~Monday, August 16, 2010


All week long I was praised by my coworkers and friends for my new haircut. This weekend I went back to the salon and got a temporary dye to match my natural brown color and eliminate some of the lingering blond highlights.

I held up two dresses I bought during my lunch break to my coworkers and they awwed with approval. "You're changing," one winked. "A new you."

I'm not sure which part of me is new. One would think that I should have gone through this after my breakup with S, not four months after my breakup with Christopher.

My mom saw me on Saturday and told me I was the prettiest she's ever seen me. "You did things backwards," she said. "Most people go through the outer fix first because it's the easiest. Then they work on the inside."

But I also think my mom is giving me too much credit. You see, I'm cheap. When I was spending $200 a month in therapy, I couldn't afford a new haircut or new clothes. I also only buy clothes that enhance my appearance; I don't buy clothes just because they will do. And when I didn't like what I saw on the inside, I didn't like how I looked on the outside, no matter what I tried on. Hence my year-long hiatus from clothes shopping.

The truth is I was too frugal to fix the outside first.

When I slipped in my new dress for the garden party on Saturday, I did feel pretty. I felt so pretty that I asked Harvey and Katie to pose for a picture with me in front of a flowering bush. But when Harvey's husband handed me back my camera, I was crushed. Harvey is 5'2" and Katie is 5'3". I am 5'7" and was wearing three-inch heels that day, making me almost a foot taller than them. And when someone is bigger, everything matches in proportion: my head is also bigger than theirs, so are my ears and my arms and my shoulders. And standing next time them, I looked like a giant freak.

In the painting classes I've been taking, the instructor tells you to not compare your work with others. That as soon as your get your painting home and isolated from the other works, you'll like it. But what do you do when it's your body?

I got home that night and stared in the mirror. Nope, nothing looked wrong. Stood facing the side to check out the other angle. Nope, everything is where it should be. Took out my camera again to see if I just overreacted. Nope, still looks hideous.

And then I happened to log in my e-mail account and saw an e-mail from a guy on Plenty if Fish. The one line said that I was ugly. Well that didn't help things at all. The profile was obviously a fake one. The pictures were secondhand scanned images of some shirtless model. The description was pretty foul: demanding that his date be the kind of girl to dance on a table in the middle of a restaurant and then take her top off. He had no tolerance for innocence.

Logically, the e-mail shouldn't have bothered me, but it did. Why does there have to be people out there that are so malicious that they seek to intentionally hurt stranger's feelings? And why does it feel like I am always on the receiving end of it? I've never heard of anyone else getting an e-mail detailing how ugly she is, and everyone I've told seemed so shocked that they obviously have never heard of it happening before.

I know I'm a perfectionist. I don't handle it well when I make a mistake at work. I've never hung up any of my paintings from my painting classes; all of my friends have and they love their work, and to be honest, it does look pretty awesome hanging on the walls. And I don't look like how I should look like in my head. That's the hardest one: to envision one image so clearly and just be out of reach of it.

I'm doing better. I've bought four dresses this summer; obviously I'm seeing something I like about myself. It's just that Saturday was a misstep for me.


Anonymous said...

You are doing so well. Just take it a day at a time.

Curvy Jones said...

I hate pictures of myself. Especially with people shorter than I am. In fact, I hate when people are shorter than I am because I feel HUGE in comparison.

You are not ugly. It upsets you because you know that, and the idea that someone would just....say that to someone is just sick. Weirdo Asshole.

I have been called a fat bitch and a stuck up bougie bitch, before. Welcome to the club! lol.

Bathwater said...

Wow I've never heard of that on plenty of fish either, maybe it was someone you know trying to be mean?

5' 7" sounds about perfect to me. Stop hanging out with those freaks ;).

2 Drink Girl said...

I'm 5'2", and I always feel like that short freak next to the normal person. Grass is always greener...

Tex In The City said...

I've been working on becoming a lady but I will but that on the backburner to verbally bitchslap the fool who sent you that e-mail.

I'm just sayin.

nuttycow said...

I'm 5'8" so I feel your pain on the being bigger than everyone else (although that also has a lot to do with being a heifer too!).

Don't worry too much about the photos - everyone looks at photos of themselves and finds a fault. It's just something we do.

Work on it, one day at a time. Changing your perceptions of yourself takes time!

Anonymous said...

Mate, photographs of me are always hideous i can't stand having my picture taken because i know i will hate the results. I'd much rather be happy with what i see in a mirror and the comments i get from friends and family to what a picture says about me.

J said...

You left a comment a while ago saying that you are convinced that we are cosmic twins...I have to concur. I hate hate hate photos of myself. How I look in pictures is never the same as what I look like in the mirror.

Oh and the whole insulting message from an online dating site? Been there done that. I have had so many insults from strangers that it is a wonder that I have any self esteem at all. That said, I also received some very nice messages. Some people are just jerks and have no life so in order to make themselves feel better they have to attack others.

You are beautiful all around! *Hugs*

Amanda Braz said...

Honestly, I think I'd rather be taller than shorter. I'm 4'11" (I swear I'm not a midget ahaha), how's that? I'm always looking up. It's a bit ridiculous. I can't reach the string to make the bus stop (thank god most buses have buttons at eye level now here in Brazil), and I walk slower because, guess what, my legs are shorter! Hahaha it all sounds so ridiculous.
I've become used to looking at my short self in pictures, EVERYONE is taller than me.
Become used with who you are and accept yourself, I doubt that just because you're taller than your friends that makes you ugly in any way.

Happy to see you're liking yourself and buying new clothes! It's great to feel beautiful in a pretty piece of clothing.
Love yourself. The most important part of life, to me, is liking yourself enough to believe we always deserve better. :)

Also, ignore the fake. Fakes are trolls, trolls troll because they want attention. Don't give it any.

Anonymous said...

Some days it just aint happening. No matter what anyone says or does; no matter what the evidence - it's just not happening.

I guess that was your day.

And of course now, today, is a different and those same eyes may see things slightly differently.

As for the asshole; that has happened to someone else I know. Some people unfortuantely get off on hurting others but you have the power here Sarah. He and his comments only gain significance if you allowt them to.

lots of love

SuvvyGirl said...

New rule, don't take pictures next to short people...or make them stand on something :p I bet they looked at the picture and wished they could have looked like you. We are our own worst critics. I hate taking pictures too, but I'm trying to take more and focus on points that I do like about myself and use the rest as motivation to change what I can about the rest of me (or I just sit down and have a good cry)

D said...

Mean people suck! Tune them out and just know they'll never be happy.

dont eat the token said...

That was a tough Sat.
Try hanging up those paintings!
Your friends might just be jealous of your height :) Try to see the photo as a nice memory.

I've had people in my life intentionally go after me, to make me miserable and say mean things to me. And they knew me...
Dude was a douche and I hope you can shake his negative vibe and know it was a random act of meanie.

Babycakes said...

That's ridiculous for someone to say that. But then people say that about Cameron Diaz, Catherine Zeta Jones, anyone... some people just have mean twisted minds. Take no notice.


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