A 2-week journey of ego

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2 weeks ago I went out, partied, acted a’fool & somehow damaged my left cornea. Knocked myself out of commission for a good 3-4 days. Having bad eyesight to begin with, not being able to see…basically I was enabled blind. Strange in itself.

When venturing back to society, I wasn’t able to wear my contact lenses ~ or make-up of any kind until the eye healed. I’ve spent the last 10 days in glasses…bare faced. The difference in the way people act towards you, knowingly and unknowingly, is incredible. The 2 most common contrary symptoms (of course) are sexual in nature:
– men don’t notice you
– women seem to approach more, like you more, or treat you with a new-found respect

In grade 8 I went to ‘modeling classes’. I learned how to wear make-up, how to walk, how to be photographed, to act womanly (or wantonly?), how to be ‘the desired object of beauty’. Leading up to this point, I had always been ‘the pretty one’. Not ‘the smart one’, ‘the academic’, ‘the artist’, and certainly not ‘the athlete’. When I had my first runway experience I was very nervous…but at the same time, confident in my ‘looks’.

Time proved these ‘tools’ useful. Boys liked me, girls didn’t. Parents/teachers treated me, ‘the pretty one’, with plenty of leeway. My delinquency rose up. Secretly I wanted to be ‘the athlete’, ‘the artist’, ‘the academic’. I revolted. I studied. I became ‘the pretty smart girl’. Nil labels I held in the race of adolescence & onset of puberty. Times when we all scratch, scrabble & claw our way to the top of the…? Hormone chain?

Insidiously I could never go out in public without my armour…lip gloss, mascara, blush; my chosen ordnance of armour. Impenetrable to dirty stares, rumours, desires. Hide the slate. Disguise, camouflage. It was Vietnam in grade 9.

Marauding though high school, laying waste to the victims of my ego, I devastated only myself. A little further I turned inside, a little less confident with every runway, every hallway, every boy’s heart broken, every friendship crashed. I wasn’t the consummation venustas immaculata; I was the abutor, the hidden, the declaration of society’s stained hubris.

By 18yrs, ‘I’ was absent. I couldn’t be thin enough, I couldn’t be blond enough, I couldn’t win and I couldn’t detach. Caught in the maelstrom. Sure. Poor me. Step out of your skin and starve yourself to be desired. Try it. 4 baby carrots, 1 cup a soup, 4 brussel sprouts, 4 crackers, 4 cups coffee – black a day. I lived like this for almost 2yrs. The world was whirling around me, relationship from hell, no friends, no interest…automaton production of value ~ the unpaid cost of society’s values.

The demons of the exploited ego are not easily exonerated. You cannot feel ‘happy’ from the satiation of food, the words of others, material things or escapism. The years between myself now ~ and myself then have served purpose in the amelioration of my psyche.

Pages can and should be devoted to this journey……..what astounds me is how easily I can slip into the old patterns of my insecurities laid waste.

These last 10 days, I wore no make-up, I wore glasses. No one noticed me. I watched, a bystander in the flashing screens of my life. Not one single member of the opposite sex paid me a glance, a fleeting look, an extra courtesy. Every single member of my own sex was friendly, communicative and at times, familial.

I liked it. I re-acquainted myself with my demons and saw my wide-rimmed reflection. The war was over.

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4 comments
  1. Joanna said:

    Wow Sarah,

    Your post is really brave and I applaud you for it. In addition, I appreciate the images you have used both of yourself and the graphic photo of the girl with the butterfly eye.

    There is so much I could say here…….

    Basically, I have been in many professional or personal situations where I have not “fit in” because of my looks. That does not mean that I was not good at my job or a good friend. Mostly, I was not allowed to fit in. People don’t like smart, attractive, fashionable, young women who are go-getters. That is very threatening. On some levels you can even be persecuted for it.

    However, I do find now that I am 30 people are going a bit easier on me. I’m less threatening. Still, my youth was very tumultuous due to this unacknowledged social prejudice. I constantly had to prove myself, work harder, be smarter, and develop a very thick skin to not let sudden personal attacks “get to me”.

    Now I feel much stronger for it and try to be an encouraging role model to other young women.

  2. range said:

    Hey Sarah.

    You look cool with your glasses, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’ve always liked glasses on women. I have worn them for years myself, going with contacts from a few years at a time and then going back to glasses.

    Sometimes I find women wear a lot of make-up. Sometimes too much. Women are beautiful au naturel. They radiate intensity.

  3. u know who said:

    You never cease to amaze me…
    …You’ve always been a smart one, the smart one. Hope your eye is all better so you can enjoy your new vista.

    a

  4. thelemonspank said:

    Barbie and I have settled the old score as it is. Jo, I know you’ve waged this war yourself, many of our friends have! Perhaps it was another of the many common threads in our friendships?

    Range: why thank you *blush*. My glasses make me feel mighty. Look out librarians, I’m onto you.

    U know who: I know who.

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