So the thing about personal blogging - and I think that this applies to many other genres of blogging as well, but I'm primarily a personal blogger, so I'll speak to that - is that it can become repetitive. It seems, at first thought, that it should be inherently new and fresh every time, right? I mean, I'm blogging about my life, and generally, life brings with it new challenges, new people, new circumstances, new places... any number of new things to change up the scene. If I'm blogging what happens to me, there should be an endless supply of interesting topics, because life isn't constrained to a limited number of variables.
Unfortunately, however, it doesn't actually work out that way. Since I am always the same person - I am the one variable that doesn't go away - I consistently return to many of the same issues over and over again. We know this already, of course, that people have this natural tendency towards recurring problems; in fact, I addressed that to some extent in my last post, where I talked about how blessed I feel that I have not had recurring weight problems in my life. I don't often write about health and fitness issues here on my blog, because they aren't often on my mind.
There are plenty of other issues, however, that are almost always on my mind, and you've seen them here a lot over the past three and a half years. Cutting, for example, which I've struggled with for a long time - though I'm cut-free for three years and three months now! - and depression, which has been an on-and-off issue for me since high school. And the one we're going to talk about today: SELF-ESTEEM.
I had a somewhat shameful thought recently that made me really stop and consider. In class one day, we were talking about the concept of putting on a "persona" for certain situations, and how that persona does or does not match reality. The persona students put on during college interviews, for example, may not be the same persona they have with their friends on the weekend. One girl said her persona on a first date would be to try to sound smart so that the guy would find her interesting and intelligent, and only make dumb jokes and tell weird stories on a third or fourth date, when it's more likely to be endearing instead of airheaded. I was so proud of her, because she values intelligence and is looking for a guy who will value intelligence too. And then I realized:
I would totally give up my intelligence to be pretty.
Now, let's make it clear that I don't necessarily want to be so dumb that I can't function in the world. But I just want to be pretty so bad, and I figure if I'm slightly airheaded maybe I won't be smart enough to realize what I'm missing anyway. Good trade, right?
But then I thought about it further, and thought about what I'm really saying there. Let's look at some facts:
Fact #1: I believe that I'm intelligent.
Fact #2: Other people tell me that I'm intelligent.
Fact #3: I believe that these other people believe that I'm intelligent.
Great, so apparently I am in agreement with a number of other people in saying that I am intelligent. I've never known anyone to think I'm dumb - I do have two degrees from one of the top universities in the nation, after all. So yes, I'm intelligent. Moving on...
Fact #4: I do not believe that I am pretty.
Fact #5: Other people tell me that I'm pretty.
Fact #6: I believe that these other people believe that I am pretty.
This is interesting. I don't think I'm pretty, but I fully believe that other people think I'm pretty. So when I say, "I would totally give up my intelligence to be pretty," all I'm really saying is, "I would totally give up my intelligence to think that I'm pretty." Which really boils down to:
I would totally give up my intelligence to have better self-esteem.
Wow... Really? I mean, that's what it's all about? (I always thought it was all about the Hokey Pokey.) There must be a better way to get self-esteem, right? Other than trading away my intelligence in some mystical barter market in the outer reaches of the Universe?
Frankly, I wouldn't even know who to contact about trading my intelligence for self-esteem. Who sells that stuff anyway?
I don't know how to change it, though. There are times that I think I'm pretty, but they tend to be the exception to the rule, and usually when I'm dressed up, with fancy hair and makeup, like this recent evening:
Definitely pretty that night, in my opinion. (Which, as we've already established, is really the one that matters.) But on a day-to-day basis, when I'm just taking my work outfit photos, for example, I don't think I'm pretty at all. And many days, I feel downright ugly. Why is that?
I haven't figured out the answer. I know that it's not getting complimented, though, because that already happens, and it somehow fails to make any dent in my self-esteem. So this isn't a post for you to email or comment or IM or anything to say, "But you are pretty!" Chances are, I already know you think that, and it's nice that you do, but it's not what matters most. What matters is what I think, and what I feel, and I just haven't worked out how to change that yet.
There's no good answer to this post. Instead, I refer you back to the title of this post, and remind you, yet again, that I am totally messed up.