Living for five years in California and then Oregon, Samantha Escobar felt okay about her appearance, more satisfied with her career and family and friends than she was concerned about weight gain or loss. After just over a month living in New York, she’s begun to feel ugly — “[u]gly enough that I view myself unpresentable to be in front of other human beings, as though I am literally disrespecting them by looking how I do.”
While I’ve always been a pretty self-conscious person, the last few years have seen me become stronger, more self-aware, happier and able to value the things that truly matter — my accomplishments, my integrity, my work ethic, independence. Although I do not value others based on their looks, it takes a fair amount of effort not to base my own self-worth on that, especially since I moved here.
[I] moved to Manhattan, and suddenly, I feel terrible about myself. Just… terrible. All the time.
Read the entire thing; it’s kind of heartbreaking.
As a person who is unremarkable along just about every physical metric (I’m height tall and width wide, with eye-colored eyes and hair-colored hair, when it’s not dyed), I know what it’s like to know, intellectually, that I’m no more or less hideous than the average woman — but still look at the crowd around me and feel like I don’t measure up. As a feminist, I know what it’s like to know, intellectually, that my physical appearance really is incidental to my overall substance — but still feel compelled to compare. As a woman, I know what it’s like to know that, at any given moment, my appearance probably is being judged — but not knowing when or by whom.
All of which is by way of asking: What do you do when you feel unattractive?