Ugly.

I try not to think about what I look like.

Instead, I tend to concentrate on how I feel.  When I’m laughing or talking or twirling, I feel happy.  I feel alive.  I feel brightly colored and twinkling and like joy itself in motion.  I let the emotions bubble up from my insides until I have completely forgotten about the outside.

And then, sometimes, someone will say, “gosh, you’re pretty.”

And it stops me in my tracks.  I’m suddenly aware of the ringlets on my head and my ridiculously large grin.  And for two seconds I think, “happiness must look good on me.”

And then I lower my eyelashes and my chin, and I try as hard as I can to shrink so that it is harder to look at me.  “Thank you,” I’ll say, before quickly finding a way to change the subject and start moving again, hoping to shift their focus before they can see me in still life.  Before they can really see me – and all my flaws.

Or, sometimes, I bask in that moment.  I believe them.  I take it in and let myself believe that maybe, just maybe, I am pretty now.  All grown up.  That maybe my outsides have changed and I’ve simply missed it.  And I’ll continue to laugh and talk and wave my hands around with my words without feeling the need to get smaller for a minute.

And then, later, I’ll see pictures.  And I’m ashamed that I let myself feel pretty for a moment.  I’m embarassed that I forgot, that I let reality escape me in exchange for good feelings and sweet compliments.

I sat in a pizza parlor in Chicago on a Sunday afternoon and cried at the sight of myself.  Adam and I were going through the pictures on his camera that he’d taken over the course of the BlogHer weekend – a weekend when I had laughed much and allowed myself to get swallowed up by the happiness and good vibes.  And then I was sitting across a checkered table cloth from reality.  I was staring at my pudgey face and thick arms.  I was face to face with my goddamned lazy eye.  I had to get up and leave for a moment, because the humiliation was just too much.

I don’t know why I’m struggling with this lately.

And mostly, I don’t know how to fix it.

My mom, oddly enough, is going through a very similar struggle – a fact I find comforting and sad all at the same time.

I have no shortage of people in my life who are eager to build me up.  My husband, my family, my friends – even you, dear readers – I am blessed with a constant barage of encouragement and praise.  If it was possible for others to make you feel beautiful, I would no doubt walk around feeling like a fairy princess all the time.

And yet… no.

I’m repulsed at the reflection of my naked body in a mirror.

I physically flinch when I stumble across a picture of myself that hasn’t been properly photo shopped.

I’m afraid to let myself think, even for a moment, that I might be pretty.  I’m afraid that I’ll fall in love with the illusion, and someone will come along and remind me how stupid I was for ignoring my imperfections.

Who do you think you are?

I imagine them sneering at me, laughing at my misplaced vanity.

It has to come from me.  I know that.  The affirmations of loved ones and strangers only serve to illustrate how untouchable my insecurities are to the outside world.

But I don’t know where to start.  My mother tells me about how my sister-in-love (that’s what I’m calling my little brother’s girlfriend) focuses on one thing she likes about her appearance.  She’s years younger than I am, and yet clearly has a better handle on her self esteem than I do.  And yet, even when I think about trying that, I immediately hear the voices.

Who do you think you are?

And I cower, ashamed that I tried to build myself up.

I don’t know how to give myself permission to feel beautiful.

And even more than my reflection, I hate that I’ve become this walking ball of insecurities.  I hate the idea of self loathing and how pathetic it is.  I hate cowering.  I hate shrinking.  I hate the doubt and the annoying need to rebuff anyone who would dare compliment me.

I do not cower.

I do not shrink.

I, if nothing else, am strong.

I just happen to hate the way I look.

And I don’t have a fucking clue what to do about it.

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  1. Avitable says:

    Young grasshopper, you must learn the ways of the ego. Let your ego whisper in your ear and tell you the wonderful things that you are.

    As a trained master in the ways of the Ego, I will train you.

  2. Nyt says:

    I’ll tell you exactly what it took me YEARS to learn. I’m 43 years old and I stand at six foot two. I don’t look like everyone else…I never will… and hold myself to any kind of standard of beauty? Ridiculous! I like how I look in a well fitting pair of jeans. I like the feel of a crisp white shirt. I adore the fact that my temples have gone grey. All of the so-called “flaws”? Mere exclamation points on individuality. What women need to learn desperately is that they are INDIVIDUALS, not clones to be judged by themselves or others. A wrinkle here, a bit of flab there, merely signs of a life well-lived. When I finally leave this earth I want my friends and family to exclaim “wow! she really lived!” not “wow, she always looked pretty in that dress”. (BTW, there will be no dress, the jeans, the white shirt and the suede jacket? All going with me!)

    • Dee says:

      @Nyt, “All of the so-called “flaws”? Mere exclamation points on individuality.” is pure gold – I love your words and the thoughts behind them.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Nyt, ‘“wow! she really lived!” not “wow, she always looked pretty in that dress”.’

      A worthy aspiration – and one I try to focus on, most of the time. Until someone comments on that damn dress!

  3. pgoodness says:

    Screw what people think of you. Maybe you don’t hate what you look like, maybe you hate what you think people think you look like. Happiness and confidence make people look beautiful; pictures can never capture who you really are.

    Or, uh, listen to Adam. hehe

    • Miss Britt says:

      @pgoodness, “pictures can never capture who you really are.” I definitely think that’s true. Adam is constantly saying “wow, that looks NOTHING like you. You take the WORST pictures!”

      Heh.

      • @Miss Britt, I take bad pictures too. I just try not to let it get to me, but that’s easier said than done. I once purposely posted pictures of me making ugly faces on Facebook, and that’s helped a little, believe it or not.

  4. What Adam said.
    If anyone can make you feel all ego-ish. It’s him.
    And me.
    You are painfully lovely inside and out, whether you want to see it or not.
    Come closer so I can stroke you.
    I mean, your ego.
    Stroke your ego.

  5. Becky says:

    I wish I had words of advice for you on this. Except I’m still reeling from seeing myself in pictures from KY. I always think that people see me the same way that I see myself. And that thought makes me ill. And I hate it.

    I’m sorry that you’re going through this, too. I think you’re gorgeous, and I would kill to have arms like you. *hugs*

  6. Hilly says:

    Okay I seriously have ESP today…first with the baby dream and now as I am writing my post for tonight about women and their body issues, I see this.

    I struggle with this back and forth too, as you know. Sometimes I look at myself and think, “Holy amazing, I am so cute and why don’t more people love me already?” and then other times I sit there feeling like this big lump of lard who wants to hide in the corner.

    I think the best compliment that I’ve ever received is one I want to pass on to you. Someone said, “I don’t even notice that you are fat when you walk through a party because you’re so full of life and confidence so that is all I see”. Clearly, you are not fat however it could apply to any area at any time. We are more beautiful when we’re not worrying about how not beautiful we are.

    Ummm, okay I think that made sense.

    Anyway, despite that…I know that no matter what I say cannot take this away because I know myself that it’s so very hard. I keep trying to focus on the fact that I’ve got this one life, this one shot and if I don’t do things to make myself love me more (whatever they may be), then what am wasting away here?

    Oy, sorry for the book. You can tell I am mid-post, hahaha!

  7. muskrat says:

    And here I was just thinking this morning while having orange juice and looking at the little magnet you gave me at BlogHer, “That Britt…she looks so cute and happy. I wonder what she’s up to?”

    Just remember Adam’s tweet about who was lighter. That’s all I’m sayin’.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @muskrat, I totally do not remember Adam’s tweet. At all. I’m tempted to go do a major twitter search to find out – but I’m pretty lazy.

      Care to help me out? :-)

      • muskrat says:

        @Miss Britt, It was at BlogHer. He wrote something I shouldn’t have said out loud about the difference in weight between you and someone else who had sat on my lap the day before.

  8. Finn says:

    “I do not cower.

    I do not shrink.

    I, if nothing else, am strong.

    I just happen to hate the way I look.

    And I don’t have a fucking clue what to do about it.”

    OK, my love. You know you are not alone in this, don’t you? I die a little inside each time I see a snapshot of myself. I had a few taken this weekend and only one didn’t make me want to vomit.

    I can tell you all day the things that people say to me (and I’m sure they say them to you too), but I don’t think you’d believe them any more than I do. I’ve always prayed for the ability to see myself as others do, if only for a moment or two. Maybe it would change everything.

    The only thing I can offer you is a sympathetic ear and a little commiseration.

    xo

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Finn, you DON’T know how pretty you are??? What the hell??

      Ok, um, yes, actually, this surprises me. A lot.

      • Finn says:

        @Miss Britt, Just like anyone else, I focus on what I don’t like rather than what I do. I think it’s the “familiarity breeds contempt” thing. You’ve looked at yourself every day since you discovered the mirror and it’s just you, nothing special. And then you start to look for everything that’s “wrong.”

        We don’t see ourselves as we are. We only know what we wish we saw and when we don’t see it we decide we’re not good enough. But we see the beauty in others so readily even if they don’t live up to the standards we set for ourselves.

        I didn’t mention this before, but the first time I saw your picture on Brad’s blog, I thought, “Damn, she’s pretty.” And I didn’t even know you yet. You’re even prettier now that I do. ;)

  9. Deb says:

    I think this is part of being a woman. Suck it up, your HOT!

  10. I understand. I understand more than you might realize. I have a post to share with you.. I’ll DM it to you on Twitter. :)

  11. I occasionally try to look at myself as others see me. When people look genuinely astonished when I cry that I am fat and ugly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    We all have really skewed views of ourselves, and sometimes they are so far from accurate that it’s downright laughable.

    I’m well aware that this post is about finding your own beauty- but I just want to say that when I think about you, the adjectives that come to mind are: hilarious, strong, intelligent and beautiful (both in and out).

    xo

  12. CP says:

    You have to learn to work with what God gave ya, girl! When someone tells you you’re beautiful, believe it! Don’t shrink away from that. You ARE beautiful, inside and out. The things that you think are flaws, other people think of them as unique.

    I have the opposite problem. I think I am just a little too good for words. LOL I think I went to the Avitable School for Ego Training.

  13. Kris says:

    Sweetie, sometimes loving ourselves or even being comfortable in our own skin is the hardest thing to do. (I’m right there with you.)

    I think that women are too hard on themselves especially, but the ones who truly love us and accept us know the REAL us…not this body that we’re trapped in – lazy eye, fat, scars, pigeon toed, swayback…whatever the case may be.

    Somehow, someday, we’ll learn to love ourselves, too. . . just like they do.

  14. Steve says:

    I haven’t peeked at my wife’s “insecurity and feminine hangups” manual lately, but I thought that, when this happens, you’re supposed to eat some really good chocolate and watch Bridget Jones’ Diary.

  15. Chrissi says:

    Britt –

    I know as women, we all feel the same way at some point in our lives – and if someone says they don’t – they are clearly lying.

    You are beautiful – while I don’t know you *personally* I see it in pictures of you but especially in your writing.

    xoxo

  16. ali says:

    oh yes.
    just yes.
    I feel the same way about myself. EXACTLY the same way.

    but I will tell you this…even though you might not feel it, you radiate beauty, inside and out. I promise.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @ali, “I feel the same way about myself. EXACTLY the same way.”

      Jaw. Floor.

      Really? REALLY??? But you are stunning. I mean, you’re basically flawless when it comes to physical appearance. How can you possibly have any doubts about what you look like?!?!

      • ali says:

        @Miss Britt,
        oh, honey…you don’t even know. the crying thing after looking at pictures of myself? all. the. damn. time.

  17. Britt says:

    Oh I used to struggle with this all the time. I mean really, our names rhyme with things high school boys love to taunt us about and when your name rhymes with all the things you aren’t well endowed with it starts to eat at everything else.

    That being said, I got over it somewhere in my early 30′s. I realized that I am never going to see myself in pictures the way others see me, or the way my children see me. They will see my inner self come out in those pictures and they will be remembered of the fun things we did in those photos. They won’t notice that my nose happens to be the size of Mt. Rushmore or that I squint when I smile and you can’t see my eyes. Even if they do notice, it won’t matter one bit to them.

    You are light and joy and fun and beauty and I think you bring to the surface an insecurity that everyone has and struggles and deals with.

    You must remember that you’re not a 2 dimensional woman, you’re a 3 dimensional woman who lets their inner rocks star burst forth all the time. And that’s pretty awesome.

    Sorry for the novel. The other Britt :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Britt, “They will see my inner self come out in those pictures and they will be remembered of the fun things we did in those photos.”

      That is definitely something I need to learn to focus on.

  18. Nanna says:

    OK. 3 pieces of advice here – no, 4

    1) What CP said above. When someone tells you that you’re beautiful, BELIEVE IT. Marvel at it a little, wonder what they’re seeing, but above all BELIEVE that they’re seeing SOMETHING that makes them spontaneously tell you that you’re beautiful.

    2) Affirmations

    3) Perhaps make a list, like you espoused at workitmom.mom, of the things you LIKE about the way you look. Revisit that list, add to it. Focus on it.

    4) You know how you said you can be whirling and twirling and happy and alive and then CRASH brought down when someone says something that triggers your insecurities? When you see that happen, STOP. Recognize that somewhere you took a “wrong turn” mentally into something not productive, and GO BACK TO WHIRLING AND DANCING.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Nanna, the one I struggle with the most is the believing.

      I think.. oh, they’re just being nice. Because they like me.

      And how dumb is it that someone liking me makes me mistrust what they say??

  19. Sarcastica says:

    Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes an colours.

    I’ve heard that saying so many times from my mom, my sisters, and tons of other people..and although I believe its true, I also have a hard time believing that I am beautiful. Instead, I picture myself how I could look, how I could be more beautiful. I list all the ways I could stand for improvement. In those lists, my belly, my scars, my crooked limbs, my teeth, the list is almost endless to me.

    And I’m still learning how to work what I’ve got.

    I don’t think ANYBODY is truly happy with their appearance, I think the point is to be satisfied with it and continue to be happy despite your flaws…because everyone has flaws. Nobody is perfect, nobody is their own definition of beautiful. Everyone always has something they wish they could change about themselves.

    So, I guess the point is to be thankful that you have eyes to see the world and your children, a mouth to speak with, ears to hear with and legs to walk on. That’s what I tell myself, and it does work. I try not to waste time thinking of ways I can improve what I look like and instead think of ways I can improve my outlook on myself AND my life.

    Getting a pedicure, manicure, and even your hair done helps. It’s petty, but it helps.

    I hope you feel better soon Miss Britt, and please know that you are definitely NOT alone in these feelings (although I think you’re gorgeous :) )

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Sarcastica, “I think the point is to be satisfied with it and continue to be happy despite your flaws”

      I think that is definitely something worth working towards.

  20. Dave2 says:

    And yet every time I see you, you look like you walked out of an issue of Vogue… even if we’re just going to the movies. It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess.

    As somebody who spends a lot of time doing photography touchup work, I have a first-hand look at the unreality that plagues our world. Nothing we see in magazines or movies or television is real… it’s all an illusion, and yet this is how we judge ourselves. Sadly, even KNOWING that what we’re seeing is fake doesn’t stop people from comparing themselves to the illusion and feeling bad about themselves. Everybody does it.

    To look past the illusion and accept ourselves on our own terms in a reality-based world is almost impossible now-a-days. It’s so much easier to pick ourselves apart, magnify the flaws in our minds, and be miserable because of it because we’re trying to achieve the impossible.

    To which I can only say… embrace the horror!

    Because seriously, being grounded in reality is the only way you can compete with fake people in a fake world that has created fake expectations. Far better to accept others… and yourself… as they really are and be happy. It’s not easy (believe me, I know!) but with practice, anything is possible.

    Embrace the horror and let yourself be the beautiful person you are… the beautiful person that I see every time I meet you.

  21. Mrs Soup says:

    It is always so difficult to see the beautiful in yourself. The easiest thing is to point out what is beautiful in others.

    Something that has helped me, especially when looking at photos, is to pretend the photo of me is someone else. So instead of staring at the crooked teeth, the spotty cheeks or the double chin, I try and look at the smile on my face, the sparkle in my eyes, something that others have commented on and breathe deep.

    It’s hard, but getting easier over time. Someday I won’t even have to work at it…I hope.

  22. Ginamonster says:

    We all have our moments of self doubt. We all have those pictures that we look at and wish there was better lighting, angles, whatever.
    whenever I see a crappy picture of myself I remind me that its a snapshot of a moment in time. That I don’t look that rediculous all the time. Pictures are cuel that way. Sometimes they capture us at our best, sometimes they catch us with our eyes closed, mouth open, and a finger apparently up our nose. You just can’t trust a picture to show how you really are all the time.
    Flaws? We are natrual creatures with all the perfection of imperfection. We are grand works of art. Every mole, freckle, dimple of cellulite is a testament to our reality. Our uniqueness. to the fact that we are alive and living.
    And if that philosophy doesn’t work? then look at all your parts based on the people you love to whom you are similar. The bump on my nose? totally inherited from my mom. Big butt? Latin roots! My bubble toes come from Grandma; my sisters have them too!
    Ugly? No. Ugly comes from the inside. I think TFLN summed it up best yesterday, “His personality made his face look like an asshole” Somehow, you just don’t seem to fit that picture.

  23. Headless Mom says:

    I remember meeting you a few weeks back, and holy cow, girl! I was a little intimidated by how confident you were. Smiling, talking and laughing with you on that bus was one of the best things about BlogHer. You ooze beauty and confidence and HAPPY.

    I get it though. I’ve been there more times than anyone knows. Just let this moment pass and get on with the happy, and tell that voice to go suck it.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Headless Mom, intimidated by me? Man, I was so nervous and floundering before we got on that bus.

      That bus saved the weekend for me. You ladies were so awesome and down to earth and funny and welcoming.

  24. Dawn says:

    Even if you weren’t physically gorgeous — which is a moot point, because you are — you are such a beautiful person in personality and spirit and warmth.

    Accept it. You are both. And if you can’t accept the former, then revel in the latter, lovely lady.

  25. me too, Britt. to all of it. I’ve learned how to look at the camera lens with my lazy eye to make it look straight, exactly where to hold my chin so you can’t see the softness beneath, how to angle my body to reduce its width. And that’s just in photos.

    My therapist and I are focusing on my body loathing right now. It’s so deep in me that I don’t know it can be loosened. Yet it’s getting looser, chipping away bit by bit. We’re using a technique called PSYCH-K–a little out there, but it’s working.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @lynn @ human, being, I need to take a “how to look good in pictures” class.

      Which, come to think of it, is what CARSON was supposed to teach me. Rotten fucker.

  26. Colin B. says:

    Isn’t this normal? Isn’t this how we’re supposed to feel? Are you saying that I’ve spent all this time being superficial when I should have been okay with the way I look?

    Let me ask you this: How accepting are you of people who don’t look like supermodels with perfect bodies and facial characteristics?

    I know we all feel like you are feeling right now from time to time but it goes away. Just think that there are so many times you forget about what bothers you about your looks. We live in a superficial society so it is hard to get away from the judgement and what’s worse is that we identify with what is projected at us as the norm or the “right” way to look. Whenever you start to feel “ugly” you should not think of what you believe is ugly about you but all those people who think you’re pretty and all the things that you believe are pretty on you. I’d start with your eyes, they are beautiful. Both of them.

    It’s hard to write all this because I catch myself thinking exactly the same way you do a lot of the time but right now I’m going through a “I don’t give a flying fart” phase (hence the blue hair). You are pretty and there’s nothing wrong with you. Shut up or I will come dye your hair a funny colour too. Oh wait, Hilly did that already didn’t she…

  27. The solution is simple. Surround yourself with uglier people. The people you hang out with are far too good looking.
    You need new friends. :P

  28. Maria says:

    I don’t know what to say, really. You’re heard it all before, right?

    I think you’re beautiful, inside and out. I think deep down in there somewhere? Regardless of what everyone says – a little piece of you knows that you are too.

  29. Also, you know this feeling will pass. You’re beautiful inside and out. I love you just the way you are, sidekick. xoxo

  30. the hunchback says:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That means you don’t get a choice. Furthermore, the majority of girls that describe these types of feelings can also describe their relationships with daddy as ranging from mildly neglectful to out-and-out abusive. I’m sure this sounds a bit pseudo-psychological coming from me, but people have been ignoring this correlation since they invented women. The road to fixing this lies in much thoughtful searching of where these feelings are actually coming from. Trying to solve this problem by trying to fix your perceived physical “flaws” is a race that nobody ever wins.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @the hunchback, first of all, the fact that you would even jokingly use the name “the hunchback” makes me want to hug you and laugh and punch you at the same time. You do know you’re one of the most physically attractive men I’ve ever personally known – right?

      Also – this:

      “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That means you don’t get a choice.”

      is kind of fucking brilliant.

      And finally… I can’t believe you are talking about my daddy issues. Now THAT is a well I am so. not. ready. to dive into.

  31. Shash says:

    You are beautiful both inside and out. I’m always insecure when I step outside. So I know how you feel. :)

    xoxo

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Shash, it kills me when I hear my friends admit to their insecurities. Because I remember how dazzling you looked the last time I saw you.

  32. Kay says:

    Like Sarcastica said, I have no problem seeing the beauty in others… her, you, anyone. But ask me to find it in myself? And I can’t. I just can’t.
    Yes, that feeling needs to come from within – but how do we silence that voice, the one that tells us how wrong we are in that one split second that we feel beautiful? That voice that laughs at us when we wonder if maybe we’re not as “bad” as we thought?
    You’re beautiful – it seems like the only one who doesn’t believe that is you.
    Now, if Avitable could just do an online course for all of us, we’d be set.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Kay, ohhhh, don’t let him fool you. Avitable has a whole bag of insecurities, just like the rest of us.

      “but how do we silence that voice, the one that tells us how wrong we are in that one split second that we feel beautiful?”

      That’s the trick, isn’t it?

  33. MariaV says:

    (((((Britt)))))

    I don’t have any words of wisdom, so I can only offer you hugs.

    I think you are beautiful in many different ways.

    I don’t really struggle with this issue. I accepted at a young age as fact that I was never going to be beautiful. I have body issues related to weight, but that is with regards for how I feel physically. Even at my thinnest I accepted that I was not beautiful. I’m not saying this is right, but just how it is/was for me. It is how I survived childhood.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @MariaV, “I accepted at a young age as fact that I was never going to be beautiful.”

      Ouch. That physically hurts me to read.

      No one should have to accept that.

      No one.

  34. MariaV says:

    (((((Britt))))) I think you are beautiful in many different ways. I don’t have any words of wisdom, so I can only offer you hugs.

    I don’t really struggle with this issue. I accepted at a young age as fact that I was never going to be beautiful. I have body issues related to weight, but that is with regards for how I feel physically. Even at my thinnest I accepted that I was not beautiful. I’m not saying this is right, but just how it is/was for me. It is how I survived childhood.

  35. Robin says:

    Britt, for me this was probably one of the most compelling posts you’ve ever written because I’ve been the ugly girl in the photo. Thank you for reminding me that we all struggle with those insecurities, that I’m not some kind of freak show because I’m unique in my self-loathing.

    Anyway, I may not feel so alone now but, so help me god, I’ll undoubtedly still want to pulverize the first person that points a damn camera in my direction.

  36. laprimera says:

    So many of us out here feel the same way you do. I look at pictures of myself and immediately look for the flaws. I saw myself in the mirror this morning without my pants on and was horrified at the jiggly fat legs. But I try to think of one good thing… and it helps a little.

    Just remember Carson said you are PERFECT! And he’s an expert! xoxo

  37. Sybil Law says:

    I don’t know if this is some inherent female thing or what, but I know exactly what you’re talking about. It sucks. However, I usually just get over it, by focusing on the fact that I really, truly like my inside – how I am and who I am – and then I just get on with it.
    I still suck at taking a compliment, though. I usually don’t believe people, like they’re playing some joke on me.

  38. Thank you for being strong enough to share this. I too struggle with my own body issues. I don’t think I am ugly but the shape of my body upsets me everyday. I am always trying some new work out to fix it. It is wonderful to know I am not strange for how I feel that others struggle too. I know, like you, that beauty is on the inside and all that stuff our mom’s told us. But to look nice on the outside to ourselves is hard.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Robbin Out Loud, it’s a hard thing to struggle with shape – because that doesn’t change. The size, the details, those things can be adjusted – but the basic shape stays the same.

      I have to think God put us in those shapes for a reason.

  39. And here I thought it was just me that thought way.

    If I could convince that nasty voice in my head to shut the fuck up when it tells me things like “You’re ugly.” or “How stupid are you for thinking your cute.” I would be so much more free with how I act. But no….. that bastard never shuts up.

    Sigh……………….

  40. Becca says:

    First, you ARE beautiful. I also second what Nanna said, when someone says you are beautiful, believe it!

    I have a hard time doing this, but C gets so upset when I tell her she is goofy after she compliments me that I have at least stopped the outer dialogue. Plus, if there is at least one person who believes I am beautiful then they are seeing something that is there, right? That is what I try to believe.

  41. perpstu says:

    Pffft….we all feel that way! I have seen your picture on eleventy billion different blogs from women who have attended BlogHer with you and every single time I find myself envying those bouncy curls on top of your head. You are absolutely lovely!

    focus on one thing, just one that you love about yourself (your eyes are very pretty too) and then work outwards from there. I don’t think many people are ever truly satisfied with the way they look, but you have to work with what you have and you have a pretty good head start!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @perpstu, you’re like the tenth person to suggest that idea of focusing on something you love.

      Seems to me that might be a good place to start…

  42. SwanShadow says:

    I’ll tell you what I just told Hilly. Focus on the priceless diamond, and stop worrying about the box it came in.

    Besides which, from all of the photos I’ve seen, ain’t nothing wrong with your box.

  43. I’ve spent 20some years hating how my body looks. Since I was little.
    After my first child I hated it, I looked back at how it looked in high school and thought I was stupid for being so ashamed of my body then.
    Now, after my second child, I see pictures of me with my first adn die a little inside at the amount of time I wasted crying over that way-hotter-than-I-believed-then body.
    Feeling ugly is a rotten feeling. But I think our own perception of our own bodies tends to be screwed up more times than not.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @thepsychobabble, I DO THAT!

      I’ve gone back and seen pictures of me in high school and wanted to kick the crap out of that girl who thought she was “fat”.

  44. maman says:

    Every woman suffers through this concern. Supermodels are picking themselves apart too. If they aren’t satisfied with the way that they look then it is just part of the human condition.

    The question you should ask yourself is whether your body does the things you want it too. Does it run and breath and laugh and smile? The rest of it is bullshit. Let your soul shine through that is where true beauty lies.

  45. Issa says:

    I saw you a few weeks ago and thought, man she’s such a pretty chick. Then I thought, I wish my hair was that awesome. And, dam I wish I were that cool.

    But I get this. Completely.

    I look at my little girls and wonder how I can keep them adoring themselves and thinking they are beautiful, as much as they do now. I wonder what I thought of myself at seven and five years old and how I can find that in myself again.

  46. Jamie says:

    honestly, i’m the same way…i know that part of it is because i grew up as “the smart one” and my sister, who i look a lot like (she’s a year younger) was “the pretty one”…needless to say, she has insecurities about being smart…and honestly, i don’t know what to do about it either…

  47. Bonnie B. says:

    My 31st high school reunion was last weekend and I didn’t go, because of how I look. I was blessed with a killer body in high school (which got me more attention than I knew how to handle) and now I…..um……..don’t. And I didn’t want those people who knew me back then to be disappointed seeing me now.

    And holy crap – that’s the first time I’ve let those words escape my head. Frightening.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Bonnie B., holy crap is right.

      It’s hard to confront those insecurities that live way down deep. The ones that prevent us from doing stuff but we STILL don’t admit to.

      I think saying it “out loud” (so to speak) is a good first step towards ridding ourselves of them, though.

  48. MB says:

    This post made me cry. Why do we see the beauty of others and never in the mirror?

    You need to check this out: http://finallyfiguringitout.blogspot.com/2009/07/you-are-beautiful.html

    Post it in the mirror, on the door, in the car, at the office … and believe it. You are beautiful.

  49. Jared says:

    WTF? You are so hot. I’m pretty sure most of my friends think your hot. I am proud to go places with you and show you off. I could keep going.

  50. Robin says:

    I didn’t read the comments before I posted, so I hope I am not repeating anything….but the key word is PERMISSION. You are allowed to feel pretty, even if you’re not where you want to be yet. You are allowed to bask in the happiness that you felt that weekend…looking at the pics that I saw of you, I felt it. Everyone did. The less we allow ourselves to be happy, the more time we waste on this earth.

    I struggle with this every day, Britt…I feel you on this. But eventually, I got tired of being tired…I have to be happy. I know you can do it too, my dear….

    I will give you some advice that someone gave me this weekend….look at all the amazing things that are happening around you….this is your time. Take it, run with it and be happy. :)

    ::hugs::

  51. Robin says:

    Oh, yeah – and you’re fucking hot. I mean damn, you were in Glamour Magazine, for gods sake. And you’re a fucking rock star! BASK, DAMNIT!! :) :)

  52. I keep your magnet on the board next to my desk because seeing your face reminds me of the laughs we’ve had, the way you make me happy or make me think, the friendship I’m happy to have with you.

    I think of the person who never looks at me and says “goddamm, you could really stand to lose 40 lbs. get on that, will ya?” or “could you move ONE of your chins so I can be in the picture too?”.

    I love you and I hope that soonish you will find that place in your core where you understand how deeply you touch the people near you. How you make us all feel prettier and smarter just for having your friendship.

    XOXOXOX

  53. Marinka says:

    I just read Anissa’s comment and why the fuck didn’t I get a magnet?!
    You’re beautiful.

  54. Maria says:

    You are so brave and awesome and yes, absolutely beautiful.

    I’m so happy to call you friend.

  55. Jennifer A says:

    You’re awesome, never forget that.

    I’m having huge issues with my weight right now so I don’t have any good advice beyond that.

  56. First? You’re gorgeous. Totally. Utterly. Beautiful. Inside and out.

    Second? I know where you’re coming from. When you hugged me last weekend? And made a comment about feeling my ribs? All I could think was, “Aw, she’s so sweet. Thank God she’s never seen me naked or she’d barf.”

    You’re not alone, darlin’. You’re not alone.

  57. Angel Smith says:

    Good Lord, I need to apologize in advance because I think I am about to hijack your comments section with a mini-post. You’ve seen my posts, so I suppose you expect my comments to be huge, hah!

    I totally feel ya. I’m still kind of a new girl around here, and while you guys (all my blog pals) have been *nothing* but warm as apple pie (heh!) to me, I still hold back a bit because I feel awkward. Not because of who I am, because I genuinely like me, for the most part…but because of how I look. Or maybe how I perceive the way I look is more accurate. All I can think of is how huge my ass is, and the tooth I had to have pulled that shows when I smile, and how I have a disproportionate accumulation of fat on my upper arms so that even though my middle fits in an XL, I have to get a 2X to fit my grandma arms. It sucks big donkey balls. Because my HEAD knows none of you give a shit about any of that. But the piece of me that never feels good enough won’t be reasoned with.

    I think the important thing to remember about pictures, and even video, is that they rarely truly display the spirit of the people in them, and that is so often what shines. That spirit is what makes us beautiful…not our actual faces and bodies.

    My youngest daughter, Faith, never photographs the way she appears in my eyes. The twinkle in her eyes, the lilt of her voice, the tilt of her head…none of these are apparent in photos. But oh…her soul captures the hearts of nearly everyone she meets. Even as an infant, grown men would comment on how her smile just lifted their hearts. Enchanting. Just like you.

    Photos help us treasure memories, and share them with others. But they never tell the whole story. The whole story lives in your heart, and that is where beauty lives, too.

    <3

  58. I think you are beautiful.

    If it helps, I cried when I saw pictures of myself at Blogher too.

    I just can’t see anything but the ugly I was told I was all my life.

    If you figure this out, let me know.

  59. Zoeyjane says:

    What Tanis said. I have the same problem, disallowance. I don’t know how to get past it, because even in my brightest moment, I’m thinking, “suck up the ego princess, you’re a 4 on a good day.”

  60. You always seem so confident to me. I can hardly believe it!

  61. Nanna says:

    I have come back here like 10 times today to keep reading everyone’s comments. DAYum. This is an epidemic. And seriously, it is something that we as women MUST take seriously NOW. Because NONBE of us (believe me) want our daughters and granddaughters growing up feeling like we do. And WHERE IN THE HELL did all this come from in us?

  62. [...] I just wrote a mammoth comment on Brit’s post about self-image.  Because I am wordy, if nothing else.  But I respect her space and so I cut myself short [...]

  63. Elaina says:

    I’m a relatively new reader. I appreciate how candid you are. As for getting to that place? I don’t know that I have advice for you on how to get there because I struggle with the same things.

    But here’s what I’m learning…sometimes our feelings do not reflect reality. Our feelings can be, at times, total, lying bastards. They’re our feelings and you can’t deny them. That’d be stupid. But the reality is, you’re not ugly. Far, far from it. Your feelings are whispering something different to you. Maybe there’s a root cause of that. There is for me. But ultimately, my hunch is that sometimes you have to make a choice to believe something before your feelings get there. The reality is, you’re not ugly. Tell your feelings to suck it when it comes to this topic. Choose to believe you’re beautiful. In time, I think your feelings will follow.

    By the way, I’m totally preaching to myself there too. ;)

  64. I. T. says:

    Let me jump on this bandwagon with a hearty “me too.” Been there, done that, and my arms look terrible in that t-shirt. Let me know if Avitable comes up with a correspondence course – I could use some help.

  65. whall says:

    I break too many mirrors with that self-reflection thing. So I threw them all out. Avoidance is the answer!

    /not

  66. Kristin says:

    I’m reiterating what the others said – this is life, part of being a woman, blah, blah, blah.

    But it is so hard to do family pics, isn’t it? When we got back all the pics from Disneyworld 2 years ago, I was all “who is that frumpy person hugging my children and smiling as if she belonged there?” Oh, that’s me. And it’s absolutely horrific.

    So I just don’t look. I hide behind the camera and take the pics. For now, that helps.

    Don’t let those pics others took of you at Blogher ruin your mental pics of the weekend.

    But you are pretty. Curls, cheeks and eye.

  67. Jane says:

    Ugh, I seriously could have written this post. Maybe it’s our age. I have heard from many women that once you hit age 35 (or thereabouts) you’re more comfortable in your own skin. I’m holding out for that…

    HOWEVER, when I think of you, my dear, I think of those amazing curls and that big smile and just the aura you put out – and everything about you is just beautiful. I remember the first time I met you, when you walked into the restaurant the night before the HBC shoot. You light up a room. You’re a head-turner. You’re very, very pretty – inside and out.

  68. You are not alone dear girl. My best friend was a real life model, made money and everything. And at 42 she is still beautiful. But there is always something she is critical of in her face or body. Like she will not wear shorts because she “believes” her legs are not attractive. But the are! The are lovely perfectly normal legs. But she doesn’t believe me.

    I think all of us have something about ourselves that we would change or that we try to hide. Fuck that. We are all way to critical of ourselves. It sounds cliche, but beauty does start within and manifest itself outside.

    When I see you in pictures, I want to hang out with you and have margaritas. Because you look like fun! All happy and smiling and holding a cocktail! And I know from your writing that you are smart! And I am jealous of your pretty curly hair (I have stick straight hair.) Fun, smart and pretty, that’s a pretty wicked combination. Mister Britt is a lucky guy. Wait, if I remember correctly you were in the hot bloggers calendar? Dear god child, what proof more do you need?

    P.S. One of the best pictures I saw from BlogHer was from MamaPop party, it was B&W and you were dancing. And I knew it was Miss Britt. It was lovely and it was you.

  69. nakedjen says:

    There’s a whole lot of hate in that post, girlfriend. Seriously. I am saying that in the most loving and gentle way.

    I just want to encourage you to perhaps shout, out loud, the things you really love about you. It all starts with the little bits of love that we can shout about ourselves.

    There’s already far too much hate in this world, Britt. Shelling it out towards ourselves, even under our breath, even without “saying” it, only perpetuates it and, honestly, gives permission to others to notice and “hate” those very attributes about you, as well.

    So start the love campaign. I know, I really do, that there’s a whole lot about you that you really do love. Those curls! That laugh! The way that only you can twirl. And especially the sparkle that you create every where you go.

    You do sparkle. Embrace the sparkle. Love the sparkle. Love will heal.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @nakedjen, “There’s already far too much hate in this world, Britt. Shelling it out towards ourselves, even under our breath, even without “saying” it, only perpetuates it and, honestly, gives permission to others to notice and “hate” those very attributes about you, as well.”

      This really hit home for me.

      A lot.

      Thank you.

  70. words are failing me. wish there was some way to properly convey to you what others see in your physical beauty. i think you know what we see in the beauty that is the core of britt, but it baffles me that you can’t see the stunning physical you.

    (my secret? i don’t care what others think. just don’t fucking care if they don’t like that my belly is too big or my outfit doesn’t match. my mom told me i am beautiful and the woman never lied to me. so there. everyone else can jump off if they don’t like how i look. it is THEIR issue.)

  71. Iron Fist says:

    You’re much prettier than I am. And you have curlier hair, too. SO THERE.

  72. Shelby says:

    Oh my gawd. How do you get into my head like this? I could have written this post word for word. Right up to the part about someone calling you out for daring to feel pretty. :(

  73. [...] then I went back to re-read Britt’s post from yesterday. I went back there probably ten times yesterday to read people’s comments and to watch, in [...]

  74. Suebob says:

    Ah dang it. It’s so funny, because I see you so differently. When I saw that red stapler pic of you, I thought you looked GLORIOUS. To me, you rock so hard!

  75. For the record, I was blown away by how beautiful you are. I think you’re gorgeous.

    Me? I feel the same way you do but about myself. I have cringed at and over analyzed each and every photo I’ve seen of me from BlogHer. I get this knot in the pit of my stomach and worry that people think I look like *I* think I look.

    One of my biggest fears about BlogHer was meeting people and them thinking “damn, she’s a lot bigger than I thought she was”, yanno? Not meeting people, not finding people I “know”. It was hoping they weren’t disappointed by my appearance.

    So vain. I know.

    I love you. That’s all that matters.

  76. Robina says:

    This is just so sad. But it’s exactly how I feel most of the time. I’m just not worthy, of anything.

  77. i’m incredibly sad that so many women have such unrealistic demands of themselves…that so many women have their self confidence crushed over fat or a physical trait that they deem subpar. i just don’t understand, can’t buy into living my life according to someone else’s ideals.

    (it should be noted that i just gave my assistant money and had her run to dairy queen for the whole office. we are all talking and laughing and happy. why should we worry that tomorrow someone will look at the size of our asses and not be nice to us when we wouldn’t care about that type of shallow person anyhow? and yes, no one ordered a small anything. i couldn’t finish mine, but dammit, i sure tried.)

  78. My god, I could have written this post. I hate the way I look too. My weight isn’t healthy, my acne is abominable, I have a bad haircut, and I have a weird fracking nose.

    But…I think you look just fine. I love your hair. And every time I saw you at BlogHer, being funny and surrounded by other interesting people, I kind of wanted to be you.

    *hugs*

  79. Miss Grace says:

    When I met you in Chicago the first thing I thought was that you were this absolutely lovely package full of fizzy goodness and beauty. Like poprocks. Only better.

  80. Poppy says:

    You stand in front of the mirror naked and tell yourself, “self, you are beautiful and I love you.” A lot. For many, many days. And eventually you believe it.

  81. Elisa says:

    This captures it so well. That is, without a doubt, the way I feel about myself.

    I hate mirrors. I hate photos. Because I look at them, and then I go back to that moment, and the way I talked and behaved, relaxed, funny, cocky even, feeling comfortable. Like I wasn’t the fattest person in the conversation. Like my skin wasn’t covered in spots. Like my nose wasn’t almost as long as that of the Wicked Witch of the West.

    I look at myself in pictures, and I feel embarrassed for myself, for talking out loud and bringing any kind of attention to myself. If only I had realized then, if only I could see myself then the way I see now.

    But if I did, I wouldn’t have fun. I would feel constantly crippled by my physical image. I wouldn’t allow myself to feel comfortable enough to be MYSELF. I would be come the pathetic, sad, mortified girl crippled by poor self-image that I become when I look at myself in pictures. Or in the mirror.
    And I don’t like that girl. Nor would the people with me in the pictures, I think. They would like her even less than the fat girl with the imperfect skin and the big nose.

    So maybe it’s lucky I didn’t see myself then.

  82. Elisa says:

    Oh, and because this post made me go all “me, me, me” in the comments: you are lovely. Imperfect, and lovely. And somehow the fact that you aren’t a perfect, photoshopped in real life, Barbie-looking version of yourself makes you more approachable. Because you are so awesome that if you had looked any more beautiful than you already are I would have never had the courage to talk to you.

    You are lovely. And fun. And bubbly. And we love you!

  83. IzzyMom says:

    The thing is this, Britt… Half of what makes someone beautiful is what they can never see about themselves; their laugh, their charm, the way they make others feel. We’re all flawed, even those twigs on magazine covers.

    But when I see you, I don’t see any of the things you see. I see the essence of you and it’s beautiful. And that’s what I see in all the people I like. I know it’s a cliché but inner beauty really does shine through.

    But just in case you don’t care about inner beauty, you might want to go back and look at the pics from last fall when we were in Orlando.

    This one is my favorite: http://bit.ly/1EaWi

    If you think that’s ugly, then you need new glasses.

    xo

  84. IzzyMom says:

    Oh, and thanks for not giving me one of these magnets everyone’s blabbing about. I’m going to NOT give you MY swag next year, betch!

  85. abdpbt says:

    I often feel the same way, when I see a picture of myself or catch a view in a mirror from an angle I wasn’t expecting. I wish I knew how to make that feeling go away, but I don’t, I can only say that I know how it hurts, and the empty feeling in your stomach when you get that feeling, because I feel it too. And that I saw you at BlogHer during a panel and was very drawn to you, and thought about how you were so engaging and how you could draw people in, and (yes) that you were so pretty!

  86. Rachel says:

    Unfortunately, there are many women who would say that same thing about themselves. When did we learn to not like ourselves? How do I help my daughter never get to that point?

    How do we stop criticizing each other? The words “who does she think she is?” how many times have we said that about another woman? And when we do that, we know it can be said about us. So we self-doubt.

    Is the first step to stop being critical of others? I can’t help wonder if we start looking for the beautiful in others that we can accept the beautiful in ourselves?

  87. racheal says:

    i read this…and didn’t quite know what to say. because i get it, i get how sometimes your insides just doesn’t really care for your outsides. it’s silly, and i know it’s silly, but late at night when my insecurities creep up i think, what if i had bigger boobs? or if i lost a couple of pounds? or if i had longer legs? i question and think and pick at my body, at my soul because i think maybe, maybe then he would have stayed. maybe then i would have been enough.

    even though logically, i know that there is nothing in the world i could have done to stop him. it’s a disease, he’s a sociopath, he’s marrying #5 in two months…he’s crazy. it’s not about me, it was never about me.

    but still, it’s hard not to let your insecurities get to you sometimes.

    so i wasn’t going to say anything…but then i stumbled upon this http://www.flickr.com/photos/avitable/3824619240/ and i thought.

    you’re beautiful.

    you’re beautiful and you’re enough.

  88. Lynda says:

    It’s kind of funny, because I have the same insecurities, and it really wasn’t until this year that I could look myself in the mirror and say, “You know, I really am beautiful.” Heck, I even use to be a little jealous of you.

    We are most critical of ourselves. Stop looking at what you don’t like, and start looking for what you do like. Then work to change what you don’t like. That would be my advice.

  89. My best friend tells me that all the time. “My God, you take the worst pictures! This looks nothing like you! How do you do that?” But she always looks high in her pictures, so I dunno.

  90. Okay. So. We’ve never met, but: when I read your posts, be it here or over at BuyHer, when I see your tweets, and on the occasional times when I remember to listen to your radio show, I “see” a kickass and beautiful woman with the strength and personality that I wish I could have. I wish I could be as sure as you, especially when you post things as deeply honest as this. I thought about posting something similar (I’m having one of those no self-esteem days), but then the doubt set in.

    We rarely see ourselves the way that others see us. When I need to be reminded of who I am, I think of a letter my mom once wrote to me when I hated myself enough to want to die — every day. Now I see the things that she wrote in that letter.

    Repeat to yourself over and over the good things that people say about you, because it helps. When those doubts set in, remember the good things about yourself. I’ve worked hard and long to get to where I am now, and it helps me stay on track.

    <3

  91. Ugly says:

    [...] I was wandering around the internetz, being a dirty rotten lurker and I came across Miss Britts post about feeling ugly. [...]

  92. lceel says:

    Perhaps, if you could see yourself as others do, you might be a little less focused on your ‘flaws’ and a bit more focused on your ‘attributes’. I saw you but from a distance and I think you are lovely. I heard you from a distance, and I think you are witty, wise and confident.

    That’s what I see in you. That’s what you should be seeing in yourself.

    We ALL have flaws. We ALL have things about ourselves we would change, make different, make better. Those flaws are almost always not what other people see or notice.

    When I was a kid, I had a scar on my head that fell right where the part in my hair was (back when I used to HAVE hair). I was horribly self-conscious about that scar. To me, it felt like a beacon and I was sure people noticed it and were, like me, revulsed by it. Eventually I realized – nobody ever noticed. It was just ‘there’. It was just ‘me’.

    Focus on all of the many, many good things about you – because few of us, out here, are aware of the ‘flaws’ YOU see in yourself. We love you just as you are. You need to do the same.

  93. VDog says:

    You need to shut up that inner editor because she is WRONG.

    Just my two cents.

  94. melissa says:

    honey, i met you briefly. and i thought you were beautiful. and it wasn’t just from your pretty face. it was from a light that you have that shine from within you. you, my new little friend, are a joy and there is just something about you.
    as for feeling repulsed by your naked body…i’m going to write a post about that. because me. too.
    also…i so get the allowing yourself to feel the compliment. it’s one thing to be told. it’s another thing to truly believe.
    xo

  95. Maybe you need to take MORE photos of yourself. I read an article years ago about a psychiatrist who was treating anorexics with photography. Shooting them in beautiful settings — NUDE. Repeatedly. Gorgeous, classic nude art. Over time, she found that her patients could grow to accept a little lump here and a little bump there. I mean, obviously, they were working with a psychiatrist, too, so it’s not like the photography was the only tool. But maybe seeing yourself over and over and starting to focus on your good points, while telling yourself your faults are okay (we all have them) would be healthy. When you’re my age, you’ll probably look back on those photos and kick yourself for not appreciating them now.

    Hugs. You’re beautiful. Inside and out.

  96. Here via Rock n Droll and I find myself really touched by this post.

    I don’t really know you and I never actually met you at BlogHer but from what I saw you WERE pretty and sparkly and you radiated confidence – I’m sad to hear you don’t feel that way on the inside.

    Perhaps…admitting your insecurity out loud IS the first step to resolving it. I hope so…you deserve to love yourself.

  97. I hate the way I look too, but I think YOU are pretty. (Don’t cower, I can’t even see you from here.)

  98. Debbie says:

    I’m going through this exact thing right now. I hate how I feel about myself and am unhappy with what I see in the mirror. I’m on the path to finding myself and being ok with me even if that means changing things I don’t like. I’m just glad that you were able to put in words how I feel about me. My god, someone gets it!

  99. Whit says:

    This is my life, too. Except nobody ever tells me I’m pretty. Apparently I don’t twirl enough.

    The funny thing is that it isn’t about what other people think, it’s all about myself, and while that may sound vain it couldn’t be further from it.

    And you? You’re a pocketful of dynamite.

  100. [...] Britt – Ugly. – I’m afraid to let myself think, even for a moment, that I might be pretty. I’m afraid [...]

  101. Just stumbling into your blog from Cheeky Sweetie. Yes and yes and yes to this post, except the part where someone tells me I’m pretty. But yeah, I struggle with this all the time. I hate the way I look and hate when I lose myself in happiness, only to be smacked by the reality of a horrible photo or glimpse in the mirror. Sad.

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