May. 14th, 2014

gemsybobsy: (spaced)
Right from my early school years I knew what I was good at - I could make people laugh, I could listen when people were upset, I could sort out arguments, I could organise games, make up dances... I had lots of friends. We were always told 'if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all.' We were always encouraged to be the best people we could be, and appearance was never, ever an issue, beyond making sure we were clean and tidy. I discovered I had an artificial eye when I was probably about five-ish, when my sister and I were making tunnels with our hands to look through, and I realised when I did it on one side I couldn't see down the tunnel. But it still didn't really become an issue, I only had that and a bit of eczema to deal with, and other than the various questions I got asked from other children and eye hospital check-ups, I didn't really think about it.

As I got older, the other kids stopped asking innocent questions about it and started taking the piss instead. I learned that an artificial eye was a bad thing for a person to have in society. Mrs Twit had one, and she was loathsome. My eye became an affliction; something that was ugly. My Achilles' heel. After my childhood of having loads of mates, winner of Musician of the Year, being the best at handwriting and having all those ballet and swimming certificates - I started to feel inadequate. My circle of friends got smaller as everyone branched out, I was always the single one when everyone else had partners, and I gradually got more shy as I felt more and more inadequate - I eventually came to accept that I was ugly. 'Plain' at best. I tried not to let it stop me from enjoying my life, but it did get in the way. I let it stop me doing dancing and acting, which I loved, because nobody would want to act face-to-face on stage with a cross-eyed person. It buggered up my job interviews and my confidence because I couldn't do eye contact. It just ended up driving me a bit mad.

My family and friends would try to comfort me when I was upset about it by saying, 'There's nothing wrong with your eyes.' They'd try to gloss over the fact - there's nothing wrong, you're NOT cross-eyed, you're being silly, don't let it upset you. But it is a fact that I am flawed. My eye was broken! I'm reminded of that fact with every nasty comment, I can see it myself every time I look at a photo or a video of my face, or if I get the wrong angle in the mirror. School friends would always say they couldn't tell I had a fake eye or that they always forgot about it, until we'd all fall out as kids do, then they'd always get some nasty comment in about the eye. When I got older I had arguments with friends about this glossing-over malarkey, because it began to annoy me - 'You're not ugly, stop worrying about your eye.' 'WHY DO YOU ALWAYS SAY THAT WHEN YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE!' I'd stomp off and not speak to anyone, always in a turmoil about this stupid bloody tiny poxy flaw.

It's only recently that I've realised that what I really wanted was for someone to say, 'Yes, your eye is wonky, but so what? That doesn't mean you're ugly. We all have flaws and we're all beautiful.' And I did get that response, from some, but I can't remember if I appreciated it at the time. It was always, 'Don't mention the eye. Don't upset her.' If I dared joke about the eye I'd get sympathetic looks. Or 'don't be silly' or 'don't put yourself down.' I even had people tell me they thought I was beautiful despite the eye. Lol, thanks. I'll remember to keep it hidden under the carpet/my fringe. But I've also had people say absolutely lovely things about it; that it's awesome, cute, endearing, and the best of all - that I only need one 'window' to see my soul - which was such a wonderful thing it always makes me cry when I think about it.

This clip is what inspired this entry today. "The meanest thing you can say to a fat girl is 'you're not fat'. It sucks to be a fat girl. Can people just let me say it?" CAN PEOPLE JUST LET ME SAY IT? - just sums up my whole experience. Argh, it's hard to put into words. It's like, we project our own standards of beauty, and what is normal, onto people who feel inadequate. Or, we believe people probably feel inadequate if they don't fit our own standards. See also Conchita off of Eurovision (what a great song). The bog-standard haters of cross-dressing and the related assortment of homophobic comments, I can kind of understand. But I keep hearing comments from people, who 'don't mind' transvestites, who are questioning the beard. 'It just doesn't look right, she should shave.' One comment in particular I saw just briefly looking at that page - how Conchita is trying to 'force the vast majority of people into thinking that a woman wearing a beard is just normal and just as beautiful. It looks very ugly and non-feminine.' I.e., if you want to appear as a woman, you have to at least fit... the breed standard?! Are people concerned for her? Who do they want her to change for?!

I'm always discussing with people whether I look better with short hair or long hair, because I'm always thinking about chopping it all off, and have been told it looks better long because it's 'more feminine'. Also apparently I look nicer in a dress because it's 'more feminine'. From which I can only draw the conclusion that 'more masculine' means 'more ugly'. I've had people tell me and my friends that we need to be less masculine so as to be more attractive. Don't drink pints, wear 'nice shoes', wear a 'flattering' dress. If I mention I don't suit pastel colours or floral patterns, don't fancy really short hair again because it emphasizes my big facial features and jawline, and don't want to wear spaghetti straps because of my broad shoulders, I'm 'putting myself down'. I am constantly being told I'm putting myself down if I have (or assert preference for) anything about me that is anything other than pure femininity. As this similar ramble showed back in the day, if I say I'm gender-neutral/androgynous I'm calling myself ugly and need to be told I'm being silly and am clearly a lady (because it's assumed that's what all [perceived] females want to hear!) Because, somehow, not adhering to what I should adhere to (perfectly-groomed, flawless-as-poss, straight, feminine-appearing/acting female of my age and race) would mean I would be making myself appear ugly. Which leads me to ask - appear ugly to whom? To the perfectly-groomed, flawless-as-poss, straight, masculine-appearing/acting (BEARDS) males of my age and race - because that is by whom society is led, or because that is whom society assumes I should be sexually attracted to/by...? Who knows. It's very much a 'tell them what I think they want to hear' kind of thing. If a friend mentions she feels fat, you automatically give them 'no you don't, you look great' as a response. I (hereby) wouldn't like to hear that, but I would probably still assume that's what my friend wants to hear. As if 'fat' and 'great' can never be synonymous. Are 'wonky eye' and 'ugly' synonymous? I wouldn't like to hear that either. But, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

I want to grow a beard ffs.


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