Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Beautiful / Invisible Thing

I've been reading a favorite blog of mine, and ran across a post about beauty (http://www.fatshionista.com/cms/index.php?option=com_mojo&Itemid=69&p=272) that hit me at a pretty sensitive spot. You see, I am not beautiful. At least not by society's standards. Now, I'll have friends that will insist that I am beautiful, but they are conflating my personality, and the qualities that they love about me, with beauty. And I love them for it, but I am not physically beautiful. While I may have some attractive features, I have a skewed face, and more damning, I am very fat. A winky eye and crooked smile can be forgiven on a size 6 or 10 or 14. But I am a size 24, and there is no socially-acceptable beauty in that.

In this post, the author wrote that she was not beautiful, and what I found particularly disturbing was the fact that she loved the invisibility associated with someone not conventionally attractive, and was especially fond of the compounding effect of age. I am beginning to feel this invisibility, and while I wish I felt the same relief, I instead feel rejected and mildly panicked. As it turns out, invisible people have a pretty fucking hard time finding boyfriends if they didn't have them before they became invisible.

Oddly enough, I don't think not being beautiful makes me an unattractive person. I happen to love the way I look, and historically have felt very comfortable in my skin. I am generally attracted to people in my same range of looks and intelligence, so until recently I've not been as concerned with how I look. Lack of success in the dating world and my new sense of invisibility has changed this, and I hate the new uncertainty that has found its way into my psyche. It makes me feel anxious about prettying up and getting as close to the ideal as possible, foolish when attraction isn't returned, and angry when my efforts aren't even marginally matched in the dating world (see previous rant post). And that self-confidence that I pride myself in erodes just a little bit further. Dating is not as fun as advertised - for me it has been soul-crushing.

My point is this: I am thinking of giving into being invisible. You see, I gave up on dieting about 7 years ago, and it was a process that began with pure, unadulterated rage. I was mad about the unfairness of trying over and over again to lose the fucking weight, and then happened upon the concept of... not dieting. Giving up the good fight, and accepting my body as it is. So now, with righteous anger over the vagaries of dating and attraction, the concept of not being so invested in attracting other people is floating up like a bubble into my thoughts. My efforts are rarely met, so what if I stopped? What if I let that go? What if I simply gave up?

Complicating these thoughts are my feelings... or lack thereof, for N. I traveled to see him. I'm in his town now. And I have moved beyond "not attracted" to him. I am finding myself physically repulsed by him. He smokes, which is usually not an issue for me, but the combination of cigarette and pot smoke on him is, frankly, gross. Even after brushing his teeth and showering, his skin reeks of the stuff. Beyond that, he has terrible allergies and is a heaving, phlegming, coughing mess. And the cpap machine that he has to use (which would normally not bother me), is the straw.

Given my own concerns about attractiveness and invisibility, this judgment of N is incredibly uncomfortable to own up to. He's a sweet, talented, caring, affectionate man. Who I happen to find repulsive. Oy, the guilt. He has that look of someone falling, and I am seriously putting on the brakes, and it is a special kind of torture to know it's never gonna happen. And to imagine that this is perhaps how others - those that I've found attractive - have viewed me... ouch. This feels like some sort of karmic lesson of the universe, and it's making the hated 500 Days of Summer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1022603/) make bitter sense.

So here's hoping I make it through the next 36 hours without screaming, "Stop touching me, you're grossing me out!!", and that I don't hate myself too much for thinking it. And that maybe I learn something about my heart.

ETA: Just realized that finding N unattractive doesn't complicate things, it simplifies them. I'm forced to acknowledge that attraction is completely organic - you can't really help it, or force it, for that matter. So maybe giving up on dating is not the solution, though maybe going in with fewer expectations is. I'm not talking about lowering my standards; rather, going in with less of an expectation that love should be so easy to find or figure out.

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