The Girls On Instagram Don't Look Like The Girls On Instagram
I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I look lately.
When you’re planning a wedding, your targeted ads become a hellscape curated by The Plastics.
There’s all this pressure to cultivate an aesthetic not only for your wedding (ours is apparently, “Classic with a bit of Simple and a touch of Elegant”) but also for yourself.
That dress? That’s the ugliest effing dress I have ever seen. And your pores are huge. And your nailbeds suck.
This is what you should look like.
It messes with you - especially when you fall down a rabbit hole in which every girl seems to be a Diet Kardashian.
Tina Fey said it best:
“Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”
I saw the above picture and thought the same thing I always do when I see pictures of Kim Kardashian:
"She looks great."
Regardless of your opinion of her - looking good is the woman's job and to bite from Jay-Z - she's not a businessman, she's a business, man. And cousin, business is a'boomin'.
Kim's waist gets tinier and tinier every year and she made the conscious, calculated (and let's face it - fucking brilliant because we're talking about it, ain't we?) decision to wear a garment in which she couldn't sit comfortably. A garment which required her to take breathing lessons so she wouldn't pass out.
You're wearing a dress; not exploring the briny fucking depths with Steve Zissou.
Is it worth it?
For Kim? Yeah.
For me? Definitely not, but there's a part of me - way back in my head - that wonders why I don't look like that. Wonders whether I should look like that. Wonders if I could look like that.
And then, the logical part of my brain kicks in and goes, "You're in a room with all of the people you love but you can't breathe properly, you can't really dance, you can’t go to the bathroom and oh, there's all this dope Indian food but you can't eat it. How does that sound?"
Like my own personal version of hell.
Women have always done this. From Chinese foot binding to whale bone corsets to injecting cow toxins in our faces to erase any indication that we had once laughed or squinted into the sun. I don't know if it's gotten worse but thanks to the advent of Instagram, it's certainly gotten more prevalent and I think it's affecting women in older and younger demographics than before.
We do so much attempting to attain what we deem to be ideal.
We count calories, we work out, we try diets where we eliminate sugar or starches or all fats. We assign morality to food which is insane because it's food. Food doesn't belong on the alignment chart. It's not as green juice is lawful good and nachos are chaotic evil.
I think we all know that if any food is evil, it's lima beans. They're a trash vegetable that taste like chalk and have no place in civilized society.
We beat ourselves up over what we look like or what we don't look like.
I made a Facebook post the other day.
I routinely refer to myself as Jessica Hobbit - a cheeky bit of self-deprecating humor because I've got Jessica Rabbit's curves but they're all smashed down into Samwise Gamgee's size (and feet but that's neither here nor there).
Then, I read something in Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered - the My Favorite Murder book:
Be kind to little you.
Georgia Hardstark relayed a story about a girl on Instagram who would post Throwback Thursday images of herself as a child with a cruel caption making fun of herself for how fat she was. Georgia realized that she did this to herself too, but in a different way - mentally berating herself for being a, “stupid fucking idiot” over minor transgressions like forgetting her sunglasses or taking the wrong turn.
Her therapist said break this cycle, she should picture little Georgia at five-years-old and imagine calling her a, “stupid fucking idiot.”
That helped Georgia break the cycle and be kinder to herself.
I think about myself as a child and how shitty it would be to hear this. How I wouldn't recognize the humor but rather, zero in on the fact that someone was making fun of me. Focus on the fact that if I was taller like everyone else, I could be pretty.
But I’m not.
So, I can’t.
This broke my fucking heart because Tiny Jaime doesn’t deserve to hear that shit.
She deserves to hear that she is going to be a writer, that she’s going to see the world, that one day, she’ll have not one but two dogs and that she needs to take better advantage of the truly excellent supermarket sandwiches in England.
It made me realize that I should probably stop saying poisonous shit about myself....which is a damn shame because fuck, it's a clever line, but it's not worth the papercuts to my self-esteem.
It's taken me a long time to realize that my appearance is not my worth.
The people in my life don't love me because of the size of my waist or my bust or my lashes or my lips.
If anything, the people in my life want to go out and get a good meal with me. They love me for the way I opine about cheese (Just yesterday, I told my friend Brittany that Trader Joe’s Syrah-soaked Toscano, honey and almonds is like cocaine for poor people) and the fact that I’ll always share my food.
I’ll admit that I'm vain and I want to look good at my wedding. That's why I have over 1000 points on my Sephora card - a majority of which came from false eyelash purchases.
So, I'm eating a little healthier and trying to go to yoga more regularly. But I'm also not going to go overboard.
More vegetables, more fruit and more water but I'm also not gonna say not to grabbing a couple of forkfuls of the Yuca Brava at Zipitios because holy shit, they come with a Valentina Hot Sauce aioli and it is goddamn magical.
Eat what you love. Love who you are.
It’s easy to say but tough to do.
But don’t we owe it to ourselves to try?
Charles Bukowski said it best. Bastard always does, doesn’t he?
“nobody can save you but
you will be put again and again
into nearly impossible
they will attempt again and again
through subterfuge, guise and
to make you submit, quit and/or die quietly
nobody can save you but
and it will be easy enough to fail
so very easily
but don’t, don’t, don’t.
just watch them.
listen to them.
do you want to be like that?
a faceless, mindless, heartless
do you want to experience
death before death?
nobody can save you but
and you’re worth saving.
it’s a war not easily won
but if anything is worth winning then
this is it.
think about it.
think about saving yourself.”