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Things of the Obvious...



In recent times, I've changed my appearance in fairly major ways twice - once going from glasses to contact lenses (last July) and once going from my normal reddish-auburn-y hair to black (last week). Each time, it's been quite shocking to see myself immediately and then I've been alternately pleased and perturbed as I adjusted my mental image of myself to match the current outside state. Each time as well, some of those near and dear to me have, at least to some degree, reacted negatively. It could be as simple as "Well, I liked you with red hair..." to "Your face looks hollow without glasses".

These responses, as one might imagine, cause unpleasant feelings on my part.

And then there are the acquaintance reactions of, "Ack! You did what to your hair before my photo shoot?! I don't even recognize you anymore..." (This last was said jokingly, but to some extent, sincerely.) Again with the unpleasant feelings, both towards the commenter and about my appearance.

However, among the near-and-dear people, each time there has also been exactly one "Go, you!" response to each change. This has bolstered my spirits mightily each time (and caused feelings of deep affection to blossom further for said people). And the same with a minority of acquaintance-like folk: "You don't have glasses any more! You look fantastic!" and "Your hair looks really cute!" Again with the spirit bolstering.

But the moral is the same each time: It's a damned good thing I am reasonably happy with the change since most reactions to it are some version of, "Ack!"

So, to the nay-sayers, I say, "Thbbbbbbbbbbt!" And then I go nurture my self-image.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
regyt
Mar. 31st, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
Definitely the right attitude!

Anyways, I think you look wonderful with and without glasses, with auburn or with black hair. A lot of it, of course, is that it's the awake look in your eyes that makes you so special. But part of it is that you're sensible and know what to avoid (very red hair, for example).
semper_augustus
Mar. 31st, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
I see nothing that you could do to yourself in the manner of glasses, hair color/style, or dress that would prevent you from being beautful.
ex_desertson422
Apr. 1st, 2005 03:44 am (UTC)

I second that, hun.
thewronghands
Mar. 31st, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
I completely agree. Please yourself, and if the nay-sayers don't like it, fie upon them. It's not their hair or their glasses. (Also, send pictures of the new hair; I have not seen it yet and am all eager to!)
semper_augustus
Mar. 31st, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, I too would like to see this new transformation.
arielstarshadow
Apr. 1st, 2005 04:18 am (UTC)
I agree with all of the above, and must add that no matter what colour your hair is, or whether you are wearing your glasses or contacts, or whether you decide to paint your face purple, you are still you and that is what makes you beautiful.
several_bees
Apr. 1st, 2005 04:31 am (UTC)
Tssch, this is the sort of argument that devalues attractiveness. There's surely an attribute "beauty" that's independent of the personality of the person holding it; if that attribute can't be altered in any way by alterations to one's appearance, then it's essentially worthlessly indistinguishable from "ooh, I like you", and though likeability is obviously valuable in itself it's not the same thing. If Jalen splashed acid all over her face and gave herself bubbly green supervillain skin, she would be less pretty. Similarly, there are probably colours of hair that would suit her better, and some that would suit her less well, and she'd be prettier with the former than the latter (though which is which is obviously an eye-of-the-beholder thing to some extent). But "you will be beautiful whatever you do to your appearance" implies "any compliment I give you about your appearance is worthless, because I don't make any distinction between pretty-you and ugly-you".
arielstarshadow
Apr. 1st, 2005 04:36 am (UTC)
I disagree. There is, of course, a "beauty" attribute, but it is a subjective attribute. Meaning that what I find attractive may not be what you find attractive. So your argument that is she splashed acid all over her face, she would be less attractive, that may very well be correct as far as you are concerned, but not as far as I am concerned. What about someone whose idea of attractiveness has nothing to to with how someone looks, but how someone sounds or smells? Say, perhaps, a blind person? If they found Jalen attractive because they liked the way her voice sounds, would acid burns on her face make her less pretty to them? Of course not.

The problem is that we have come to place too much value on some strange, illogical idea of beauty that has been defined for us, instead of realizing that beauty doesn't work that way. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be brainwashed; instead, we should trust ourselves to know what is beautiful to our own eyes.
several_bees
Apr. 1st, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
What about someone whose idea of attractiveness has nothing to to with how someone looks, but how someone sounds or smells? Say, perhaps, a blind person?

Then there would still be something about her that could be meaningfully altered to make her less attractive; she could start wearing horrible perfume, or stop washing, or spend five years overseas and acquire an accent they don't like, or something. The perceived beauty still isn't something that exists just because she's her; it's attached to an alterable characteristic, or a collection of them, and these alterable characteristics are just as independent of her "being her" as her hair colour is.

Subjective, sure; but "subjective" doesn't mean "fixed".

The problem is that we have come to place too much value on some strange, illogical idea of beauty that has been defined for us

Mm, okay, but it's very easy to overcompensate in the other direction, and say that beauty is meaningless, or that beauty is independent of actual physical attributes. Sure, don't consider someone attractive or unattractive just because popular opinion would suggest that they are; and yes, you probably shouldn't faff with your appearance in order to make other people, on average, like it more (unless other people's opinions are really important to you, in which case maybe that's what you'll be happier with). The fact remains that saying "you will be equally beautiful however you look", if you really mean it, equates to being indifferent to someone's appearance, and makes anything complimentary you say about it meaningless, because your opinion would be just the same if the attribute you're complimenting were different.
jalenstrix
Apr. 1st, 2005 10:51 am (UTC)
The fact remains that saying "you will be equally beautiful however you look", if you really mean it, equates to being indifferent to someone's appearance, and makes anything complimentary you say about it meaningless, because your opinion would be just the same if the attribute you're complimenting were different.

Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with this - logically-speaking, this seems quite true. Though in arielstarshadow's defense, the sentiment of "I like you no matter what" was probably the intention and the tangle with the specific instantiation of this sentiment is what's causing the fuss. But you already knew that, didn't you, sly wench that you are... [grin]
koshkaphoenix
Apr. 1st, 2005 05:06 am (UTC)
Go you! I think you're gorgeous no matter what you do.
halophoenix
Apr. 1st, 2005 07:26 am (UTC)
I think you're beautiful, and I haven't seen you in what, years? Regardless of how you look or the changes you make, you're always beautiful, and especially so if you're happy with the changes you make. It the only way to know for sure! ^_^
silmaril
Apr. 1st, 2005 08:12 am (UTC)
*says bad things to herself because she had to work last night and couldn't go to dance class and see the New Raven-haired jalenstrix*

Next week.
jalenstrix
Apr. 1st, 2005 10:53 am (UTC)
Last night in class, we did samba rolls! They made much more sense to me this time around - much fun. You must try them out before class next week. And we did this move in tango, "el gaucho" - pivot from promenade, promenade run, check, and then a ronde to fallaway to fan action. High drama, that one. ;)
dietrich
Apr. 3rd, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
You pretty. Me like. :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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