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Do You Feel Pretty?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

If you're a woman - "pretty" might have loaded meanings.

Is it the trappings of trying to fit into a patriarchal society? Is it vanity? Is it the stereotype of femininity? Is it trying to keep a deathgrip on youth in a society obsessed with youth?

When I was young, I loved all things makeup and beauty. Adored it, enjoyed it, I liked using cosmetics, playing with my hair, etc.

Then I came out as lesbian, and the very first lesbian friend I made had very different views. She felt using makeup and fussing with your hair was only for women trying to attract men's attention. She suggested I cut my hair, stop using makeup etc.

I tried, but that didn't last LOL.

Today, I'm back to the makeup and long hair I love.

Except, sometimes, I don't feel pretty. Yes, yes, beauty comes from within. Blah blah blah.

As a woman pushing life is changing. My kids are growing up, 2 of the 4 are adults living their own lives away from me. The teens left in the house enjoy poking fun at how old I am (Civil war and dinosaur jokes, etc).

This week as I've looked in the mirror, I see aging. My hair desperately needs to be colored - the gray roots blink like strobe lights under the fluorescent lights in the restrooms at my work. The fine lines - from laughter and worry - are clearly visible to me.

I've not felt pretty lately. The beginnings of menopause are changing my skin, and I often wonder "who is that?" when I look in the mirror. My face is no longer young and taut...but softer.

My weight doesn't help things.

I'm not a vain person. I don't base my self worth on my appearance, usually anyway. I'm living my life as fully as possible - today. Wrinkles, weight, graying hair, and all.

I wondered this a.m., what would make me feel pretty? Well, my nail polish is a few specks on some fingers...I could re do that. I could make the time to get my hair cut so that I could color it and not have my eye drawn to the gray every time I see a mirror. I could make sure that clothes I feel good in are clean and pressed and ready for next week.

Love myself as I am? Well, that's been a lifelong project and it's not over yet.

Thanks for sticking through to the end of my thinking out loud on being "pretty". Tell me, if you lasted through the whole thing, what makes you feel pretty? If you're a guy, you can tell me what makes you feel good about your appearance. Or what makes you feel pretty if you're that kind of guy, too. :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PIDJEN 7/30/2012 9:52PM

    I am so glad I came across your blog post! The "pretty" question is one I'm asking myself about lately. I was down to my goal weight two years ago, but have since gained the weight back. The issue is that I've never really felt terribly bad about my body, so whether I'm at my heaviest or my most slender, I still basically feel the same inside--just kind of in the land of in-between--not to bad, not too good, but ok.

When I've felt my prettiest hasn't ever depended on my weight, but like you, I do love playing with make-up. I feel at my prettiest when I have my face played up with pigmented eye shadows and liner (I love mineral makeup powders--so easy and colorful), and I feel wonderful in the perfect shade of blush.

And, I always feel at my prettiest when I have super short hair--even though my husband doesn't necessarily like my short hair--I know he prefers it long. I just feel perkier with short hair, more energetic, more playful, and THAT is what makes me feel at my prettiest. It's that energy factor.

I don't always "love myself as I am", that's for sure. I still feel chunky, I feel like I'm quite a clumsy person, and I can point out a hundred physical flaws (at least). But, even when I have the extra weight, putting some color on my face, some sheer lip gloss, and getting my hair cut short makes me feel confident, energetic and funny, and those things make me feel pretty, or at least pretty enough. :)

Also, I think you're lovely, for what it's worth! :)

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TERRYT55 6/4/2012 8:12PM

    I do feel pretty! I think being thinner and much more fit help so much. I think when you feel well it's easier to feel pretty......maybe the feeling is coming from the inside and making me feel pretty on the inside. I have no idea if this made sense........loved your blog!

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GOPINTOS 6/3/2012 5:28PM

    I am starting to again. Feel like wearing something other than the biggest baggiest whatever I can find. It is funny though, still in some plus sizes but it just feels different for some reason. Recently I have bought a couple new shirts, the other day some new under garments, and they just look nice and gives me more confident which exudes more sensual/sexuality. Confidence alone is a sexy attribute. Sexy and pretty are too different things, but I am getting both back :)


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Wheat Belly Team

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HISTORYRUNNER 6/3/2012 12:55PM

    No Regret, an honest and interesting post. Thank you.

GraceMcDog, I'm curious about how you would have to overcompensate with other women. Does that mean you felt you'd have to be overly friendly or complimentary of their appearance, or am I missing something?

Here is one guy's perspective on what makes me feel good about my appearance. To me, if I'm on my exercise and nutrition, then my body feels good, and I feel good about how I look. I don't have a weight problem, but it's mostly about whether things feel balanced and healthy inside or not. I don't have to dress up for work so I am pretty casual (but clean) about how I dress. The only thing I'm somewhat self-conscious about is some psoriasis that I have been battling for years. I try not to unveil too much to the rest of the world.

Hope this helps! emoticon

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GRACEMCDOG 6/2/2012 4:03PM

    Nicely written piece. Pretty? Hmm. There were times in my life when I both loved and hated how pretty I was. It got me a lot of attention. But it also caused most people to make wild assumptions about me that, if they got to know me, they would discover were based only on preconceived prejudices, i.e., a beautiful woman is never intelligent or witty or NOT self-centered. I hated how my physicality caused many men and some women to immediately objectify me sexually. I hated always feeling that I needed to overcompensate with other women so they wouldn't envy, resent, dislike me. Once you hit 50 or so, especially if you're overweight, you become invisible. That took some getting used to but now, most of the time, I love how liberating it is to exist outside the game of Attraction Power Politics. I care absolutely NOTHING for clothes, jewelry, makeup (maybe wear a little once a year or less). I LOVE my silvery hair and would never even consider doing anything to alter it to make me look younger. My wrinkles don't phase me. But I hate being fat and not feeling healthy. Health, being slender and strong and feeling really good are everything to me at this stage of my life. I chose to live in a very rural setting, work physically hard on our property for as long as I am able and work with dogs. My designer clothes are all gathering dust at the back of my closet. I never think about feeling pretty or attractive. That part of my life is in the past. I am grateful that I am as fit and healthy as I am at 61 and enjoying, as my friend Norah says, embracing my inner crone.

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ALIHIKES 6/2/2012 12:17PM

    Interesting blog post! I do like to try to look my best -- hair colored and styled, clothes that fit and flatter my figure, and light make up on. I have strong features, and as I've gotten older with more lines on my face, I'm aiming to look as nice as I can (short of heavy makeup and plastic surgery!). I don't think I've ever felt "pretty" but I try for "attractive" and "friendly".

Loved your belly dance video!

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SUZBOISANNE 6/2/2012 10:42AM

    Hmmmm.... being thinner makes me feel good inside and out. I love to wear nice clothes and do my hair and make-up. I like to take pride in my appearrance. It could be some vanity in there too :) But I figure why not look as good as I can if that makes me happy and confident?
It's part of taking good care of myself..... physically, emotionally and spiritually. Enjoy your day!!!

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So, this is me, bellydancing

Monday, May 28, 2012

I post this because I want other large women to know, YES you can too bellydance!

I've been working on the costume, and this was a run through to help me see what else needs to happen with it before the second week in June. The dance? I had a hard time remembering the choreo, LOL. I can see myself thinking thinking thinking....

Is this my best ever performance? Nope. But here it is anyway. If you are obese, or you are over 40, or you have some reason that you are NOT doing the things you dream it anyway. Life is short. Just do it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRYT55 6/12/2012 8:47PM

    I watched this video days ago and realized that I never made a comment. You are a fabulous dancer, look terrific and are beyond brave! I can't imagine putting myself "out there" like you do and being judged too. You ROCK, Lisa

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KATCHAGIRL 5/30/2012 12:14PM

    THAT WAS FREAKIN' AWESOME!!!! :) You ROCK!! Thanks for putting a big smile on my face this morning!!! Very cool. Keep it up and I LOVE the outfit, very nice.

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SHAMILTON311 5/28/2012 9:31PM

    That looks like a lot of fun. You looked very professional,just how I pictured a belly dancer, and the costume was gorgeous, too.

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IAMFRANSGIRL 5/28/2012 11:17AM

    Thanks so much for sharing, I know it wasn't easy and you're amazingly brave to put yourself out there like that!
I left a comment at the youtube link. You totally rock!

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GLITTER60 5/28/2012 10:16AM

    sounds like fun. life is about enjoy yourself.

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KELLYDRESCHER 5/28/2012 9:49AM

    Look at how strong your body is! That's awesome. The smile on your face is worth it all. You look so happy out there. Kudos!

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Excellence is possible, perfection is not

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yesterday was a successful day as far as the "Just for today" goals I made for myself.

I am still in a learning curve as far as getting my carbs to around 40% of my calories and my protein to around 30%. I could look at yesterday, where carbs were 50% and protein was 18% and say "I blew it again"...and there have been many times when perfectionism certainly took me there. Today, after running the report for yesterday, my very first (perfectionism) thought was 'wow that's way off :('. No, it's not. It's off, but way off? No.

That's the problem with perfectionism, it takes the perspective out of your vision - you see everything as worse (or better) than it really is.

So, today, the goals are the same. I've examined what I ate yesterday, and identified something I could change to lower those carbs and I have plenty of low-fat options for raising the protein bar.

Just for today. I won't worry about the weekend, or next week, I will only worry about TODAY.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAKEMAKERMOM 5/25/2012 10:35AM

    It could have been worse. Every day is a learning day and you can take what you learned from yesterday and apply it to today. Keep it up!

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Just for today

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just for today, I will eat 6 small meals

Just for today, I will take my meds/supplements

Just for today, I will increase the amount of water I drink from little to more

Just for today, I will stop beating myself up about how much I weigh

Just for today, I will carefully balance my protein/carb/fat ratio to assist my body's proper insulin response

Just for today, I will dance until I sweat

I can do these things today. When I look at the lifestyle changes for a lifetime, I often do "just for today" backwards - I have the cookie or other wheat item that makes me feel bad and revs my blood sugar. I sit instead of dance. I live in shame because I'm not "strong" enough. All I have is today, and today, I choose to do my list above, because all I have to do it for

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IAMFRANSGIRL 5/25/2012 5:06AM

    Thank you for the reminder to live in today. I forget to focus on today and worry about tomorrow way to much. I hope you make your just for today list goals.

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GOPINTOS 5/24/2012 8:00PM

    You got it! And thanks for the reminder. I forgot my vitamins!!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Wheat Belly Team

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MIAJOEB 5/24/2012 12:05PM

    Keep up the good work, one minute at a time somedays.

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SUSIEQ911 5/24/2012 9:55AM


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BECKYSRN 5/24/2012 8:59AM

    One day at a time, girlfriend!

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WALIDGAZALA 5/24/2012 8:39AM

    Great emoticon

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Things that make you go hmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So, a couple days after my doctor appointment where he suggested a workup by an endocrinologist, he called back after reviewing labs done with my previous doctor. His first question was "So, what was Dr. V doing for your polycystic ovarian syndrome?"

I said, my what? I don't think I have that....and he said, "your labs in 2010 and 2011 look pretty clear to me (insert his repeating a bunch of stuff I don't even remember or understand) which look like a clear indication of PCOS to me." I asked, well what would we do about that?

and he said, "Send you to an endocrinologist - it's managed by taking care of your insulin resistance mostly, but it is a really sound reason for why you work so hard and lose no weight."

Huh. Who knew? So, I've done a bit of reading both here on spark and on the web and symptom wise, yep that could be me alright. Especially the stories here on spark where women talk about working out like a madwoman - some training for intense marathons/triathalons - and not losing a pound for weeks or months.

Diet-wise, it looks like the same thing I'm doing now - keeping the carbs down, avoiding "white food" (flour sugar potato). Lots of women are started on metformin or another diabetic type oral medication - with varying results.

Nothing to lose by seeing that endocrinologist, so I'll do it. Can I just say, there is a tiny bit of justification here? Many times I've seen various providers or people at Weight Watchers or the supervised fast thing I did, and I could tell they didn't believe me about how much I ate/exercised. I could see it on their faces that they thought either I was binging and not telling, or I wasn't being as careful as I thought I was - because, why else when I'm doing everything right I can't lose any weight? I must not be doing it "right".

So, this is a little vindication.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECKYSRN 5/23/2012 11:01AM

    It just goes to show that your individual system is what helps or hinders your success at weight loss. Insulin resistance is definitely an issue and if that can be addressed that will be a good thing. Good luck at the endocrinologist.

Comment edited on: 5/23/2012 11:02:13 AM

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