Thank you for the nice comment!

Book, I really like that quote, thanks for sharing it! Thanks, too, for the compliment. And, I agree, smaller breasts would be a blessing, not a curse. As long as the rest of me was smaller, too, because small breast with my current physique would look weird. *sigh* What a topic! :)

Mellissa Hunt said...

Another comment read that your first sentence was like something Anne Shirley would write and I thought the same thing reading your blog! Honestly, I think the reason so many people focus on your "one physical flaw" (even though I don't think that's a flaw, God made everybody different. How boring a world it would be if we came off the assembly line looking the same) is because they grew up hearing about that one flaw bothering someone they knew. I have a friend whose mother is thin. I heard her say many times how fat she thought she was. When people hear those things enough times, even if it isn't about them, their vision of what is flawed is skewed. What you consider to be a flaw has never crossed my mind. Your personality and bright eyes are always what shines through with you. And maybe you feel that way about Anthony, but maybe he feels like his personality is not as great in comparison to yours. Things balance out. I know how beautiful you are - inside and out.

julie said...

Thanks, Missy, I think you've brought up an excellent point. I knew a lady who was really overweight and her niece asked her why she was and was shushed by her parents with "that's not a nice thing to ask". So, now that little girl equates overweight to bad, ugly, etc. Also, thanks for commenting on my blog! Welcome, welcome! I checked out your family blog but wasn't sure about commenting since I'm not family. You need a personal blog now!

Alyson said...

I was thinking, as I read your blog, that Anthony may be thinking the same thing about some flaw he thinks he has...since I'm pretty sure most people do find at least one flaw in themselves to focus on. I know I have a few flaws that I try NOT to focus on, but it never works for long. :) Right now I'm trying not to focus too much on my indecisiveness. I love you...your wonderul personality and your verve for life are the things that shine through!

Indy said...

Thank you for this blog. It was absolutely wonderful to read, as all of your blogs are.

You are so beautiful Jewels. I love to be around you and to hear your laugh and talk with you. You are a wonderful friend!!!

This blog was wonderful because I focus on my flaw and forget the rest too. That talk you mentioned was wonderful, and it changed how I look at life. The woman had really bad acne and that was what her mother was telling her to not worry about when saying to look nice and then go out into the world and stop worrying about her appearance. I have had acne and I feel very unattractive and I make the excuse that men don't date me or ask me out due to my acne.

Thanks for reminding me to not focus on that flaw. I want to see that movie now. : )