Waddling, useless bags of meat. They looked pretty stupid, too. There was something about them that harkened back to some prehistoric epoch, even though back then they probably could fly. Who knows, maybe they had their perfect benign little niche where they were essential. Maybe they outperformed all others in some ecologically esoteric field. Those minor obstacles under the heels of conquistadors. Those cartoons that were extinct before we had cartoons to turn them into.
I am a huge fan of your distinct and wonderful nose as well! I have been trying for months to get close to the bathroom window pigeon lovers again, but they have begun to guard their intimacy very fiercely.
Ooohh! Perhaps there is a wee pigeon family a-brewing.
(I’ve been searching through Flickr for awesome shots of pigeons, because I want a print to hang in my apartment. I’m gonna post a bunch of my favorites. If you have or know of any good pigeon photos or art, tell me!)
I’ve been thinking about how to answer this question for a long time. I’ve been taking the time to really think about what I do in my day-to-to day life to maintain body happiness and let go of my insecurities and what it took to get me to this point. I think I have some answers. Finally. Sorry for the delay.
Have a mother who tells you how beautiful you are every single hour of every single day. Okay, so maybe you can’t make this happen. But I know for a fact that this is one of the biggest reasons as to why I have such great self-confidence about my body. Ever since I can remember my mother has told me I am the most beautiful woman on this planet. Never once has she told me to lose weight, or gain weight, or not to cut my hair, or to wear make-up, or to stop dressing a certain way (and I’ve made some seriously questionable fashion choices.) She woke me up every morning telling me I’m beautiful, and put me to bed every night telling me I’m beautiful. She brushed my hair and gushed over how wonderful it was. When buying clothes she thought everything made me look amazing. When I was sick and tired she still told me I was beautiful. When I was an awkward teenager with zits and personality issues, she still took the time to invade my cloud of teen angst to tell me I was beautiful. Being told you’re beautiful when you’re younger isn’t the only thing you need to hear but it sure makes being older a lot easier to deal with. She told me I was beautiful so damn often that it became fact, in my heart. (It’s also why I believe I’m so smart and basically the best at everything.) My mom still brushes my hair and showers me with compliments and I am still the most beautiful woman on the planet. If you can get this sort of continuous, positive reinforcement it’ll go a long way. If you can’t, do it for yourself. And when you have children, do it for them.
When someone tells you you’re beautiful say thank you. None of this, “oh no I’m not, I’m ugly! I’m hideous! My nose is too big! Etc!” No one tells you you’re beautiful when they don’t mean it. So say thank you and let every compliment (including those about how funny you are, how good you are at Call of Duty, and how impressive your cooking skills are) work towards building this mountainous database of Reasons Why You’re Awesome.
Stop comparing yourself to other women. I really think this is the most damaging thing I do. And it’s hard to stop. I know that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to other women because we’re all beautiful and wonderful in different ways, but seriously, I see women and am like, Damn, why isn’t my hair that shiny? Or, why can’t my nose be that cute? But these sorts of thoughts always push me into a downward spiral that usually culminates with me crying about how I’m not doing enough with my life and I should’ve written the great Canadian novel (Ha!) or made an Oscar-winning movie or at least had a damn art show by now. So instead of comparing myself to other women, I really strive to just appreciate other women. I strive to say, “Damn, her hair is so beautiful, I love it!” Or, “Oh my god, her nose is so cute, I’d like to lick whipped cream off it.” (So things get a little sexual, whatevs.) Comparing ourselves to each other can lead to doing things to put one another down, or blaming ourselves for not measuring up and both those things ain’t doing nothing for no one.
Give no fucks. The very best way to get over your insecurities is to continually remind yourself that you give no fucks. You will wear whatever you want, or do not want to; you will dye your hair whatever colour you choose, or leave it natural and still be punk rock; you will pierce and tattoo any part of you you’d like; you will shave all your body hair off, or let it all grow long; you will eat whatever you want to eat and you will Give No Fucks about how anyone around you looks at you or what they say to you. This is a skill you must cultivate over time. It takes practice, and you will probably fail often. But you must keep at it. Few of us are born as Luna Lovegoods, but that’s what we should be aiming for. Do the things that make you happy and let that be confirmation enough that you are doing it right.
Don’t neglect the other parts of you. I really believe that self-confidence involves the whole self: it’s not just how we feel about our bodies, but also how we feel emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Working on being happy with our bodies is good, but does shit all if we’re forgetting to develop our minds and hearts. And this, of course, works both ways. I read a couple posts a while ago that were making a case for creating self-confidence without putting any sort of emphasis on the body and arguing it unnecessary and regressive to feel the need to be beautiful. I think that’s bullshit. I think our bodies are a part of who we are and we need to feel happy with them. To disconnect from our bodies can cause our minds and our hearts to not work properly because I believe it’s all meant to work together. I think that part of being happy with our bodies is feeling beautiful and sexy. Is the desire to do this a result of our patriarchal society and media pressures? Maybe it is, but I can’t deny that feeling beautiful and sexy is when I feel the happiest, safest, and the most badass. Without this feeling I think we can suffer. I’m sure people disagree with me, but I think self-confidence is a seriously holistic endeavour; denying our bodies as being a part of that self and rejecting the idea that taking the time to address our body concerns is important seems to be a backward notion to me. I think it’s all connected. Being a total boss in your recent lit class is relevant to how you carry yourself afterward: hips swaying and head high. Going to work and landing a huge client is probably going to make you want to go home and fuck your girlfriend till she starts singing Mariah Carey (because there’s a lot of “Oooohs” and “Ahhhs” in a Mariah Carey song? No?) So don’t neglect any part of yourself when working on improving your self-confidence, it’s all connected.
Masturbate. There is no greater expression of self-love. Remind yourself how amazing your skin feels, how soft and strong your thighs are, how exciting it is to feel your nipples get hard under your fingertips, how good it is to push apart your wet pussy lips and feel your clit come out for you to stroke. Remind yourself how amazing your body is when you’re shaking with an orgasm you gave to yourself. I’m serious. This is important business. Do it often.
This post got a little away from me, as they often do. But I hope it helps. :D
Everything Katie said (of course), but also: When you think of how shiny that other girl’s hair is, or how cute her nose is…tell her!!! Giving a genuine compliment feels kinda like getting one (awkward for a second, but then really good!), and you never know— maybe that characteristic you think is so perfect is the one she’s most self-conscious of, or maybe she’s just having a crap day, and you kindness could mean the world.
Molly and Katie: I love you both.
Coincidentally, I am fascinated by how distinct and wonderful both of your noses are.
It’s apparent as soon as the doors slide apart. Automatic doors let anybody in, they don’t discriminate. Everyone on this side of them, however, does.
The man who just stumbled through the door can’t afford to purchase anything here, and even if he could, none of us would sell to him. We have a reputation to uphold. Celebrities wear our clothing—rock stars, movie stars, sports stars. We cater to the people who deserve to be catered to, and tolerate the people who aspire to emulate them.
This man is neither.
His clothes are dirty and stained and torn. His hair is messed up. One of his shoes is missing.
“Ew, is he drunk?” Janet asks, stepping up beside me.
“I don’t know what he is,” I tell her, “But he doesn’t need to be in here. Get him out before anyone sees him.”
The sliding glass doors, that’s probably why he came in. He doesn’t look coherent enough to have pulled open a door, or even pushed one. But that damn door, it slides open any time someone passes by too close. We’ve been fighting with the leasing company for months about getting it changed, but they’re being obtuse, and the process is taking entirely too long. In the meantime, we’re stuck with this: anyone off the street thinks of the opening doors as an open invitation to come in and look around.
We’re usually quick to herd them right back out, if they don’t meet the standards of our regular caliber client. We start subtle, with icy condescension, and don’t waste time getting to the rude phase, if they’re slow to take a hint.
“Sir,” Janet says, “I believe you’re in the wrong store.”
He glances her way, but doesn’t say anything. Just continues his slow shamble further into territory in which he clearly doesn’t belong.
“Drunk, for sure,” I tell her. “Or high on something.”
“This is why I hate the homeless,” Janet says to me in a barely-lowered voice. She raises her voice to speak to the man. “Sir, I’m going to need you to leave the premises. I don’t mind calling the police, but I’m sure you don’t want that.”
The man changes directions and begins heading our way. He looks unsteady on his feet—swaying, like he might fall down at any moment. He keeps on his feet, though.
Something is bothering me about the man—more than the obvious, of course.
“I’m going to get my pepper spray,” Janet says. I think she’s talking to me, but she says it loud enough for the man to hear. It doesn’t seem to matter to him. She crosses the store, and the man shifts direction to follow her. He’s moving slow, lurching like some cartoon villain, and it creeps me out.
I decide there’s no point in waiting to call the police, and begin dialing.
I can smell him now, gutter and trash and urine. Mostly, he smells like rotten meat. It contrasts sharply with pleasant scent of the store—a faint hint of perfume, exotic fabric, expensive leather. Even drunk or high, this man should realize that he doesn’t fit in with this environment. For a moment, I imagine his stink sinking into the clothes as he passes them, infecting them with his foul odor, ruining them.
He doesn’t belong here, this isn’t his world. This is a world of money and class and luxury. This is a world of fashion and cleanliness.
The phone rings and rings, but nobody picks up. I finally get an automated message informing me that all lines are busy and instructing me to hold. It tells me that the first available operator will take my call.
“Janet, the lines are busy.”
“Sir, I need you to step away from the counter, and leave the store.” Janet has retrieved her pepper spray and is pointing it at the man’s face. He continues his slow lurch towards her.
I realize what it is that’s bothering me about him. It’s his suit. I would have realized right away, if his clothes weren’t so torn. I recognize the brand. It’s not as high-quality or as high-priced as the merchandise we sell, but it’s still top-of-the line. It’s not something a homeless man would be wearing. Neither is his watch. Or his shoes. His one shoe, anyway.
“Janet,” I say. Before I can tell her to wait, she sprays the man.
Damn. For all I know, the man was just in a car accident or something, and now he’s getting a face full of pepper spray. All I can think about is the potential lawsuit. A man with a wardrobe as expensive as his is bound to have a lawyer.
The man doesn’t flinch as the stream of spray hits him in the face. He doesn’t even blink. Instead, he lurches forward and bites her. He grabs her arm and takes a chunk out of her wrist. She screams as her limp hand dangles by…ligaments? Veins? I can’t tell what.
Blood sprays over the new shipment of jackets—we just hung them out this morning—and for a split second, I almost yell to Janet to point her arm in another direction. The man takes another bite of her—her shoulder. Her screams turn to gurgles as he rips out her throat.
Out the sliding glass doors, out of my safe, luxurious world that has suddenly become a nightmare.
The street is filled with screams, with people covered in blood, and with people stumbling around like the man inside. I fall to my knees.
I do not belong here.
This is not my world.
I’m surprised it took this long to get a zombie story!
Sorry I couldn't write anything for STS today. There's been a drought of words. :/
Absolutely no need to apologize. You’re the only person who’s done it every week up until now, so I thank you for your continued interest. You can always write it late, too, if you feel inspired before next Saturday!
Walking home from the bus stop after work this evening, I stop to take some pictures of leaves on the sidewalk, as I am wont to do.
Some guy says some friendly greeting as he was walks toward his car, and I return the greeting while I put my camera away and start walking towards home again.
"Check this out!” he says as he opens his trunk.
There are four cases of wine sitting there.
"Want some wine?" he says.
Before I can answer, he says, “white or red?”
"Uh. Red?" I say. (I can see where this is going, and I know I’m not interested, but who turns down free wine?)
"What’s your name?" he asks as he hands me a bottle of pinot noir.
"That’s weird. What are you doing this evening?"
I say I’m studying tonight, small talk about school commences, he says a few things that are annoying, like “oh so you’re a creative-type”, I learn that his name is Steve and that he and his friends “just got back from Burning Man, but they’re still there, you know?” and that his ex-wife is a clinical psychologist named Andrea.
Without warning, he says, “I’m not really giving you this wine,” and holds his hand out while I give it back to him. “If you want some wine, you can have it after I pour you a glass.”
Awkward exchange re: my relationship status commences. We say our goodbyes.
"Nice meeting you, Andrea," he says to my back as I walk away.
I wave. “Thanks for letting me hold your wine bottle for a few minutes, Steve.”