Learning to Love My…Face?

Thanks to a recommendation from one of you guys, I found myself listening to a podcast yesterday that was an interview with Isabel Foxen Duke. She was discussing emotional eating and some of her words just knocked me for a loop. I mean, it all seems SUPER obvious once I think about it, but the kind of thing where you’re like, “Oh…yeah…I guess I could look at it that way…” and it kinda blows your mind.

She talks a lot about how body image plays a huge part in emotional eating. I had never quite connected the two like she did. I can’t really do her thoughts justice here, but just trust me that IT MADE PERFECT SENSE. I mean, it’s not like I thought the two issues were unrelated, but I never connected them as directly as she was able to.

(Look! I ended a sentence in a preposition! It’s like a throwback!)

But it got me thinking about body image and how – truthfully – it’s not my body I hate.

I mean, I hate that all of my clothes fit a body 15lbs lighter so I always feel slovenly wearing only the “biggest” of my wardrobe and I don’t really like any of it. So, if I could go shop for this body? I could probably learn to love it pretty quickly.

But – here’s the thing – the reason why I think I’ve always wanted a more fit body is because…I hate my face.

Saying that just cracks me up. “I HATE MY FACE!” Just seems like something so silly. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize how true it is.

See, Isobel was challenging listeners to think of someone you truly feel is gorgeous at a body size that is bigger than your own. And I could list out 50 right now. Some real friends, some celebrities, but all people who weigh more than me but that I think are stop-a-clock gorgeous and who I would trade appearances with in a millisecond.

And it’s all about their face.

Not even necessarily with makeup, I’ve seen my one friend right after she had a baby, and at the end of a 5K, when she’s sick…and none of those times was she fixed up or wearing makeup and she always looked SO PRETTY. Like, I’m super-intimidated by her beauty, even post-childbirth, and it’s because her face is gorgeous. She also carries a confidence about her that is sexy, but I honestly think that on same days I carry a confidence too – my insecurities are weird like that.

So it really is all about my face.

I think that I feel like the more fit I look, the less it matters that I hate my face. Isn’t that twisted? I have this vein on my forehead that someone I was in a relationship with once a million years ago told me made it look like I had had my face stepped on. So, you know, those words repeat themselves over and over constantly. I’m getting older so I have the chicken neck thing. I have horrible bags under my eyes. My eyebrows are crooked. And not in a way that waxing/shaping whatever would help, it’s like my FACE is crooked.

I think this is why I never got into makeup, because it requires spending a lot of time looking at my face, which I hate.

HOW WEIRD IS THAT?

So she kinda rocked my world and shifted my perspective.

It was just interesting to really take stock of my self-image and realize that in reality – this body, even at 16lbs heavier than when I was at my fittest – isn’t something that I hate. I could probably learn to love it if I could afford to re-dress it. (Although, if I could stop emotional eating, the weight would just drop off.) It’s mainly that I hate the redness of my skin and the shape of my eyes and the vein on my forehead and shape of my teeth and…so on and so forth.

And that was a weird realization. I kinda just thought it was my body I hated when I looked in the mirror, but it’s not as much as my face. Because the women who I look to as being gorgeous? Are the ones with the beautiful faces. Not the ones with the fit/trim bodies.

BOOM.

So, yeah. That was interesting. I thought about that a lot yesterday. I looked at my instagram page and it’s full of selfies but I know that the main reason I take those is because I fight SO HARD not to be “that girl” who won’t take pictures of herself. I don’t want to be the person who won’t be in a picture because I feel ugly. So I take a selfing and use a filter that dims the red of my skin and I take it at an angle where the bags are less and the vein isn’t as prominent. I know that I could visit somewhere like Dr Newmans Clinic to solve this small problem, but I don’t take pictures of myself that often so it’s fine. And I look at those pictures and they’re not ugly. I mean – why is my perspective so messed up? I think it’s because I walk by the mirror and I see the halo of frizz and the dark circles and the chicken neck and all of that makes me want to be skinnier because at least THAT I can control.

So, yeah! (I’m just going to start every paragraph that way.) This was all very enlightening to my own body/self image issues.

I guess I need to work on reprogramming because I know I’m not hideous. I like my eyes and my hair and if I’m wearing mascara I can actually walk by a mirror and not turn away. So, maybe I just need to work on being a bit more honest and seeing the GOOD in the person in the mirror – and not just the nose I hate. (DAMN YOU, DAD! THAT NOSE IS MUCH EASIER FOR A GUY TO PULL OFF!)

What about you – do your body image issues really apply to your body? I would be okay with this body forever if I could clothe it, but this face? This face is going to take some time learning to appreciate and love. And no amount of calorie counting will help that…which is equally depressing AND liberating.

“EAT ALL THE DONUTS! THE FACE WON’T GET ANY UGLIER!”

I took this picture to document the insanity of my morning frizz halo.  But it's about how I see myself every day.
I took this picture to document the insanity of my morning frizz halo. But it’s about how I see myself every day.

12 Comments

  • Hannah

    I always had an issue with my wonky teeth and the ridge in my nose. I’ve learnt to love my ridge because it helps keep my glasses on my face, but as a teen I so badly wanted the ridge gone so I had a nice straight nose. Think I just needed to find the silver lining to it rather than focusing on what I thought was a negative.

  • Colleen

    I’ve always had issues with my face too. My chin is too pointy and my neck is too long so I’ve had a chicken neck all my life. My smile is crooked and my teeth don’t show right. My eyes are small and squinty and mascara makes that worse! When I was growing up, adults always said that I was the smart one and my sister was the pretty one. That still gets to me! My daughter looks a lot like me, but with a more reasonable neck and bigger eyes, so I think she is beautiful! I need to remember to tell her that more!

  • Sarah V

    That is one impressive frizz halo. Thank you for sharing this. As an owner of stick straight hair, I have no clue what real frizz looks like. I have to admit, I am a little jealous of the height you can achieve. Going to check out that podcast.

  • June

    My issue is that I usually think I look ok when I look in the mirror and then I see a picture of myself and I look horrible. In fact, when I met you last year at Oak Barrel and we took a picture together, I hesitated to post it on Facebook even though I was like “Yay, I met my favorite running blogger today!” because I looked awful and you looked cute!

  • sarah

    Funny thing: I see so much resemblance between you and your kids! And I would bet you LOVE their faces.
    I will concede that I can feel GREAT about myself until I see what I look like. So looks are overrated in a way.

  • Erin

    This is a weird comment because it’s definitely as ice. But number one, I think you’re beautiful. Number two, your husband is super hot and obviously agrees. But if you want some superficial ways to be happier with your face: mascara, eyebrow pencil, brighter lipgloss. Try neutropenia tubes, they look bright but go on almost clear.

  • sally

    Kim, you have no idea how much or what I would give to have curly hair. I’ve ALWAYS loved your hair. Mine has always been straighter than a stick and I have always wished it had tons of curls or at least one damn HINT of a wave! I’ve also wanted freckles. Yes, it’s definitely true – the grass is always greener…….. 🙂 If you really hate your looks, you should seek counseling (if you haven’t already) cause you are adorable! Some professional should be able to work with you to help you understand why you feel so badly about your looks and you should pamper yourself and go to a esthetician or make-up artist and in five minutes, maybe they could convince you what pretty skin, eyes, hair, etc you have – just naturally – !

  • wendalette

    Oh KIM! Isn’t it funny how each of us sees ourselves so differently? I was just thinking about how beautiful you are and how jealous I am of your hair (mine is also curly in a similar curl pattern, but will never grow as long as yours). I don’t “hate” my face, but I certainly don’t like it as well as I think I would if I had, let’s say, Halle Berry’s chin, or Rosario Dawson’s eyes. (Heck, I’d be overjoyed if I had eyes like my three siblings–large, luminous, and fringed with impossible lashes–the won the genetic lottery there; oh the humanity!)
    (I keep hearing Meagan Trainor singing the caption to your picture…”all about that face, ’bout that face…no pimples…”)

    @$$-vice alert: One of the things that helps me, is to look at my features individually and match them to my family members (whom I think are all more gorgeous than me), and realize that I am a collage of the people I love the most and that as much as I think I’d like to swap out my features, the ones I have work best together to make my own unique beauty that I should appreciate for itself rather than in comparison to everyone else.

    (That being said, in comparison to everyone else, I do think you are one of the loveliest people [both in face and personality] that I’ve never had a chance to meet.)

    🙂

  • Grace

    Gracious! You are such a lovely person and of course we think you are pretty. I have the chicken neck and wrinkles and often hate how I look – and then someone will compliment me. I’m all “you are too kind” but in reality, I do look like my mom. And she is and always has been georgeous.

    Deep breaths and work on self confidence. You have come so very far in the last years.