Ya Got Me

Someone dear to me called me on the fluff, and he was right. Ever since posting those photos I have been doing a slow burn about several things. The men in my past. Body image. Consideration. Control. Jealousy. Ego. Perfectionism. Frustration. Depression.

As so may of you have kindly commented, I was something of a hot tamale. All of the wedding photos and the modeling photos are from a period of about five years in my early twenties. I was modeling a lot because I could get the work, and it was easy money and something you have to do before you hit 25 and are over the hill in that business.

Having said that, I will also say that the men in my life during that stretch (maybe longer) still found something in my appearance to improve upon. My first husband used to call me Marcie, as in marsupial. Will someone plese identify my pouch? Because I don’t get it.

The man I nearly married before him used to ask me to lose a little weight before his father or his buddies came to town. Also? To wear a little more makeup. Granted, we’d all put on the Freshman Fifteen and I was given to sweats, but still.

He is a good man, if a bit jerky in his youth. I actually had lunch with him a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about the reasons for the broken engagement for the first time in sixteen years. As I told him about some of the things that made me feel less than treasured, and measured on the wrong markers, he was mortified and stunned and embarrassed. He kept asking, “Did I really say/do/mean those things? I am so sorry, and don’t blame you a bit. I always thought it was because you were mad about ______. You made the right choice and I am sorry for having caused you so much pain. And for your having to relive it right now, with all that is going on.” The best moment was him doing a double take when he saw me walking toward him and said, “Wow, you look exactly the same.” That shouldn’t have pleased me as much as it did, but hey. I’m still human.

I’m just sorry that conversation was so seriously delayed, because I didn’t need to think of myself in his light all that time. But then again, he probably needed those years and the experience of marriage, commitment, and fatherhood to gain the proper perspective.

My current husband (no, it’s not final, give me some time to break the habit) also had periodic concerns and comments that sent me reeling. You look at those photos of an emaciated bride. How could there have been anything critical to say about my ass in a bikini? On our honeymoon? (Sorry, babe, but I think the publishing restrictions are going to be hard to follow. It’s out of context, but if it still rankles thirteen years later, accept responsibility and suck it up.)

What makes me mad about this collective story is that I let any of it get to me. I freely admit being the beneficiary of excellent genes—my parents are good lookin’ folk—and so didn’t make any particular efforts, but come on, man. Why the need to exert power or influence or dominance or perverted pride or whatever was going on in their heads? I still think about it and resent it.

These days, I accept who and what I am. I look at my scarred and rounded tummy and think about my babies. I can see the distinctive marks of each Cesarean delivery, of the surgery to remove my own alien, and the squiggly lines I didn’t accumulate until the 41st week of my fourth pregnancy. Even they are kind of cute, and the story behind them always makes me smile.

So now, as with so much in my life, I have come to my own accomodations and remain the sole custodian of my own self esteem. No one else has the right to tamper with it, knowingly or not, and no one save me has responsibility for its health and luster.

*stepping off soap box*

0 Responses to Ya Got Me

  1. ebeth March 1, 2005 at 3:59 am #

    *applause*  AMEN, sister.  I’m so glad that you realise that and I think you should get on your soapbox a little more.  Regarding the publishing restrictions – I think you should ignore them a little more often!

  2. Lisa March 1, 2005 at 4:28 am #

    What ebeth said. I’m glad your body image has improved. I’d love to hear the stories about your squiggles some time. *hugs*

  3. Cat March 1, 2005 at 4:37 am #

    Possibly missing your point here, but can’t help but say that my “stunningly beautiful” comment? Applies to current pictures as well. (Since you’re human and all, thought you wouldn’t mind my saying it.)

  4. Don March 1, 2005 at 4:46 am #

    Not that it helps, but men, more accurately “boys,” generally make those comments in response to their own insecurities. You were a model, they were not, at some level they could not justify you being with them. Their comments were attempts to knock you down to a level closer to their own so that they could make sense of the relationship in which they felt so unworthy of a physically more attractive person. In some sick way, the inappropriate comments were a compliment.

    So remember ladies, when we tell you your ass is big, we’re really complimenting you.

  5. zeno March 1, 2005 at 5:19 am #

    One day you may be lucky enough to find someone who appreciates you for what you are not how you look, someone who sees below the surface, digs around for the real Mindy and connects in a way you have never experienced before.

    If and when you do find him, you should thank god that there is someone in the world who understands real worth.

    “still”… still, I could be wrong

  6. Gail March 1, 2005 at 5:23 am #

    No, Zeno, you can’t be wrong.  You are exactly right.  And when Mindy finds this guy, I hope she asks if he has an older brother for me.

  7. Leslie March 1, 2005 at 5:35 am #

    I think it is totally awesome that you have these great feelings about yourself when you are going through such a rough time.  Keep thinking those things!!!  I think these positive thoughts about yourself and, of course, the love you have for your children will take you far.  Oh…and if there is a younger brother…I’ll take that one!

  8. Cori March 1, 2005 at 6:11 am #

    So glad that you had a chance to clear the air with someone from your past. I must admit there are some comments from high school(10 years!!) that still eat away at me.

    Feel free to climb on that soapbox anytime. Some of us really need to hear it.

  9. Bob March 1, 2005 at 6:56 am #

    Well put … you’re doing just fine… custodian on!

  10. mindy March 1, 2005 at 7:14 am #

    Side note: I think my body image has always been fine, it’s that I didn’t deal well with the frustration at the warped expectations. And I have one of those memories—I never forget anything, especially things that are really unfair and unsupportable. All of that adds up to one snarky, bitchy woman.

  11. Darcie March 1, 2005 at 7:59 am #

    The men who “loved” you and made comments that made you question their acceptance of your body/looks were just plain stupid. When they’re saggy, old coots, they’ll realize how lucky they were.

    I’ve had a difficult time accepting what pregnancy and c-secion have done to my body. I still feel scarred and distorted. I admire your ability to see those changes on yourself and be thankful for what they represent.

  12. Lisa March 1, 2005 at 8:02 am #

    You’re a rock star!

  13. Mrs McMuffin March 1, 2005 at 10:40 am #

    Bloody well said.  I am amazed that any man could make any negative comments about you, given how absolutely gorgeous you were and are.  Still, it just confirms how some people want to boost their flagging esteem by trying to rob yours, I’m glad they never managed to do this.

  14. Donna March 1, 2005 at 12:41 pm #

    And I thought Hollywood guys were bad! I’m so sorry that so many men in your life didn’t fully appreciate how beautiful you are. A great post and a good reminder to us all.

  15. alice March 1, 2005 at 1:26 pm #

    So now, as with so much in my life, I have come to my own accomodations and remain the sole custodian of my own self esteem. No one else has the right to tamper with it, knowingly or not, and no one save me has responsibility for its health and luster.

    Amen, Mindy. Amen.

  16. Mr McMuffin March 1, 2005 at 7:41 pm #

    On your honeymoon!  The mind boggles.

  17. Elizabeth March 9, 2005 at 5:12 am #

    This made me want to stand up and cheer.

    So I will.

    *wild applause*

    In other words, right on sister. Now, the question: how to we raise our kids so that no one can screw with their self-image so easily?

    (runs off in horror)

    Wait, it’s all about Mindy. Back to Mindy. *breathe*

    Thank heavens you made it so far in your journey. I think so many of us get stuck somewhere along the way, thinking if we just find the right guy….

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