I need to believe others think I’m pretty. That is not a complimentary thing to say about one’s self, but it is true. To be brutally honest, I am going to tell you even more about my relationship with the perceptions of my beauty. I got into prostitution to make quick money for drugs. One of the reasons I stayed in the game was the rush I got from being chosen. I lived the appreciative expression of wonder on a man’s face after I disrobed. I’m a bit obsessive compulsive. I started counting how many times a day someone new called me pretty. If I didn’t hear it once, I was upset, checking my reflection in the mirror from various angles and in various stages of undress. Comfort, fleeting though it was, was only found in compliments from others.
Aging has been hard on this desperately vain person. Acne came into my life at the age if 11 much to the delight if the people who were sorry they’d adopted me. “She used to be cute.” I often heard. My nickname? “Spotty face leopard.” I discovered good quality make up. Cover up changed my life. From “what happened to your face?” to “You’re so pretty!” The difference was, is, that significant. Make up is a necessity not a luxury.
Acne didn’t end when I was a teenager. If I needed even more evidence that God plays favorites and I’m not one of them, I had this proof in the form of a product with a dual purpose–acne and wrinkle cream. Of course I purchased it.
I started making more money as a working girl when I met people who had escort services or some other existing framework that I could add my picture to, my picture seen through a filter, a shot taken at a distance. Very pretty. I saved enough to get my breasts enlarged. My athletic body that caused so many men to question my birth gender, that body was replaced with a drastically different hourglass figure. The numerous comforting compliments I recorded in my journals were negated by a couple of comments.
You’re way bigger than you were. You’re getting bigger and bigger.A critic, November 2019
Treadmill. Think treadmill. You’re not getting any taller, just wider.A different critic, December 2019
These statements made my vow to practice intermittent fasting in 2020 easy to keep. I have no history of obesity, yo-yo dieting, any of the common problems of Americans. “I may be a drug addict but all of you detractors are fat,” I used to think, satisfied that everyone else had worse issues, and I needed to feel superior to others in some way.
Funny thing, I used to think I was too smart to get caught up in superiority complexes, like other people. Did you catch the irony? The truth is I am still neurotic and insecure and one of the things I clung to as a source of self worth is slipping away, as aging takes its toll. On me. Even me. I worry that when I lose my looks I’ll have nothing left. And then–what will I do?