You’re Really Hot. No, I Mean It.
Last week Adam and I went to a fancy event. We rarely go to fancy events–so rarely that we generally find them fairly stressful. We spend weeks trying to decipher the dress code (I have googled “formal attire” so many times), plan the entire day around it (“it’s snowing out we should really take a cab but that’s over the top so let’s suffer through the train”), and then we reward ourselves for surviving (this time it was shawarma and Annie don’t be jealous). It’s pretty hilarious.
What’s not hilarious is how different Adam’s anxiety prep always is from mine. He’ll stress for two minutes: Should he trim his beard? Is his suit nice enough? (Not to mention he wears his wedding suit to everything, whereas my wedding dress has been retired because #rules.) Should he wear boots or dress shoes? And scene. That’s it. We head out, he has a great time, and when it’s over it’s over.
My experience? It’s insane. I’m anxious every day/night for two weeks. I whine to people about it, a lot. Nothing I own is nice enough (let’s be honest if my wedding dress was black I would un-retire it). Should I get my hair done? It doesn’t look good otherwise, no matter what I do. Should I get my nails done? Everyone will be able to tell if they’re hand-painted and god forbid I go bare–because apparently we now live in a society where if your nails aren’t painted, you may as well be fully naked. How will I make my skin look perfect? How much makeup should I wear? What if I want to wear lipstick? I never wear lipstick, it’s so not me. But this is a special night, maybe I could try? Are my shoes nice enough? Are the heels high enough? Will I be able to walk in them? (Spoiler alert: no, I fell on the stairs.) Should I take boots and change shoes? Where would I put them? Will there be a coat check so I’m not carrying around stinky boots? Okay, we’re here, I should calm down now. But oh man look how hot all the women are. I’m so boring. She’s so tall and pretty. She’s so skinny. I wish I was tall and skinny. Then I could wear anything. That girl got her hair done for sure, that’s totally what I should have done. My hair is probably so frizzy right now. I need to stop staring at people. I guess I’m dressed nice enough…thank god my sister helped. I would have been doomed without her. But why can’t I just look like Jenna Lyons? I can feel how ungraceful I’m being why can’t I just stop? I could stop if I was skinny.
When I talked to a [male] friend of mine about these kinds of thoughts, he called my mind a bottomless dark well. He’s not wrong, I know that I’m really far down one side of the intensity spectrum. But also, I don’t think I’m alone. What really opened my eyes was a text I received from a beautiful friend reading Skin Cleanse: “I’ve been so self-conscious. I’m coming to terms with [my body type] and just by reading your words I felt like you gave my self esteem a hug or something.” How wrong that she feels like that! She’s hot as shit. Women are hot as shit. All of them. But I know exactly what she’s talking about! We spent an hour texting about people we compare ourselves to, how much we ignore our partners’ loving compliments, and how we’re sick of it. I think we both felt so much better by just telling each other “WTF YOU’RE SO HOT!!!”
So the point of this post is this. You’re not alone, even if you’re a bottomless dark well. It’s not your fault. Lots of people feel just like you do. Maybe it’s hard for you to look in the mirror and affirm yourself, so maybe start by reminding yourself of all the people that think you’re perfect (they probably tell you and you ignore them). Then go tell someone else in your life that they’re hot, that you love them, that you think they’re perfect just the way they are. Even if they fall down the stairs every single time they’re in high heels.
PS- I did wear lipstick.