Well, Monday's post opened up a whole can of worms. I was not expecting that. All I thought I had done was express something I disliked, with reasons as to why.
It seemed to have pressed a number of people's buttons. I'm really sorry if you were one of those people and I upset you. That certainly wan't my intent. I merely wanted to share something about myself... as I usually do.
There were a few issues raised to me that I want to expound upon, and hopefully we can all get to a common understanding (you don't have to agree with all I say. It is possible to disagree and still be cool about it).
Hold on to your hats, this might be a long post.
Wow, you're really bitter, Sonia.
Uh... no. No, I'm not.
I do tend to openly discuss some of the hurtful things that happened in my past, it's true. That, however, doesn't mean I'm bitter about it. Quite the opposite. It means that I've worked my way through the hurt caused by these events and now can discuss them in a way that is frank and open without spitting hateful things or wanting to cut myself. They have lost their sting.
You can pretty much guarantee that if I'm talking about it on my blog, I'm moved past it. I have wrested with those demons and have won.
In fact, the only thing I discuss on my blog that I haven't conquered is my depression and anxiety. Both of these things will likely never be conquered, and they have less to do with my past than the fact that there is a little something off with my brain chemistry.
I'm cool with it.
Way to broadcast/discuss negative things
Well... they happened. They are a part of my history, and they were quite a large part of my formation. The fact is, these things happened to me. Most of them happened in my formative years, so naturally they had a big impact on the person I became... and am still becoming. It would be incredibly disingenuous of me to pretend otherwise.
I, personally, don't understand the desire to broadcast the false image of perfection. Not only is it lying, it removes something fundamental to our collective experience; that we are all human and we all have our stories.
I am human - as messy and complicated and wonderful and awe-inspiring as every other member of humanity is.
I share my stories so that other people facing similar situations can know they aren't alone in their experiences, that someone went through the same shit and came out the other end pretty well (if I do say so myself).
Other people have it way worse
Oh gods, yes! I know! I hear some stories and I want to weep for the person. And then I admire their strength, because I didn't have it that bad, and I very nearly lost my life to it.
Nowhere have I said that others haven't had it worse. I merely noted things that have happened to me that might go some way in explaining my particular quirk.
You shouldn't feel this way/You're stupid for feeling this way
Okay, this one actually makes me incredibly angry. My feelings are my feelings. I am allowed to feel them. Like jealousy or anger, as long as those feelings don't dictate my behaviour - and they don't (I've grown up) - then there is nothing wrong with how I feel. I am not wrong to feel this way... or any way.
I'm permitted to dislike something, even if someone else happens to think disliking it is odd/weird/silly. I'm allowed.
I will also add, the minute anyone tells someone that they way they feel is incorrect or stupid, they are immediately invalidating the other person (unless a complete psychopath, I'm going to assume that it is usually unintentionally done). Their feelings and their lived experiences which gave rise to those feelings have essentially been rendered meaningless; belittled as stupid/wrong. "Your feelings are meaningless" is not the kind of message anyone wants to hear.
It's very unpleasant to experience. Please don't do it.
If you think you're ugly, what does that make me?
Oof. Nowhere in Monday's blog post did I say that I thought I was ugly. In fact, I specifically said that I didn't think I looked like a (hideous) troll.
I look like me, and I think that I look no more beautiful (and no worse) than any other woman.
Even if I did think I was some hideous creature, what does that have to do with you? Unless you've created a ranking system in which I somehow have scored higher than you... which is... unfortunate, because you are amazing.
You. Yes, you. You are amazing.
It also, I think, speaks to how disproportionately highly society values physical beauty over everything else; so much so that when people express doubts of their own physical beauty, it inspires a knee-jerk reaction in others.
Way to limit the definition of beauty to the purely physical
Fair enough. I actually did.
But consider this:
Is the stranger who has never met me coming up to me and telling me I'm beautiful talking about anything other than how pleasing my face/body is to them?
Hint: No. No they're not.
How can they be? They don't know the first thing about me. It's not my sarcastic quips or my big heart or my bubbly personality that they're commenting on. They're uttering their (unsolicited) opinion on the cumulative effect of my genetic heritage.
I don't find that flattering at all.
So, you're calling people liars in your head when they compliment your physical appearance? Rude much?
No, not at all. Beauty is incredibly subjective. It's not some objective thing that everyone agrees upon. It may well be that someone finds me a match to their subjective version of beauty.
I just don't want to hear about it. Hearing about it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
So it's not that I think they're lying, it's that I happen to disagree. We can then agree to disagree and move on with our lives.
Being polite is not enough. Learn to take a compliment
Yes, actually. Yes it is. Alas, I cannot be forced to like something I really don't like. Everyone is just going to have to accept that.
I have learnt how to take a compliment. The way to take a compliment is to thank the person, who was really just trying to be nice, and offer a smile.
I still feel uncomfortable, and always will. My feelings are not a democracy.
Great, now I can't compliment you at all
Whoa, whoa, whoa! At all? Like, for anything?
Where did I say that?
It's only comments about me physically that I find uncomfortable. A woman's physical appearance is not the only way to compliment her.
We are more than our looks, damn it!
There is more to me than my looks. A whole lot more. I could be complimented on a whole swath of things other than my looks and be genuinely flattered. Pick anything, literally anything, else.
Okay, that was all the big stuff; all the big triggers people seemed to respond to. I hope my position is a little more clear now, and that I haven't upset anyone further. My deepest apologies if I have. You can message me on Facebook to swear at me if you like. I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this, and that's fine.
I also know that I'm weird in not liking compliments on my physical beauty (or lack thereof, while I'm at it). I also happen to know I'm not the only one, either. So if you're a lady who doesn't value looks as much as other people think you should, you're not alone.
Let's start an internet support group or something...