First World Problems

I was on the phone with Mr. T sometime last week. I always call him on my lunch break, and when I leave work for the day. Because I leave so early in the morning and he gets home so late in the evening, we don’t have a lot of time to spend together during the week. Anyway – he mentioned how difficult it was to talk on the phone. An entire hand dedicated to holding a computer to his face severely limited his ability to get things done, and also made his arm tired. I remarked on his first world problem and how awful it was for him to be a middle-class white guy in the United States who had a wife that loved him enough to want to talk to him.

Now begins a stream of consciousness while I wallow in self-pity:

…I have terrible self-esteem. I have a very low opinion of myself, and I honestly have no idea where it comes from. Mr. T wanted to blame my parents because they have been known to overreact to certain clothing choices I’ve made in my life. But I’ve been like this for always. I even remember in high school Mom trying to get me to buy makeup and fix my hair…wear shorts and swimsuits (I didn’t wear shorts until college because I hated my body so much). And it doesn’t make sense! I was smaller in high school than I am now, but I wore overly-large t-shirts and baggy jeans because I didn’t like my body. Not because I was skinny, either. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t like it. But I didn’t.

In high school I started wearing shirts that fit me, instead of swallowing me. And one of my “friends” told me I was dressing like a slut in an attempt to get a boyfriend! I didn’t wear skirts or shorts or even tank tops. I just wore small t-shirts instead of medium or large. Because they fit me. *grumble grumble* Also, no one – no one – ever asked me out in high school. I have no idea why that’s such a big deal to me. But I was miserable. I had crushes! There was this guy that I had a crush on…he asked me out. And my friend was pressuring me to say yes to him. Pressure, pressure, pressure… Anyway, I finally said yes and then found out the same friend had pressured him to do it in the first place – he didn’t really want to date me and thought I would say “no” immediately and possibly slap him for it. Why do I remember that?? I have no idea. It was humiliating. That, and a guy in the 4th grade who wrote me a note asking if I liked him to which I replied “maybe” (So coy, I was!) were the only two times I was ever asked out prior to college. Oh, and the guy in the 4th grade ended up being gay.

I worked really hard to overcome all my body issues in college. I was in marching band, and it was HOT. We’d spend 12 hours outside. In August. In Tennessee. On a football field with no shade. I had to wear shorts. And tank tops. There were chicks who wore sports bras but I never got that brave. Once, in the rec center, I was like “I’m going to do it! I’m going to wear a sports bra without a shirt over it!” and a woman came up to me and asked me to put a shirt on, because there were middle school students practicing basketball. >.< Anyway – as I became more comfortable with my body I became more comfortable with myself. I made friends! I had maybe 2-3 legit friends in high school. And get this…guys asked me out. It was crazy! I honestly had no idea how to react. lol! I even found out much later from guys that they had liked me, but never asked me out. I was totally oblivious to it, because it had never happened to me before.

So, yeah. I’ve really struggled with being comfortable with myself. I don’t know if it’s a female thing…I don’t know if I struggle with it more or less than other people. I know it’s not as serious as, say, starving to death in Africa, or being sold into marriage as a twelve-year-old Indian girl. But just because there are people suffering more than you, doesn’t mean you can’t be upset. I mean, don’t act like a bad haircut is the end of the world, but don’t feel like you can’t complain about something just because someone else is worse off. Keep things in perspective, and don’t complain about a waitress to your friend at her mom’s funeral, but still.

Anyway. What I’m trying to say is….at this point in my life, after all I’ve been through, I still feel like freshman me, who was just trying to dress better than I had been and suddenly was being called a slut. Like….what did I do wrong?? Is this inappropriate? I felt pretty, and happy, and confident 5 seconds ago and now suddenly I want to throw all my clothes out and start over. Why do people still have that power over me?? I’m really struggling with determining what thoughts I should believe, and which ones I should ignore. Is this really too low-cut, or is that my mom’s voice in my head, telling me cleavage is “nasty” and just “boob-crack”? And even if it is her, is she right? Is my skirt too short, or am I just insecure about my legs? Am I trying so. hard. to be comfortable with myself, I’ve gone too far to the other side?

And it’s not just me that is being impacted by my past – so are all the people that are looking at me. When someone says what I’m wearing is inappropriate…is it really? Where is the line? I’d like to say that everyone has to decide for themselves what is appropriate, but then you see those people at water parks that really should have bought a suit with more fabric…. Even I posted a status not too long ago about girls dressing like hooker to attend college graduation ceremonies. Who knows – I’m sure a stranger has posted a status about my wardrobe choices at one point or another.

I was trying to talk to Mr. T about it, and he has managed to embrace a life philosophy that says “It doesn’t matter what other people think. If I like it, I wear it.” I wish I could. It seems like guys have an easier time of it. Maybe I think that just because I’m a woman. More than likely it’s just because I’m me. I hope not everyone has to deal with such crippling decision-making-ness. I am very rarely comfortable with myself. I second- third- and sometimes even fourth-guess my decision on an outfit.

I’m having a hard time explaining myself. Basically where all this came from is….someone told me I dress inappropriately for church, and it’s brought back all these terrible feelings that I’ve been trying to overcome my entire life. I have this constant weight of imagined judgement on me all day, every day. I never feel like I’m behaving/dressing/acting appropriately. I desperately want to be myself, but I’m so afraid that no one will like me.

Gonna go ahead and post this before I change my mind. PEACE.


2 thoughts on “First World Problems

  1. We talked about reading your blog, so I’m going to play catch up now.

    I think we all go through this. I certainly have plenty of issues with my body, and alot of them are related to size. I envy someone your size who can wear short things and look “hot” instead of “gross” which is why I have been hesitant to wear shorts in my life.
    Having tattoos makes me want to show then off, so I don’t know if I am necessarily putting some of my issues to rest. They are however evolving with my tattoo awareness :)

    • I’ve felt that same frustration – someone complains about the way they look and I’m like “Gurl, if I looked like you, I would never doubt my appearance!” Have you seen that amazing Dove commercial where they have the artist draw two portraits – one of how the woman perceived herself, and one of how a stranger saw her? It was amazing…we have terrible opinions of ourselves!

      And having tattoos does help – I’m much more willing to wear shorts and bikinis because I want people to see my tattoos! 8}

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