On beauty

I do not feel beautiful. Looking back on old photographs, i do see i was bit pretty. Serious. Nice. I do like this old photograph of me at four years old, smiling into the camera, made at kindergarten. The shiny curly blond hair, my arms holding the puppet, the flowery top with the white collar, the light coloured pants. Sweet.

I was overweight. I went to a dietician when i was around twelve years old. I lost most of the weight when i was around sixteen years. For the next ten years or so i stayed around the same, between 65 and 70 kilos.

The next photo i made myself. I was around twenty-three years old. This was in my first house, i went to art school. I enjoyed my life. I seriously look into the camera. My hair, darker and longer, is waving tousled around my head.

I like this photo. I look pretty. Young fresh skin. Serious yes. No make-up. A part of me desires to go back to this age, relive it all once again. The friends i made, the work i explored, the fun i had. But that is gone. That world has grown day by day into my world as it is right now. You live your life only in one way, into the future. No holding back.

This morning i read this article by Tavi Gevison with the title Britney Spears Was Never in Control Why did I ever believe a teen girl could hold all the power?. I recognized her name. I followed her web magazine Rookie years ago. She writes about beauty, growing up in the USA, being a white girl, being young, experience new things, men and women and abuse. She writes about changing her mind about what she thought and felt years before.

I noticed that “gray” and “complicated” were words I used to stop questioning whatever had happened, rather than to understand it. “Formative” revealed itself to mean “traumatic.” “Creep” or “bad guy” or “pervy but not Harvey Weinstein” now strike me as wildly nonspecific euphemisms for a danger that was too uncomfortable to grapple with at the time and that, again, prioritizes men’s identities over their actions. This slow-motion aftershock has been its own traumatic event.

I was twenty-eight years old when i first had sex with somebody else. We tried once or twice without penetration. I made the first step myself feeling aroused. We did it!

I never experienced any serious threat of sexual violence in my life. The men i liked were always nice and friendly. Not only after their own pleasure. But also not interested in me. I have difficulty understanding this interplay between men and women. I remember the different daydreams i had over the years, how they evolved over time. From abstract, only expressing a warmth, a feeling of being liked, to my current daydreams, much more realistic, with someone with whom i have an honest relation. But still not that clear.

Over my life i have grown more into myself, feeling more, understanding more. My dreams and wishes have grown with it. In a world in which i do not feel threatened, in which i do not need to defend myself. A world in which i enjoy myself, i confess. But also a world i wish i could escape from. I am not sure if i ever can escape. Away from myself.

I am growing older. I turned 57 years old almost two weeks ago. I notice the wrinkles in my face, my weight, the scars life has left upon me. It is all still me.

Published on March 12, 2021 at 6:00 by

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