MOVarazzi

Friday, August 24, 2012

833. There's No Comparison

When I was young and beautiful and insecure with absolutely nothing to be insecure about, I would spend an inordinate amount of time comparing myself to other people, specifically women, specifically pretty women.  I would find myself at the frozen yogurt place staring at some lovely creature in line in front of me, wondering to myself, “Am I as pretty as her?  I am as pretty as her.  Right?  Oh, she is smiling and has bad teeth!  Yeah!  I am prettier than her! And if I am not, at least I have better teeth than she does.” 

This silent self-inflicted torture was never-ending.  There I was at the gym, gawking at some other college-aged girl, again thinking, “I’m prettier than her.  Yes.  Wait, her abs are awesome.  Okay, she has better abs, but terrible skin! At least my skin is prettier.” 
Everywhere I went, all day long, it was the Insecurity & Comparing Channel:  “She is tanner than me, but I am taller!  Taller is better than tanner.  But look at her boyfriend—he is hot.  Okay, she might be prettier than me.” 

Now that two decades have elapsed and I have the perspective of time, wisdomity, maturityness, and excellent grammar, I look back in sheer disgust at my beautiful former self, wasting all that time marinating in a soup of unfounded self-criticism. 
Pictures don’t lie, nor even fib a little.  I look at old photos of the era in question (1990), and I was just like Heidi Klum, only blonder.  All right, maybe not Heidi Klum, but perhaps like Christie Brinkley and Cheryl Tiegs combined.  With a dash of Cheryl Ladd thrown in.  But younger. 

And thinner. 
And with less modeling contracts. 

All right, I may not have been Claudia Schiffer’s or Gwyneth Paltrow’s long-lost triplet, but I was actually quite pretty. 
I had boyfriends.  I had dates.  I had guys I did not know passing me on the street but then turning around for the second look.  And following me.  And asking me out.  While I was holding hands with my boyfriend.    

Flash forward to today.  The main difference between cute and clueless MOV at age 20 and overweight and bedraggled MOV at age 40 is that now I know I am not as pretty as other people.  I don’t have to second-guess myself (“I am as pretty as she is, right?”) because the answer is:  NO.  In capital letters.  I am not stupid, I own a mirror, I have eyes in my head.  I am not as pretty as the lovely girls I compare myself to, or used to compare myself to.    

However, none of that matters, because I have evolved to the point where I can now focus on what is truly important in life, like family, friends, books, travel, education, adventure, and helping other people.  I realize that my previous obsession with my appearance was shallow and silly.  Pretty, not pretty, who cares?     
So I have a new fun game I play while I am in line at Starbucks or the dry cleaners.  It goes like this:  “Well, at least I am not as fat as she is.  Right?  I hope not.  Dear God, I am not quite that fat, am I?” 

And then I notice the tag on one of the dresses she has dropped out of her dry cleaning bag, and the tag is the same size I wear.  I bend down and pick up the garment for her and hand it back.  She thanks me profusely and flashes me a warm smile. 
Luckily she has bad teeth. 

MOV

20 comments:

  1. I have lowered my standards of comparison to healthier...Am I healthier? That suntan looks nice, but it is not as healthy as my pasty white glow. Sure she looks fit, but maybe I eat more fruits and vegetables.

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    1. Ah, yes, I also have that pasty glow! Pasty of America, unite!!!

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  2. That is a really interesting post. I was overwhelmed in my insecurities when I was young. Not because I thought I was ugly. I am pretty middle of the road. I just always managed to put myself in the middle of a freak show. For example: I shattered my ankle in 7th grade, and before it healed I did a slider through the kitchen. Spent 8 and 9th grade with a cast up to my thigh and not the kind you walk on. I could give you hundreds of examples of similar exploits on my part.

    Today, I am still average but I tend not to draw attention to myself by doing stupid stuff.

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  3. Thanks for this post... I am ALWAYS trying to get my wife to stop being so critical of her looks, but it seems to be part of the female DNA, amirite? I've been with this woman for over 30 years now and, yes, she was snarkily young and sexy back in the dark ages of 1982, but IAMNOTKIDDING she is way hotter now in almost every way. Her style, her smile, her 'way', the looks she gives me, the love we enjoy... it is unbelievable how much I adore her. She bitches and moans about her tummy, her flabby (NOT) arms, her glasses, all the things she has always not liked about herself, but my joy is finding ways to convince her she is my Red Hot Center, my Baberaham Lincoln. She RULES.

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    1. Oh, what an awesome Valentine. You need to copy and paste this bit of poetry perfection and present it to her on her pillow some night. I swoon just reading it, and it is not even intended for me!!!! Your wife is with the right guy. :)

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  4. Replies
    1. I am fatter, uglier, AND bushier than everybody. Let's mock everybody else for their frivolity, shall we, Youngman? It makes it all feel a little less painful. Jeez, where did I put that wine?

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  5. Great Post MOV! I love building up to your endings. There is always that slight little twist, or 'Ah Ha' -

    Comparing myself to others- Not that I don't sometimes still do it, but goodness that is probably one of my favorite parts of 'growing up' was atleast not doing it sooooo much. With age comes a bit more security. But then with security comes age, DAMN!

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  6. I sometimes look at my old pictures and say "Damn, I looked good!" then I look in the mirror and just say "Damn."
    Blessings, Joanne

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  7. I love to admire beautiful people but when I was younger it wasn't about beauty comparing I never felt beauty then, I found my beauty when I got older. now slightly over weight my only thoughts are when comparing myself to those in shape women pretty women, is.....If that is the last cupcake?
    I can totally take her, look how skinny she is that cupcake is mine !!!!

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  8. MOV, whatever happened to vanity? We look fine as we get older, in fact we look better. Look in the mirror. See? You're looking great, babe!
    Insecurity is like poison, the more you drink, the wrinklier and deader you get. Practice some healthy vanity and self-assurance instead. There is NOTHING more beautiful than a self-confident, mature woman with good teeth and brains.
    ":) Wait until the young, "beautiful" set starts admiring YOU.


    www.incomingbytes.blogspot.com

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    1. You are always very profound, Raymond! I appreciate the kind words. You know, now in my 40s I am actually so much more comfortable in my own skin. That is a good thing.

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  9. I look back on photos of myself years ago when I was young and thin and gorgeous (?) and remember feeling fat and hideous. So I don't worry about it now, because I assume in 5 years I'll be even fatter and I'll wish I looked like I do today, so I figure I'd better enjoy it.

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  10. Perfect description: Insecurity and Comparing Channel. I think all I can do is adjust the volume on that one when I so wish I could just turn the damn thing off. Great post. Thanks.

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  11. Oh, so glad you've grown out of that bad habit ;)

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  12. I was totally hot at 20. Size zero or something. Now the zero is the second number, not the only one. But I feel HAWT and that is all that counts, right?

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  13. Indeed, comparison can be an ugly trickster. It is difficult to resist!

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When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)