Saturday, March 1, 2014

Do I Look Like a Jellyfish to You?

My kids call me Jollibee. My husband thinks I look like Garfield. My mom says she misses those days when I looked like a jellyfish. Doesn't anyone in my family think I look human at all?

Of course, the members of my family value me and when they call me animal names, they do so with great love and affection. In fact when my husband calls me by my cat name, he purrs and leaves a trail of lasagna bits for me to follow to the lunch table. I am not quite certain though what people outside of my family think when they look at me.

According to my mom, this is a photo of me when I was a baby.
Photo owned by Todd Anderson.

The sales clerk at the supermarket gave me a clue on how strangers perceive me when she called me "sir". In my head, I heard Britney Spears singing: "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman... Probably because I'm really a man."

I love my strange looks but I must admit, it hasn't always been easy looking the way I do. I've received tons of advice on how to look less animalistic or masculine. I've been given tips about makeup, clothing and grooming; with the additional warning that someone more feminine looking (like Orlando Bloom?) will one day grab my husband's eye if I don't whip myself into shape. The one piece of advice I will never forget is from a former classmate who told me I should dress like a girl because I'm a girl.

I get it. To others, I don't look cool in the image I've chosen for myself. The thing is, I've tried to look the way others think I should look. I've had jobs that nearly killed me with mandatory heels and lipstick. Needless to say, I found that the traditional feminine look just didn't work for me and I came away from my heel wearing days with five valuable lessons.

1. Nothing is worth painful feet, or painful anything. If you're a picture of agony in heels or if you squirm in emotional distress under layers of face paint, then something's wrong. You have to make the decision to either commit yourself to the tremendous amount of time and effort it'll take to get used to what you're not comfortable with or you settle for the look that makes you feel good about yourself.

We all wear pants and sneakers in this house and nobody has to apologize for it.

2. You only owe people basic grooming. It's a form of mild discourtesy for your breath to smell like a bag of garlic chips, for your clothes to look like they've been to Mordor and for your armpits to smell like rotten eggs, but other than making sure you've brushed your teeth, taken a bath and worn fairly clean clothes, you don't owe anyone anything else. If you must look extra trim, dapper or flashy, it's because you feel you owe yourself that.

3. Clothes and appearance don't define people. It's tragic when girls are put in rigid boxes and told that gender dictates appearance and identity. It doesn't matter if you're a girl in jeans and an undercut looking like a chipmunk. Character, values, and to a certain extent, mental aptitude matter more.

4. Your attitude about yourself is important. Sure, everyone else thinks you look funny, but what do you think about yourself? No one can drag you down if you have a good sense of your own worth.

5. Laughing at yourself is a sign of maturity. Being able to see the humor behind the way close friends and family joke about your looks is an indication that you aren't insecure and you're mature enough to know when people aren't out to hurt you.

Clearly I love myself better now, but it took a few painful episodes of trying to fit in before I finally figured things out. Here's hoping that anyone else who has yet to embark on a similar journey goes through a smoother path.

12 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you because if you can laugh at yourself and you really mean it then it means you are over it already and you really have moved on from it

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  2. The important thing about grooming and appearances is that you are comfortable with who you are and what you wear.

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  3. As we matured, really, we understood what was going on with our lives. Unlike, before, we approached differently as of today. Just go on with your happy life and laugh at things who do not achieve your perception.

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    1. I totally agree with this. People don't tell you who you are, you tell them.

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  4. Personality is the sum total of all the traits a person has. I have not seen you personally or seen you in a picture but how your mother describe you as a jellyfish. I could surmise that you are too delicate to handle because you are "too soft". This is how I analyze. I may be wrong.

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  5. Nobody is perfect. It's good to be reminded of one's imperfections so you would know how to improve as well. Accepting comments and criticisms is okay for as long as they do not hurt your self esteem.

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  6. Love thyself! We are all created unique by God that's why we must be confident of who we are. The sad truth is that society defines the standard of who we should be. We must learn to accept negative things and learn from it.

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  7. So true, do everything that pleases you and make you happy. I always tell that to my kids. Do anything you want that will make you happy as long as you're not hurting anybody along the way.

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  8. Good for you that finally you realized that you are precious. We cannot please everybody, right? There are always detractors around you, so give your 100% all the time.

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  9. I so can relate on this.

    Sometimes even the closest to us can be as mean as a bitch. But yeah, once you can laugh about it, you're totally over it.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful insight..

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  10. i don't care what people think of how i look but i also listen to people (especially my wife, hehehe) suggestions if i think it would fit me well. Yahweh bless.

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