I’m Stupid, Ugly and Ridiculous by Kimberley Johnson

As I read through the stories, articles and interviews that have come in since June 10, 2011, I am delighted, saddened and perplexed.

This collection is not about providing a “fix it” to a better self-image. Its purpose is to show that we all experience some kind of issue when it comes to our looks. To date, there is only one story “I am Beautiful” where someone found a way to love herself. But she explains that she initially found fault with almost every aspect of her appearance.

Some will say that a negative body/self image comes from our upbringing. Others blame the media. But is that all true? Of course the media doesn’t help matters but is it the reason people have a hard time accepting the skin they’re in? And as for messages from family: When I was a little girl, I told my mother “I’m stupid, ugly and ridiculous.” Where did this idea come from? Neither one of my parents sent me this message and both had a pretty healthy self-image. For some reason, before the media could get to me, I decided this was fact and even though I don’t still say that, I have carried that insecurity with me my entire life.

Media and family definitely can and do play a part but I don’t think it’s the only reason.

I was a strange kid. At around age six, I became obsessed with braces. I would wear tin foil on my teeth at school. A boy called me “brace face” and meant it as an insult. I was THRILLED! He thought the tin foil was thousands of dollars worth of corrective metal in my mouth, placed there by a dentist. I fooled him and felt like I had accomplished something. I got it into my head that braces were attractive. If only I could have had crooked teeth. THEN I would be happy. I graduated to head-gear. For some reason, I believed that if I got to wear head-gear retainers, I would be satisfied—to the point that one day when I was nine,  I wore the UHF antenna from my TV in my mouth to school. (I told you I was strange). I wore it proudly and can only imagine what the teachers must have thought about my home life. I laugh as I write this. Clearly, it is all about perception.   

I can’t help but wonder if feeling dissatisfied with our looks is an innate human condition. Perhaps it is part of what we must experience in order for our souls to evolve. We somehow feel like we don’t fit in or have a sense of inadequacy and we don’t understand it so we focus on something we do understand: our looks. It then becomes a problem with a possible solution. “If only I lose the weight, people will accept me.” “If I get these wrinkles filled in, I will love myself.” “If I color my hair, my life will be complete.”

It never satisfies the core issue though. Maybe we will feel a little better in the short run but the inadequacies creep up again and the cycle continues. The people who can find a way to relax, evolve.

There are so many books and shows and articles that claim to help you. Do they? Have you ever read any kind of self-help book that changed your life so positively and drastically? I imagine the majority will say no. Maybe there was a kernel of information that stuck and it stayed with you but overall, at least in my opinion, it is just another way for someone to claim they have the answer and make money off of your fears. I have fallen victim, whether it’s been from a book or an article on the cover of a magazine. I can honestly say I have NEVER read anything that made all, or even most, of my insecurities vanish.

I have no answer. I question it myself. As these stories come in, I see the value. It is that we ALL fight the demons in our own way. Some have it much worse and some have an easier time but, as humans, we all deal with some form of body insecurity that seems to dictate who we think we are.

I take heart when I read these stories and see that so many have the exact same thoughts as I do, including men. I don’t feel so alone. Since this blog was born, I have thought about these stories when I am out and about and look at people. I try to imagine what other people are thinking privately. Are they happy with their bodies? I know they have to have some grievance. Do they obsess about it or are they one of the luckier ones who don’t pay that much attention?

I will say this. When I am doing something, anything that makes me feel good, I am not focused on what I don’t like about my looks.

Food for thought.

Submit your story here: http://arkstories.com/bodyimageblog.html

Copyright Arkstories 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: