Love Me, Love My [Im]Perfections?

My bestie and I have known each other since we were 11. We met on the school bus when we connected over the fact we both had very, very, very hairy legs. All we wanted to do is to be able to shave. Obsession with body hair is a thing when you're a teenage girl. How would you be loved by a boy with hairy legs? Or hairy eyebrows, as another friend suggested, wielding a pair of tweezers at the two hairy caterpillars above my eyes. One cannot underestimate the '90s for overplucked eyebrows. It's a price I had to pay for acceptance. Clearly I wasn't acceptable with the ones I was born with. I can only recall one time where I was complimented by my peers. It was at a sleepover. The girl reached out and touched my lips, telling me they were beautiful. I felt a little butterfly flip in my tummy.

Growing up on warm Australian beaches, I was known as the girl with a rather large bust, often out in the sunshine because I refused to give a fuck. I had them and they had a right to be in the sunshine, damn it. I had a tiny waist and big boobs and most of the time compared myself to others not knowing my own gorgeousness at the time. It's a fact of womanhood you don't appreciate your own beauty until you are past all that. I don't think I've ever looked in the mirror and thought myself beautiful. Ever. That was other girls. If you've ever had a classically beautiful girlfriend you'll know what I mean. Because they get all the compliments, and you don't get any, you grow up thinking yourself sub par. Beauty standards suck, even though you know that what's on the surface doesn't matter. Even that becomes a joke. 'She must have a reallllllyyyy good personality' they boys will tease, talking about the plain girls.

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At 50, you stop caring so much, although you'll veto the majority of the photos that family take of you and want to put on line. Sunset filters mute the edges of wrinkles and other signs of age. Gah, we live in a society that is image driven - can you blame us woman for being so self critical?

Getting into our wetsuits yesterday for a wintry surf, my bestie and I are joking around about getting too fat for our wetties. Two fat old surfing ladies. As we take them off to reclothe we are still talking about body hair. 'Oh my god!' I squeal. 'Are you growing a beard!!'. I point to the six long chin hairs she's cultivating. We talk about how it's unfair men can grow beards and the benefits of having a pair of tweezers in the car so one can pluck the shame from our chins at the lights.

She also has a growth on her upper arm. A massive kinda... Mole? A creature about to hatch from her freckled arm? A wart that fell off her hairy chin? I call her a fat hairy witchy poo. We fall apart giggling. Turns out it's a squamous cell carcinoma and she'll be having it removed next week.

It strikes me that a friendship of 40 years is not about how pretty you are at all. She looks and me and feels love, and I the same. We are sisters from another mister, and love each other unconditionally.

My husband though, he's a different story. There's something seriously wrong with his vision. He thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world and has been telling me that for twenty years, relentlessly. Even my profile, which I loathe beyond all comprehension. He thinks my looks are so European. They are, with my Slovenian/Germanic heritage, with a dash of Italian and Yorkshire in there too. But I've just seen that as a very farm woman kinda look. Heavy features. You should see my great great great grandmother on my mother's side. She looked - strong. And terrifying. Clearly, my ancestral DNA came down that ugly tree, smashing into all the branches as it descended. I don't mind my knees though.


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Okay, okay I realise I'm being self deprecatory. But I can't, just can't, see what others see. I laugh when my husband tells me I'm gorgeous or cute or beautiful, though I secretly adore the lie compliment.

I don't know what people see when they see me. Is it my huge noble Cleopatran nose? My large buxom breasts? My crooked interesting teeth? My curvaceous figure?

They say that no singular version of you exists. How I see myself is different to how my father, my sister, my bestie or the butcher sees me. I see a singular view of my husband, perfectly imperfectly handsome, whereas another might not look at him twice. Perception is so discriminatory and judgemental that there is little truth in any descriptors at all.

The older I get, the less I really care. Those that love me think I'm beautiful. I have an inkling - just an inkling mind - that what they see is me.

With Love,

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31 comments
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

You are so right about the nineties and the over plucked eyebrows. My missus was mad for it! She is a bit more relaxed now. It's funny cos younger folk go for the gigantic black stripe of an eyebrow these days!

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Oh yes those really boxy stripes... The more I think about eyebrows the crazier they are!! But then we look wierd without them so how can you win?? 😂

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I thank the stars I never lost mine to a party accident!!

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Striking post. Even though I cannot relate to everything you wrote (I am of the male kind) what you wrote is so close to home. Our western society is so focused on producing "the same" with the focus on the superficial and shallow (i.e., skin). Visual preference as well, but from the male perspective. My own "life philosophy" is to embrace and emphasize difference, to accept what you are given (hairy legs and all). Accepting things for what they are, helps one in some sense to struggle less against the weird and arbitrary social standards that western society endorses.

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Yes! And the more one accepts themselves, the more they love and accept others too. Rejecting the beauty myths is an act of love! Let's always fight to look underneath the skin. Thanks for your comment.

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I compare it with what I call "Instagram food". You see all these amazing pictures of food on Instagram (or at least me) or videos about crazy cool bread shapes, but you rarely see the end result or taste the food. Especially with bread baking, those Instagram breads rarely taste as good. Before I write a whole blog: The picture looks awesome (skin-deep) but the taste is rarely as good because making good bread or food is often not Instagramable. Extrapolate this to all our social norms, it is all for the skin-deep image and not what is underneath or what one can offer/do for others. Sorry for the ramblings! I need a word limit 😅

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Haha no it's perfect!!!!! The analogy worked. I nearly got hooked into making what LOOKED like great noodles the other day but realised they had FAR too much oil and no veggies to speak of. Complexity and depth isn't showiness.

It must be equally hard to be a gorgeous sexy dish and no one takes the time to savor the real you beneath the beauty.

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Complexity and depth isn't showiness.

I really like this! Thank you! Complexity and depth are sometimes exactly the opposite, unsexy and laborious.

And yes, that is the sad truth. But in the end, although it is like this for me, I spend the time cooking or cultivating myself for myself and not for the opinion of others. I know this is not easy in our modern times and can be very solitary but you need to do it for yourself.

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Most of the time while reading this post I was laughing hysterically. You can be so snidely funny, you know? Especially when you describe yourself in derogatory terms, while we can see your beauty resting neatly between your words. Haha, you’re a liar, my girl!
BTW great knees, wish mine looked like that. ❤️🤗💕💕🤗❤️❤️❤️🤗💕

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Haha I'm glad you appreciated my self derogatory humour..

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Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to see yourself as others do. I know we all over emphasis, a lot on certain parts of ourselves, that it's really hard to just see you. I don't really enjoy looking in mirrors, I don't have any in the truck, only the wing mirrors on the outside.
I know that your beauty shines through, that's what matters the most as you have said.
I would love to see more people let go of their hang ups and just be free xxxxx

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only the wing mirrors on the outside.

Great for eyebrow plucking!!

There's nothing worse than accidentally going to take a photo on selfie mode... Aaaaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhhh.....

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(Edited)

I was laughing all way while reading your story... criticizing flaws with your bestie and even your own. Indeed, true friends are our best bullies..
And I somehow relate to what you said, as we age, we don't care about our looks..
I'm still young though, but oftentimes, I just don't care about how I look, especially when being swamped with a lot of stuff on my plate..lol

Looking at your first photo, you don't look like 50 though. Still young..and pretty.

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true friends are our best bullies..

Hahaha yes, but I'm never offended or upset by her, it's just funny.

you don't look like 50 though

The benefits of soft lifting and shadows 😂😂

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I have never been upset with my friends too.. They are the only ones who can say bad things about me unhesitantly 🤣..
So that's a photography technique I learned from you haha

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I used be concerned about how others saw me but as I got older, I found out, I don’t even give it a thought as much

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There's so much freedom in age! But I wish I had been comfy on my own skin when I was younger. I mean, sometimes I was but 'not enough' was always part of the story ..

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I think I can relate a bit though…. There’s always something

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The older I get the less I care too!! Tweezers for a furtive pluck at the traffic lights? I feel so LIGHT and RELEASED FROM MY SHAME after reading that!! What I'm LOVING here in Cyprus (that you CERTAINLY don't see on Aussie or Thai beaches!) is gloriously large, sturdy-thighed, hairy women HAVING FUN and not giving a fuck. Ploi remarked on it too.

My current challenge-shame on the beach here? I'm white skinned (as in not tanned) in a sea of bronzed sun worshippers. Even the pool attendant remarked on it. 😆

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Tweezers for a furtive pluck at the traffic lights

Omg I read a tweet about it the other day and tons of woman said they do it too. Then being at the lights and the woman in front AND the woman behind doing it... Ahahaha why didn't I realise most woman do this 😂😂

Even the pool attendant remarked on it

How rude!!!

gloriously large, sturdy-thighed, hairy women

Here's to that!!!

Sounds like you are already having fun!!

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I love this. It's a lot of the things I always talk about with my the girls I know and care about. They seemes too fixed on crazy beauty standards that they neglected their best attributes. A lot of them are amazing artists and they do not value what they even when they are also gorgeous. But I guess that's a lot of what society gets on your minds and it's too hard to put away.

Maybe I feel like I understand a bit more about this since I was mostly raised by my mom and I have a lot of her ideas in my head about so many things. It a weird thing but I guess it makes you more sensitive towards important problems that deal with people's looks and else.

I agree with your husband even when I don't know you. Ha, ha, ha. Call it a compliment of your favorite kind.

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(Edited)

Awwww thanks for the lovely compliment.

society gets on your minds and it's too hard to put away.

Yes, it's insidious and super hard to ignore! Hopefully your girl friends will rise above it....

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Yes, it's insidious and super hard to ignore! Hopefully your girl friends will rise above it....

And even if they don't, I'll be there to tell them you're beautiful, btch!* With tons of love and care 😂

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Imperfections are something that not many understand or want to deal with. Too bad that people don't accept loving someone different instead of getting used with the same type of girls.

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(Edited)

First I must say; how great to have a bestie that you have known that long! I don't have any friends that I have known for more than 10 years, and that's only one friend.

Of course I resonate with a lot of what you are saying. I would say almost all women do. After all, we live in a society where women are valued based on our looks.

I have actually learned to really appreciate my body though. I won't go as far as saying that I love my body but I can enjoy looking at myself in the mirror, especially naked. But this has been a process and all the work I have done on my sexuality and sexual energy over the last 5 years has definitely made a difference.

It's interesting, I seldom wear makeup nowadays and about 5 years ago I stopped dying my hair but lately, I have felt a desire to be more styled again. I was blond for so many years, that I still don't really recognize myself with darker hair (I'm dark blond naturally but was really blond as a child and then later started with blond highlights). Maybe I can share some pictures on Whatsapp in case you are interested, haha.

I also want to say that every time I have seen a picture of you, even though not often a very clear one, I have always thought that you are beautiful 🌸

xx

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If we style ourselves to feel good it should be for ourselves and not for others, right? Go for it!

I think I'm very selective with what I share online and it's never in a raw, unfiltered form! The camera is never kind. Thanks anyway!

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(Edited)

Have you noticed men are more accepting of compliments then women? If I say to a female friend that I like her shirt, she will say oh this old thing?? If I said the same to a man, he'd say thanks!

PS Hope your friend gets on ok after her op.

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Oh totally!!!! We negate the compliment, as if we are unworthy or have no right to be valued so! It's a practice to breathe and merely say: thankyou!!

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Yup, that was me. I never thought I was beautiful either. But there must have been something because my husband stuck with me all those years. And he loved blondes! LOL

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