Uncomfortable in my own skin.

I was always struck by the lyrics (and title) of the Talking Head’s song Seen and Not Seen [link]:

He would see faces in movies, on T.V., in magazines, and in books / He thought that some of these faces might be right for him / And through the years, by keeping an ideal facial structure fixed in his mind / Or somewhere in the back of his mind / That he might, by force of will, cause his face to approach those of his ideal….

My question: Did you do anything to alter your appearance in order to “fit in” better? The flip of this would be: Did you do anything to accentuate physical/cultural/ethnic difference?

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5 thoughts on “Uncomfortable in my own skin.

  1. Years ago Daniel, I was obsessed with appearance. Now I don’t. I felt colonized and fear-based. “Needing” acceptance stopped.

  2. I remember hating my curly hair, which I finally stopped taking a blow dryer to in university (I just shaved it all off). Also everyone else “tanned” whereas I just “browned”….

    It is upsetting to see similar loathing among my students, as well as to see companies like Unilever pimping its skin lightener “Fair and Lovely”…. [link]

    There’s a South Korean soap opera being aired on a Gulf satellite channel here and it is striking how many young people are lightening their hair. It’s like we were the localized version of what has now been exported in terms of Beauty Myths….

    I think it is fair to say that self esteem did not occur to me as a possibility along these lines until I moved back.

  3. I remember too never allowing my beard to grow in, except during freshman year with the other guys on my dorm floor. They told me I looked like a “terrorist”, and that was that. Now I can barely stand pictures of myself clean-shaven….

  4. Funny. I was always struck by the talking heads lyric “and you may tell yourself this is not my beautiful house. And you may tell yourself this is not my beautiful wife.. . And you may ask yourself, well how did I get here?”
    Waking up and realizing there is no real standard to succumb to is disorienting.

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