When I was a child, my father shared a sage piece of advice with me.
No one in the world gives a shit if you’re sad. Get over it and get me another beer.
It genuinely was the nicest 3rd birthday a girl could ask for.
As drunkenly mean as my dad might have been the day he shared that advice with me, he was also right. He taught me a valuable lesson. Other people will never see things from your point of view. They will never live in your shoes. And that’s ok.
Bullying is a bit of a buzzword these days and it annoys me. It annoys me because the fear of being called bullies is making us all afraid to say anything at all. It’s making it so we can’t share our opinions without being accused of being a bully or blaming the victim.
It’s making it ok to not just validate, but celebrate, other people’s bad life choices.
A few days back, I was listening to this podcast. It’s called the Biggest Problem In the Universe. Hilarious, if you’re ever looking for something to listen to.
One day, one of the biggest problems was ‘everyone needs to lose twenty pounds.’ The main complaint was that the average female weight was like 150 and that most girls who weighed that amount could stand to lose 20 pounds.
As I weigh 150, I was immediately insulted. I like the way I look. I am by no means slender, but I look good. How dare some guy who had never seen me say that I didn’t look good? How dare he suggest I need to lose 20 pounds? Then, I took a shower and caught a glimpse of my naked ass in my full-length mirror and I realized he was probably right. I could stand to lose twenty pounds.
So I immediately raced to the gym…and bought a Coke from the vending machine that sits right outside of its doors to mix with my vodka. Dealing with personal faults is so much easier when you’re loaded.
Here’s the deal. He’s probably right. I’m a bit overweight. And I’m not changing a thing. It isn’t about embracing my beautiful, curvy body. It isn’t about forcing someone to say I’m pretty when they don’t think I am. It’s about me deciding how important my looks are to me.
I don’t try very hard on the way I look. I don’t watch what I eat. I don’t watch what I drink. I don’t go to the gym (unless I’m buying mixers for my booze). My wardrobe is a revolving stack of novelty t-shirts and sweatpants I bought at yard sales. When it comes to physical appearance, I am not trying.
When I put no effort at all into the way I look, isn’t it kind of fucking dumb to expect everyone to think I’m beautiful?
I think of it this way. I’m a novelist. Most of my books, I work very hard on. People like my writing because I make a serious effort to entertain in my writing.
I could pull out a bunch of the shitty teen-angst filled poetry that I wrote when I was 15, slap it up on Amazon without spell checking or formatting it, and not make a single fucking sale. Would it be ok for me to get pissed when my existing fan base doesn’t praise my writing and call it beautiful? No, of course not. In fact, I’d expect several hundred emails asking if I’d had a stroke.
In short, I wouldn’t expect people to like what I’d written, because I made no effort at all when I was writing it.
Generally, beauty trends follow what is hard to obtain. During the depression, the hottest of women were slightly chubby, because being chubby was a sign of wealth. It meant you could actually afford food. Fat became synonymous with high class. In some poorer countries, this is still the case.
But in America, our food is filled with white flour, refined sugars and empty calories. To avoid getting chubby on this stuff, you either need to spend the money to buy other products, or you need to log a fuckton of hours at the gym. You need to work to be thin. No, people aren’t born beautiful. They work at it and they work hard.
Take my friend, Sassy Filipina for example. Sassy’s an easy dime. She was born with perfect features, great skin, and very good hair. And if she’d decided to live on a steady diet of American food and reality television, she would look just as slovenly as any four on the scale.
But Sassy works for her 10 status. Despite having two kids and a high-pressure job, she watches what she eats and she goes to four spin classes a week. She stays active all the time and she stays attractive all the time. She works hard to look the way she does because being attractive is important to her.
To me, ‘everyone is beautiful’ falls into the same category as ‘everyone gets a trophy’. It’s stupid. I wouldn’t expect someone to tell me I’m a world-class mathematician because I know how to work a calculator, just to avoid hurting my feelings. And I don’t expect people to call me beautiful when I make no effort at all to be beautiful.
Am I saying you can’t be pretty and chubby? Not at all. I have a few extra pounds on me, but I still turn heads when I walk into a room…especially when that room is a Cuban dance club. I’m just saying that when you demand everyone embrace your curvy body as the new standard of beauty, you’re being unfair. You’re being unfair to the people that don’t find that attractive and you’re being unfair to the people that actually work hard to meet that standard of beauty we as a people have set.
You’re also focusing way too much on your looks. One day, we will all be ugly. Every last one of us. I don’t focus too much on my looks because of that (and also the fact that I’m incredibly lazy). So don’t expect people to tell you you’re beautiful just because you roll out of bed every morning. People who really want to be physically beautiful work hard to be that way. If you don’t want to put in the effort, then don’t expect the praise.
As for me, I don’t want to put in the effort. I’d rather stick to using the gym as a place to buy mixers for my drinks. To me, that’s just fucking beautiful.