Skin deep

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Dorothea is on a roll! And aside from the fact that she rolled over my foot (in the nicest possible way) I like what she has to say. I, also, want nothing more than to be valued because of me, of what I am, rather than how I look.

When people look into my eyes I want them to see gentleness, or love, or intelligence rather than their color, or their shape, or the length of the lashes. When they look at my face, I hope they see humor, sadness, or joy rather than the shape of my face or the height of my cheekbones or the width of my mouth and the thickness of my lips. And when people look at my body, I would hope that they see pride and strength and determination and compassion rather than curves and breasts and skin color and height.

Dorothea writes:

Fundamentally, though, redefining pretty is not my fight. I want to be ugly and not have it matter. I want my sexual attractiveness to remain a private affair between myself and my sex partner, rather than being speculated upon by every person who so much as passes me on the street or wants to toss my blog a quick compliment. I want “bonita” and “fea” alike paired with “estar,” not “ser,” and even when the pairing is “estar bonita” I want the reaction to be fleeting and tacit, not character-defining and public.

If I disagree with Dorothea, and I think disagreement isn’t the correct term, it’s on the whole concept of ugly. Am I ugly? No. Well, then, am I beautiful? No. I don’t think there is any standard for absolute beauty or absolute ugliness, so how can I be one or the other? And as for our fit within today’s slide rule of physical conformity, does it really matter? For myself, I like me, and isn’t that what’s important?

Anne McCaffrey, popular Sci-Fi and Fantasy author, has about the best bio I have ever seen, for anyone:

My hair is silver, my eyes are green and I freckle: the rest of me is subject to change without notice.

That about sums all of us up: subject to change without notice.

We are each of us what we are, and we should be happy being what we are, the best of whatever it is we are. I would hope that those who care for me would see beyond how I look –regardless of perceived ‘good’ or ‘bad’ physical characteristics — to what I am and realize to themselves that this is truly what’s important.

Is this the same as Dorothea’s statement:

Permission to be plain, even in my own eyes. That, to me, is the self-acceptance that Burningbird wants to instill in me over coffee.

I think it is.


My mistake in previous readings of Dorothea’s posts, and for which I received gentle chastisement, is that when I read Dorothea’s statements about seeing herself as plain or ugly, I immediately wanted to say, “Dorothea! How can you say this about yourself?” Yet, Dorothea wasn’t making statements about her self worth only her perceived view of her appearance. I mixed the two up in my mind, and I put a value assessment on ‘plain’ and ‘ugly’—the very thing I just got through saying wasn’t important.

Now I think I know what Dorothea’s saying. There are times when you do have to hit me in the face with a wet mackerel for me to get the point.

(And Dorothea, Castilian hot chocolate still works for me.)

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