Last week, hours after publishing and sharing the post, Love letter to my body, I saw a friend. At that moment, my mind was  on the task at hand, so I was confused when he made a comment about me and my body. He was joking? Poking fun at me? I wasn’t sure what. Moments later it dawned on me and I said something in regards to the blog post. Was that what he was referring to?

I was “all about my body now” was the premise of his joke. I explained that he’d gotten it wrong, what I’d written wasn’t about that at all, in fact quite the opposite. The jokes continued, and as I tend to do when I don’t want to come off as too sensitive, something Ive accused of being, I joined in on the joke. In fact, probably even took it further than I intended in preservation of my feelings, and was laughing at myself.

Days later, and the question of “Why would he use my words against me in that manner?” still lingered in the back of my mind. We have mutual female Facebook friends who take and post photos of themselves regularly, that I can’t help but see he ‘likes,’ so what’s the difference. I use words to talk about myself, others use photos. Was it simply a matter of his perception? The fact that  he doesn’t find me physically attractive and therefore understand why I would not only think so, but ‘say’ it out loud—a sure sign he didn’t read or maybe didn’t understand what I wrote. Or is the actual act of putting thoughts and images into words seen as the ultimate act of self-indulgence?

That’s the question on my mind today.

By nature, I am an introvert. People who know me would argue the validity of that statement because introversion is often equated with shyness, and I am rarely shy. In fact I am quite opinionated and outspoken, I have no problems speaking in front of groups, and in the right (or wrong as some might see it) circumstances, I’ve been known to talk a lot. While it can be coupled with it, introversion isn’t shyness. In my youth I was deathly shy and as adult I still have moments when it surfaces, but those moments have to do with the discomfort that comes from a need to be alone with my own thoughts in order to recharge, which is the basic definition of introvert.

As a child, being shy, being an introvert, and living in a family of loud people, it was easy to fade into the background, but I was also extremely smart, sweet, and quite cute, so I existed somewhere within the same realm of my siblings. As I grew older, that began to change. My childhood cuteness began to fade, and my peaceful nature and intelligence were either ignored and accepted as a given, or used as the measuring stick for my siblings, a fact they resented. The mature one, I was the caretaker while they were allowed to be carefree. While I wasn’t quite invisible, I did feel that it was easy for people to see past me, and disregard my needs and feelings.

But even an introvert wants to be noticed. It’s human nature to want to be seen. The hard work we put into being fit, looking pretty, making money, getting good grades, being financially successful is at least in part due to wanting others to see you. To, if even for only a moment, be seen for those things that make us stand out among the rest of the billions with whom we share the planet.

I was the smartest kid in my 5th grade, my classmates, knowing I never had extra money for treats, would buy them for me in exchange for helping them cheat. That was until we got caught, and I was no longer an asset to them. It’s not that I didn’t have friends, I did, but I was really just the smart, quiet girl. My birthday came along that January and my teacher didn’t mention it. Not long after, for our creative writing assignment, I wrote a story about a girl whose teacher had forgotten her birthday. She pulled me aside and asked me why I hadn’t reminded her. My 5th grade self didn’t know how to respond, but thinking about it now, maybe I didn’t want to have to remind anyone that I was there or that I was more than a one-dimensional cardboard cutout of a well-behaved girl with good grades that no one had to ever think about unless prompted to do so.

And so maybe that’s when and where I learned it, the use of words to show the world that I am more than just a one-dimensional person, body part, or thing.

I am a woman of contradiction.

A woman of few words yet many thoughts.

An old soul growing younger each day.

I am simply complex.

Analytical in my creativity,
the left brain working with the right brain.

A seriously funny, social introvert.

I am not beautiful outside,
but I am mesmerizing inside.
From I am

I don’t believe that my brain is the most interesting thing about me, and know that my looks isn’t what will capture the heart. So I choose words to present myself to the world because they capture the complexity of my beauty in a way that no photo ever can or will.

If that is self-indulgence then I am guilty of being what makes me and all of us only human.


2 thoughts on “The self-indulgence of words

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