I was thinking this week, as I wandered around *doing* lunch, the odd bit of shopping and pampering, of how comfortable I am these days in my own skin. It's something that has evolved slowly, and with setbacks along the way, but I felt I needed to write about it. I often write in here when I'm speeding, what I call Phil, or when angry, overwrought or cantankerous, but not so much when I'm happy. The problem with this is that a casual reader may get the impression that I am a narky, neurotic, anxious nutcase who ought to be committed. The fact is that here is where I come to blah, and one does not often feel the need to blah about happy things. And honestly, I am the happy, serene, calm dreamer about 90% of the tiem.
But I digress. Part of this thinking has been stimulated by conversations I've had with a friend that have made me want to write more of the happy and funny things that go through my brain instead of the black and oily. Because like begets like - if I'm talking about being happy, writing about being happy and acting like I'm happy, then almost always I will be feeling happy. It's how I pulled myself up by my shoelaces once upon a time and have avoided chemical mood regulators.
And there is a point to this. There have been a couple of posts I can think of in here that may make it sound like I have the selfesteem of a gnat - a gnat that the other gnats gang up on and tease at lunchtime because of his big... feet. When, in truth, I am actually pretty comfortable with myself and it's coming out in little ways.
Once upon a time I was defined by my hair. Long, thick, waist length, almost ebon hair that tumbled down my shoulders and back in a glorious sheet of wavy silk. It was the first thing people noticed and the way they would describe me "Oh you know, Jenn with the long black hair". I hid behind that hair for years... believed it to be my only redeeming feature and loved the double whammy that I could literally hide behind it, hide all of my depressingly ugly facial features and most of the body I hated as well.
Let me describe that body so you can understand how ridiculous I was. At 17 I weighed in at about 55kg. I was 170cm tall. I had probably a kg of hair. I was how shall I put this - relatively thin. But if you'd asked me I would have pulled at the slightly rounded smoothness of my belly and pointed to a skinfold disconsolately as I wished I had the self control to let my eating disorder reach diastrous proportions. Yes I actually envied hospitalised anorexics. I was a D-DD cup skinny long haired emo long before emos even existed. Crazy stuff.
By 19 when the lovely husband and I were first lusting after eachother I got a sudden spurt of confidence helped along in leaps and bounds by the fact that he truly thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world. Of course I didn't believe him, but I figured I'd go along with his deludedness and we had/have a lot of fun. One thing I've never been in the er bedroom is selfconscious, and in large part that is because of the way that he makes me feel. The fact that we have a past history of *no one* and well, even better. So years and years of unselfconscious sex added on to the general awakening and I started feeling a lot more confident.
In recent years I've also been less obsessed about my "unfortunate" facial features, or my imperfect body. Pregnancy helped a lot. I have never felt as beautiful as I did when pregnant. I loved looking at my belly as I flopped on the couch. I would happily stare at myself naked in the mirror hoping to remember all the details of the perfect curvature of my back, hips, belly and butt, the way my swollen and heavy milk filled breasts looked above. With the Monkey especially I gained very little weight, but softened and curved in all the right places to become almost a caricature of femininity. My green, patchy and bloodshot face however did not ever really become a point of selflove.
Gradually as well though my confidence in myself as a person has grown. I know I'm likeable, funny (if you get me lol), clever and articulate. I know I have the ability to draw people in and have them want to divulge all their secrets to me while at the same time making them laugh and feel comfortable. And in my downtimes I've felt a little disconcerted by that, wondered if maybe my only ability was to be the listener, as if my story was not interesting to others, but lately, I've decided that's bollocks. I am interesting, I am funny, and as I age, I'm also getting sexier.
And it's all about the confidence, the ability to feel secure in myself and right now I am. I have hips that are too broad according to the media, and boobs that are only the right size if my name is Typhany and I live with Hugh Heffner perched above a disproportionately small waist. My legs are too short and my arms too wide with hands and feet that are ridiculously small and out of proportion. I have a nose that is too big and a chin that is too small and eyes that are big and wide with lashes too long and childish that don't match the tiny mouth with its thin upper lip and soft lush lower lip. But you know what? None of that crap matters.
I'm cheeky and cheerful, friendly and fun (to borrow from Slinky Malinki), I chase the Gleam, I know endless amounts of ridiculous trivia and your TP team will never lose if I'm on it. I'm competitive and lazy, intellectual and love dirty jokes, am strong and flexible, fearless and terrified. And it all adds up to me. Completely flawed, in a way that any natural diamond that ended up in my hands would be, but still precious, and each year I grind one new perfect facet, so that soon, the sparkling that I know is there will be visible to everyone else.
It's very unAustralian to like yourself I know, even worse to actually talk about it. But I've had a run of the Phils lately, and being able to stand up and say - "Hey, I like me" feels pretty damned awesome.