Imaginary Ugliness

© 2017 DAMSteelman

I believe the more pain and torment a person has gone through, the more well-rounded they can be.  Either that or they become a serial killer.

When I was 11, I was in junior high school with older kids. Back then, if you were born in January, you were (un)lucky and could start school with older kids. Had I finished high school, I would have graduated when I was seventeen.

My age had nothing to do with much really… what really bothered me and many of my schoolmates, was that I was skinny. I was willing to let it go so I could learn and get through the awkward social aspect of school but the others weren’t having it.

It was so important to them to point out how skinny I was as if I wasn’t already painfully aware. They would push me around, call me names and worst of all play tricks on me. I would go home and cry to myself in my bedroom while I clutched one of my stuffed animals. I would look in the mirror and really study my face: my eyes were too small; my nose was too big; my face was too long. And where the hell were my breasts already?!

There was no way around it. All those kids in school were right: I truly was ugly.

After dropping out of high school, and getting sucked into a vicious cycle of abuse with an older boy, I still believed I was ugly. And that older boy? well, he helped hammer into my sponge-like brain that it was all true. All of it: I was fucking ugly.

Nothing made me feel un-ugly. The make-up, the clothes, the pushup bras, the promiscuity: it all worked for an hour or a day but in the end, when I went home at night and stripped it all away, I still felt ugly.

That belief – inherent in nature – stuck with me for centuries and was a catalyst in many bad decisions:

  • excessive drinking
  • sleeping with strangers
  • getting married at 16
  • illegal drugs

Depsite breaking the imaginary madness that I was indeed ugly well into my sobriety, I still have little flashbacks of junior high school and that shitty marriage from yesteryear. Every once in a while, I’ll have a bad day and throw it all on my looks.

“Well, if you looked better, you’d feel better,” I’ll say to myself in the mirror. But being older (and a wee bit wiser) I know that to be a lie.

It was always the other way around.