Teenage me was nowhere near as pretty as the girl in the photograph, but she believed her life would be perfect if she could become pretty.
I am not a pretty girl, it isn't what I do.
You may be wondering why I would post a picture resembling my teenage self's ideal appearance.
Well, today's question for the Open Book Blog Hop is...
Do you think the child you were would be impressed by the person you've become?
Buckle up, Bitches, coz it's about to get real and it's about to get real salty. If you have a problem with profanity or with a frank discussion of topics such as depression and low self-esteem, the back arrow is your friend. I don't take kindly to people telling me how I should feel, what I should think, or whether I should pepper my speech with expletives.
I tackle some difficult subject matter in this post, including:
Discussion of sexual assault
If you think any of these points will be triggering for you, please approach with caution or avoid it. Whatever you deem best for your own mental health.
The child I was is disappointed in what I became, but she doesn't have much to say about it.
The teenager I was despises what I became.
So, what about me does my angry inner teen dislike so much about the woman I am?
I am broke and I am broken.
I became old without ever becoming fabulous first.
I have multiple health problems. These include endocrine problems. Thanks to a completely fucked endocrine system and decades of food insecurity both because of insufficient income to purchase adequate sustenance and because of being brainwashed into trying to hate myself thin, I was often in starvation mode. As Caroline Dooner says in The Fuck It Diet, your body doesn't know if you're in the middle of a famine or if you're trying to fit into a ridiculously small bikini. It reacts the same way.
The Fuck It Diet is the only diet anyone needs. I recommend it in conjunction with Health At Every Size.
Yes, I digress, but I will never pass up an opportunity to help people escape the prison of diet culture for good.
My inner teen doesn't get that chronic dieting destroys the body's ability to lose weight, particularly if said body also has endocrine problems. She is outraged by my "allowing myself to get so fat."
Yes, I use the word fat. It is a neutral description of a large physique with a high percentage of adipose tissue. I am an old, fat, disabled woman who lives in poverty. There is nothing wrong with any of this except for the poverty part. Nobody should live in poverty. A society that allows anyone to do so has failed. Because the little town where I live has a monthly food bank, my son and I have adequate provisions.
My son is not able to work a normal job either. He is high-functioning autistic and his sleep schedule is very irregular. He speculates that he may have a 25-hour circadian rhythm. He also has issues with depression and anxiety. He is not on disability because one of us needs to be able to amass savings in case of an emergency. People on disability are not allowed more than $2000 in savings. Considering that replacing a water heater, for instance, costs more than $2000, this is pretty fucked up.
Back to my inner teen. Considering that she hoped to become a beloved actress, a famous musician, a renowned writer married to a famous actor, musician, or fellow writer, or some combination of all of the above, I can understand why she is horrified at being stuck back in the early 1980s looking at me and knowing that I am what she will become.
I can understand why my inner teen despises me. I used to despise her too. I thought she was a horrible, spoiled brat who ruined my life.
I no longer hate the troubled girl I used to be. In the past five years, I've started to understand why my life turned out the way it did. I craved acceptance but never found it. An older boy sexually assaulted me when I was fifteen, but I believed it was not a "true" sexual assault because there was no PIV penetration. It took me 40 years to realize that unwanted digital penetration is sexual assault and to understand why I started acting out following this incident.
My inner child and inner teen are still integral to my creativity. Even though I am more psychologically fractured than someone who was accepted by their peers and had a normal and non-traumatic childhood, I have managed to become someone worthy of my own respect although I may never find it possible to like myself.
When I hear people saying you have to "love" yourself, that is such a strange concept to me and I think, no, I do not have to "love" myself. Attempting to do so feels forced and artificial. I need to respect myself and have compassion for myself, including all the fractured, wounded, broken bits. I need to realize that although I am not what anyone else would consider even remotely physically attractive, I am still worthy of being treated with common decency and respect and I will accept nothing less.
This is one of my favorite reasonably current pictures of myself despite the bloated "endocrine face." My Crowley doll makes my inner child happy. My inner teen wishes we had more time for writing fan fiction. Adult me realizes that I am a taskmaster when it comes to myself and I don't know if that will ever change.
I was still able to use Henna when this picture was taken and enjoyed changing the color of my hair every couple of months. Unfortunately, I developed an allergy to the Henna and my scalp became full of scabs and scales. It was itchy and unpleasant, so I gave up and went back to my natural gray. I'm not ashamed of my gray hair at all, I just had fun changing the color. My gray hair is very resistant to most dyes so regular hair dye won't work. I can't be arsed to color my hair at this point anyway.
Yeah, so that probably wasn't a pleasant read, but I'm not sorry. It's as real as it gets, and...
~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~
Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors
It would be a straight-up crime not to share the absolutely tan-fastic deep progressive house mix accompanying my writing on this fine day.