Every girl wants a comment like this. Deep, deep, deep down where it really really counts, even the guys want it too. It gets to another level of appreciation when someone has to physically say the words, to ensure one understands the amount of emphasis needed on the previously categorised expletive. It’s not a damn. Not even a daymn. But a Daaayyyyuuuuuuummmmm (hold the ‘M’ for as long as possible, but try not to make it sound sleazy.)
Except, the funny thing is, once you get a comment like that, it doesn’t make you feel ‘hawt.’ For a split second there’s a surprised, shocked, acceptance – someone thought that? About me?! A little glow begins to blossom in the place in your heart which deals with low self-esteem. And then you smack into a concrete wall, which, graffitied in bold spray paint, asks the rhetorical question: What the [insert unnecessary expletive that has slipped into modern communication like an eel (?)] do I normally look like??!!!
Do I genuinely both dress and look, like an unwashed, homeless, street urchin whose suffered from the bubonic plague?
Whilst the above is a humorous, sketch, it made me really question my sense of perspective, especially my sense of self. Sure, one looks in the mirror every morning when their face is lopsided, at night when it needs to be detoxed, and occasionally before a night out when it “needs” to be painted, but generally, at least for me, I believe my features remain the same. Same nose, mouth, eyes, eyebrows (depending on them being plucked or not). The skin is pretty much the same colour, the facial likes and dislikes seem to have settled – so it’s surprising when other people are surprised at an image of you. On a superficially vain level, I was mildly concerned that, to elicit such surprise and shock from friends, I genuinely both dressed, and looked, like an unwashed, homeless, street urchin who suffered from the bubonic plague. Now, I know my style of dressing is [insert most elaborate euphemism: uncoordinated, unique, individual, poor…], and I’m not a slave to make-up, but I had assumed I was at least recognisable. That my potential shone through irrespective of whether my MaxFactor with reflective pearl droppings had lubricated it or not.
On the other hand it was a beautiful and surprising compliment, that reminded me of the potential I often forgot lay hidden. Whilst this may seem like an extremely facetious and self-centred musing on one’s external being, it does have a message that isn’t just skin deep (ah yes, extended metaphor, the degree is coming in handy).
Daaaaaayyyyyyuuuum girl, you look like [ faeces].
I take this physical experience as an allegory for mental, emotional and spiritual situations. Having finished my first year of University, I can look back at myself and recognise my many failings, just as flicking through old Facebook photos really made me aware how much the above statement of flattery could have been inverted into a: Daaaaaayyyyyyuuuum (no long M, this is not a tasty appraisal) girl, you look like [ faeces].
Yet at the same time, I took a slow joy in realising aspects of myself that had really grown, and on occasion, flourished; the petals radiating the light and potential that had always been there, but which I only noticed in retrospect.
To have the strength to look at oneself critically but not in a judgemental or in self-deprecating manner is a true skill. To be open to allow other people to guide you into that perspective can be both a shocking experience, potentially eliciting a wave of doubt, but also a humorous way of beginning to recognise the image that is forming in your reflection.
Daaaaayyyyyuuuuuummmm guuurrrll, you’ll get there in the end.