Official Beyonce/”Pretty Hurts”…. No copyright infringement intended
I just heard for the first time, a couple of days ago, Beyonce’s song “Pretty Hurts” and it blew me away both the song and video being hauntingly stunning and raw….
“Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worse, perfection is a disease of a nation… Vogue says thinner is better…… You’re trying to fix something that you can’t fix what you can’t see, it’s the soul that needs a surgery”…….
I wasn’t going to at first give either Beyonce or her video for it any credence before I saw her video and heard the song for the first time. For someone who’s been horribly bullied for being fat and ugly from the time I was in pre-school to the time I had my gastric bypass which was 3 days after my 32nd birthday (I’m almost 44 1/2 now). The desire though to look and be perfect which was a big deal when we were young has never been a bigger deal now in our society for both young girls and women.
I am not saying that people who are considered beautiful don’t hurt inside. Whether they are thin or not. It’s just easier to be beautiful and thin on the outside, in our society. Doesn’t mean it’s any easier for people who are thin and beautiful on the outside, internally. Or that thin people don’t get bullied. I still recognize this even though it’s not a problem I’ve ever had (well I did put up with some thin bashing at my thinnest). You might get a pass for being fat if you have what’s considered a beautiful face. You’re kind of FUCKED, in the era of Facebook and Instagram if you are neither thin or beautiful.
I titled this blog “Ugly Hurts” for more than one reason. I’m an ugly looking person with an even uglier life story. I thought pathetically that being fat was the worst thing to happen to me, for the longest time. Which I’ve gone into deeper detail in other blogs of mine on here. Then also as stated in my first blog on here, at the age of 38 1/2 in 2008, I had my first psychiatric hospitalization due to suicidal ideation. I had gained a lot of my weight back that I’d lost from my gastric bypass when initially I had my nervous breakdown the year before due to medications I had been put on. Because I did try to commit suicide 10 days after my first hospitalization, after I gave up custody of my children, where they lived in a filthy cluttered house the last 2 years they were with me due to hoarding, I nearly got committed to a long term mental health hospital during my 2nd psychiatric hospitalization. Even though I didn’t get committed, I still ended up in the mental health system for almost 16 months.
And I still had medical hospitalizations due to gastric bypass complications while in the mental health system. I’ve been living on my own since January of 2010. Because I continued to have gastric bypass complications that continued to get worse, more hospitalizations and I nearly died a couple of times, my gastric bypass was reversed in 9/2010 and because I got more sick then “Obesity” could ever make me or posing a medical threat to me, my bariatric surgeon did NOT revise me to another bariatric surgery.
However my medical and cognitive disabilities are still getting worse. My mental health issues have to be controlled by awareness, as clinical professionals have deemed it’s not in my best interest to be on psych meds, any longer or have ECT and living independently with medical and cognitive disabilities is almost a full time job in itself. The damage though that has been done for wanting to be beautiful while never expecting it, is very visible in me on the outside even though most of my disabilities are internal. Being eating disordered most of my life. My gastric bypass complications that while I’ve managed to still get fat again, the long term severe nutritional deficiencies, aged me and made me even uglier on the outside. The thousands and thousands of times I’ve thrown up due to bulimia the 10 years before my gastric bypass, pregnancy related hyperemesis and gastric bypass complications, fried my hair, skin and have all but destroyed my teeth. Not only is it humiliating to have to worry about what comes out of my mouth as far as words, it’s humiliating of what my teeth look like due to decades of erosion from vomit .
I carry a lot of shame for a lot of things. Despite of everything that I’ve gone through that carry shame, that are considered just to be superficial. I actually wrote a blog a couple of months ago that talked about the mini internal nervous breakdown I had when I saw Sports Illustrated’s 30th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue. I figured that would be relatable to a lot of women, who’d I hoped would spare themselves, reading the magazine. Because of what the lyrics of “Pretty Hurts” says. In the magazine, not only does it shows all the supermodels looking gorgeous, regardless of age. But it just sets a dangerous precedent for women, kind of like what Beyonce does. Women not only have to be beautiful,be thin, successful, we also have to be really smart, have an amazing sense of humor and be wealthy, regardless of our age.
What I had wanted to say that is so damaging to most women, unless they are featured in the magazine. And it’s probably damaging to them, too, in the era of Photoshop. As most of those models are exceptionally beautiful without Photoshop, but without Photoshop, they don’t even look like that. So we’ve managed to set such stringent standards of beauty that even most supermodels aren’t capable of.
I never published that blog though. Because while I could relate as a single mother or as a woman who had a “normal” life with a lot of responsibilities at one time, who worked full time, had her kids full time, drove a car and managed a household, it was never enough. I still wasn’t pretty enough. And then once I became thin enough, I got sick (from my gastric bypass complications not my weight either thin or fat). Not only did that change the playing field for me, it totally took me off of it,after many years of being physically sick. I had all I could do survive still being so physically sick, psychologically disintergrating and so heavily medicated and then being in the mental health system.
So I never published that blog. I didn’t think coming from me, at this point in my life, I’d have ANY credibility. Not to mention that after everything that I’ve been through, that if all I agonized was about my weight and my looks, after everything I’ve lost in ability, that would make me a superficial imbecile. Not to mention I’m an “armchair activist” when it comes to serious matters such as medical and mental health activism, anti-bullying, body diversity.
However, I’m still human. And female. And I’m on social media. And while there was a time that I could do better as trying to my hardest to conform to what society and the media says I have to be a worthwhile woman and mother, I can’t now. Both in what I am supposed to be doing and truthfully what gets to me, is sometimes what I look like and how much I weigh.I’m the antithesis though in both what I do and what I look like when it comes to perfection. I’ve gotten to the point that every time that I try, it takes so much effort, that I rarely even try anymore. I’m kind of suspended between multiple worlds as I’ve said before. My old life as a single mother with 2 children that I love more than anything who was fat at one time then thin. Who had a bright future at one time. The isolating and ugly life that was my life temporarily in the mental health system. That people who’ve been in the mental health system can’t relate to me and people who haven’t been in it, or have the complex disabilities that I now have,can’t relate to me either, that makes my life so small. But I get it more than I don’t. I don’t live with any delusion or any denial. So as tough as being a perfectionist is, which I tried and failed at, so long ago, so is being a realist, now.
I do make an effort to advocate and be an activist. I don’t want my daughter who’s a tween to measure her self worth by what she looks like and what she weighs. I don’t want her to get bullied or be one. Because it’s Mother’s Day today, I want my Mom and my sisters to know I never meant to fail them either. They are beautiful inside and out. Smart and productive people.They are amazing mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and aunts. My failures and shame are not theirs or a reflection of them or a choice that I would’ve consciously made. And that I’d give anything to change. What I can do in abilities, of being able to make them proud of me. And yes, of what I look like.
And I’d be lying if I didn’t fess up to the fact that I have the ugliest of hurts. On the inside and out. Both justified and the superficial. For my social media peers or anyone who feels shame on what they look like, how much they weigh or they don’t feel they will measure up, this is what I want to leave with you, with.
You are much more then the sum of your parts on the exterior, the size of your clothes and how much you weigh on a scale. There is beauty in almost everything and all of you. And there is people who see it, even if you don’t. So change the criteria you use to measure your self worth, OK? What you all have accomplished can’t be measured in a photograph or by a scale. For how many of us still do that, maybe we as women can help each other, not do that to ourselves anymore.And ask for help if you are struggling if not drowning, emotionally. And maybe others, society and the media can stop being hateful to those who they feel fail miserably just because they can’t ever measure up in unrealistic and impossible standards of beauty that are imposed upon us.
At the same time, it’s ok to feel good about yourself, if you’ve made changes in your exterior whether it be weight or how you look. It just isn’t something that should just be your proudest moment or most defining thing about you. You are so much more. And you’ve all accomplished so much. As women. Some of you as mothers. Professional and personal accomplishments. And if this helped, either in articulation of my sadness about my failures, especially this Mother’s Day, then maybe I’ve accomplished something that I can be proud of. And this Mother’s Day I will be celebrating quietly and by myself, the fact that I’m grateful for the amazing women in my life. My amazing beautiful, smart and wickedly funny Mother who I’m so lucky is alive and my sisters who’ve done so much for my children, their children and for a lot of others.
But most of all, I will be celebrating that I was blessed enough to have 2 wonderful, beautiful, smart and healthy kids. And while I do most of my celebrating and honoring by myself and from afar, that if I can’t help them, I can do my part to try to make this an easier and better world for them to be in. Especially my young daughter.
Note: Picture I used for this blog, is not one I’m actually very proud of. Because I get used by some people in the weight loss surgery community as an example of bariatric surgery failure, as well as others, I did at one time put a picture up of my “before and afters, because I was fed up about it, at the same time I’m both very angry at myself and a society that continues to only measure my worth in what I look like and weigh The picture to the very left, was taken 3 months before my gastric bypass in 12/2001. The 2nd picture to the left was taken Summer of 2005, at my very fittest. The picture 2nd to the right, was taken in October of 2009 when I had gained almost 100 lbs back, after being on so many psych meds even though I still couldn’t absorb major nutrients and had horrible ulcers which contributed to the bald spots in that picture,. Sadly, most people only see how fat I am. They don’t realize how physically sick I still was, before my gastric bypass was reversed. The picture on the very right was taken 8/2012, almost 2 years post gastric bypass reversal.