The second theme that has emerged from my book interview last week is far more painful and problematic for me. It is related to my appearance. As well as thinking/ acting like I am asexual- I hold a deep seated belief that I am so ugly I will never be loved by a man that is not a git. I am so physically repulsive to people that any ‘normal’ guy wouldn’t touch me with a barge pole.
I am not saying I don’t have body dysmorphia- maybe I do- but in my mind I also feel I have evidence for this belief. I was born with a facial disfigurement- not genetic- just a freak thing in the womb. I have an abnormally wide distance between my eye sockets and a flat nose. I have had two lots of plastic surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital, unfortunately my first one was not until I was age 11.
Society does not like difference. Be it skin colour, waist size, red hair… And I feel my heart has paid a heavy price for my difference. It is not something I very often talk about and I joke about some of my afflictions- I have never joked about my appearance- it is far too raw for me.
I also confess, that I am hugely judgemental of other peoples appearance. I look at some people and think they are so minging- how comes they’ve got a husband. However, I judge myself far more harshly.
I can’t tolerate looking in the mirror. I find my face repulsive. I am not a self-harmer but sometimes I have to work very hard at not scratching my face to smithereens. I think it is some of the reason I struggle with de-personalization disorder, I have cut myself off from my body. If I’m out with friends and a man even looks at me- I automatically believe they are doing it for a bet to see if they can pull the ugliest bird in the room. (No wonder I’m single).
I fully realise there are thousands of others with worse disfigurements than I. But that doesn’t change my experience. Again I would never be able to share some of what has happened toe as a direct result of my appearance. My appearance (or my attitude to it) ruins my life. But I’ve got to change.
In the summer I went to a wedding of a young woman who has he same condition as me. Her husband is completely besotted with her. The difference between Sarah and I is that she has an inner belief that she is beautiful. When someone makes a comment about me- I die a little inside as I agree with them about my ugliness, my unattractiveness the certainty of my spinster future…
The time has come to nail this bastard. I’ve got to change the way I think about my appearance. People will have their opinions- they don’t count- my one of myself does. So what do I do… Help!!!!
Penelope wants me to work in opposite action. Go for a makeover/ photo session. I cry at the thought. My fear is that the photographer will refuse to photograph me. But I need to think of a plan.
Secondly, I have contacted the charity Changing Faces. I have known of them for years but have never made the call. Well, last week I did. They offer a psycho-social model specifically for working with facial disfigurement. They acknowledge that it doesn’t matter about the severity of the condition the only criteria is the effect it has on my life. I have an appointment with them on monday.
I am shaking. I’ve got to get on the tube which doesn’t help- but the thought of walking into this environment is slightly repulsive to me. I have been looking at photos of people with similar conditions to mine- I physically gag at the sight. To associate myself with that, feels impossible- but I do think specialist help could be useful.
I know with my head that beauty is in the eye of the beholder… Beauty is skin deep and all that jazz. I long to know that with my heart and be able to treat others with that attitude. I may well remain single for the rest of my life- however, I have the possibility of remaining single but knowing I am beautiful- no one can take that from me. This is one battle that I really need some help with.
It’s amazing what an interview about sexual fantasies can bring up!
Thanks for listening.