This is one of my favourite Glee songs ever. The opening lines ‘I wish I could tie you up in my shoes, make you feel unpretty too.’ It’s selfish. It’s raw. That’s some honest, b****-slapping emotion right there.
I’ve never been the most confident person. I am hyper self aware. And I’ve never really felt pretty all the way through. Confidence is sexy. Maybe that’s why I have the sex appeal of a baby penguin.
2 days ago we sent my sister off on a school trip to China. She is my polar opposite. I am pretty sure my parents would ask me to keep away from someone like her if she wasn’t my sister. She was always the prettier one. She had my Mum’s daintier features, and God knows where she got those genes but long legs, slight build, high metabolism. And growing up, she always made me feel awful about myself. Not because of what she had, but the way she criticized what I had. She never failed to remind me about how huge my thighs were, how my arms looked flabby in tank tops, how I had too young a face for my body. My short fingers, tiny feet, short legs, round nose. All that. And I used to let it get to me. So much that I wrote an essay in Primary school called “I hate my sister” and got an A plus from my drama teacher. I still let it get to me.
But I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t know what was going on. She was jealous about so many things. She worked so hard for everything she got- results, friends, dance, athletics, singing- she is all rounded. But things that got praises from our extended family- things like caring for people, writing emotional essays and understanding math came so easily to my brother and I. She struggled and cried through nights about her Math homework. While I stood up to my teachers and wrote complaint letters to the school, she spent her time hoping for her teachers to like her so she could score leadership positions. And it must suck because my brother and I, we’ve never genuinely wanted good grades for us. We were always just doing what our parents told us to do- get good grades, get rewards. Get bad grades, get punishment. And she was built in, wired for success, she was always going for the gold.
But she was doing well in school- something that was expected of all of us. Our parents would credit her for hard work and results. But that was all. In due time, they will be proud of what she’s accomplished. But that only lasts so long. When your parents are proud of who you are as a person, the security derived from that pride is what every child wants to feel. And she has never understood why she doesnt get as much from what she’s put in as we do, and how it’s so unfair that she’s never felt that pride from her own family. I’ll admit, me complaining about her all the time doesn’t help. But that doesn’t mean it’s not what she deserves. The thing is, my sister is kind hearted. But selfish, yes, and not particularly nice or soft hearted. And the kind of emotional bond and closeness you can share with a mother who is emotional and a father who is soft hearted can only go so far when you are neither. She is more than my brother and I have ever been. The best looking too. But she must feel so lonely, like no one understands her. Even though she’s too proud to admit it.
When I think about this, letting the things she says make me feel insecure almost seems laughable.
On the day she left for China, I tried out the Snapchat filters she taught me to use. One of them was the one that shaped any face to look gorgeous.
I’ve never liked my nose. But this filter skims the sides down and makes everything look ok. And that made me wonder- is that why girls go for plastic surgery? The temptation of feeling and looking like that ?
Substance comes over beauty they say. But if you can have both, why not? That’s an intriguing thought, though I would never do that to myself.
I’m just saying that I understand the temptation of looking pretty to feel pretty.