You’d Better Find Some Other Means To Find A Husband Because It Won’t Be Through Your Looks!

“It’s amazing

how complete the illusion is,

that beauty is goodness.”

[Leo Tolstoy]

 

Note: I wrote this yesterday, but for some reason I couldn’t publish it.

I’m having an ugly-day today. One of those days, where I feel picasso-esque. I get those from time to time.

I have a very warped body image of myself. I know that. For instance, I won’t let Phil carry me and I rarely sit on his lap, because I think my weight equals that of a baby-elephant.

I can’t trust mirrors either. Well either that or I can’t trust the people telling me, that what I see in the mirror is not what they see when they look at me. And they don’t mean it in the inner-beauty-shining-through-kind-of-way, either.

When I was younger, I used to get angry at people complimenting me on my looks. I seriously thought they were adding insult to injury.

This might explain, why I only fell for guys, who treated me badly. I really must have thought, I don’t deserve better or at least they are being honest with me or something.

Today, because I’m a bit older and have learned to fit into a realm of social expectation, I don’t shoot people filthy looks anymore when they complement my looks. I graciously accept and smile and say “Thank You” in my sweetest telephone voice (do you have a telephone voice too? Not even sure why and how I started having one, but I sound very Mary Poppin-sy with a cheerful little laugh in my voice. Phil’s Mom can’t stand it!).

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that I see what they are seeing.

Most of the time, I just accept that apparently my vision is skewed when it comes to me. And that’s fine. I don’t really think about it too much.

But then, other times, I can’t ignore it. Everything about me feels off. Picassoeque is actually the best term I have to describe the feeling (hunchback of Notre Dame would do equally well, if you prefer that image).

Today is one of those days.

When I walk through town, I get paranoid. I feel like everybody is staring at me. At the freak. It’s horrid. I avoid leaving the house on days like this, if I can.

Today, fortunately, I could since it was a study day.

Usually (and today was no different) I look through old pictures of myself. Retrospectively, I can agree, that I don’t look that way, but I can’t transport that insight into the present (it doesn’t even work, if I take a picture, I tried).

I think it may have something to do with feeling disconnected to the person in the picture. Over time, the woman smiling back at me, banned on celluloide, feel like an old acquaintance. Someone I lost touch with over the years, but not like myself.

It’s during those times, that I think of my american grandmother.

All the dysfunctional crazy that she is deserves several posts of epic lengths, but I am not up to that today.

The reason I mentioned her, is because even though she loves me (and I’m sure she does in her own dark world) she has never been to great at making me feel like I deserved to be loved.

Explanation? Sure.

For a while after my mother died, I wasn’t allowed to visit my american grandparents, because my grandmother was convinced my father had murdered my mother and my father was convinced my grandmother would kidnap me, if she ever got her hands on me (you know what?! I think she might have). But that’s an entirely different post on its own, too.

When I started seeing them again, I think I was around five.

One of my earliest memories of my grandmother is telling me I’d better work hard in school and learn how to cook and other house-wify-stuff, because I surely wasn’t going to find a husband based on my looks. I think I must have been around six at that time.

She also constantly told me to cover my, as she put them, “manly” legs ( I think she ment fat and was trying to soften the blow).

When Phil met my family in the U.S. about three years ago, I hadn’t seen them in ten years.

The first thing she did was tell me I had gotten big (in all honesty, I had put on about 10 pounds at that time so I was probably a size 10 at that point).

The second thing she did was ask Phil if he wanted to marry me in the future. He said “Yes, absolutely.” She looked at him surprised (honestly surprised!) and said “Why?”.

There was a short pause while my cousins tried to fade into the background (people do that, when she speaks at times. It’s like an incredibly embarrassing scene in a Movie you can’t watch, so you shrink away from it).

Before Phil could answer, she continued “It’s not because of the family money, is it! She won’t be inheriting anything for a long time!” (I’d have to add that my grandparents are quite wealthy, but you wouldn’t know by looking at my grandmother, most of the times she looks like a bag lady, honestly she does!).

Obviously, Phil denied this looking more and more like a deer caught in the headlights. I had told him about my dysfunctional family, but most people don’t believe me until they’ve seen it with their own eyes.

My grandmother sensed this and bellowed on “You better tell me. I will find out sooner or later. It can’t be her looks. I mean look at you.”

A year later, I visited them again, this time alone. It was after my grandfather’s funeral which I had missed due to the volcano eruption that grounded all air transportation. I needed to see him one last time and say good-bye (I still get choked up writing this. He ment the world to me).

I had dropped the 10 pounds and a couple more.

When she saw me said “You are thinner now. That’s better, but I think there’s nothing we can do about the rest.”

I don’t know why my grandmother thinks I’m ugly.

Weirdly, she always praises my mother for her beauty (which is true: My mother was one of those truly stunning women that only come around every couple of years). The one thing I heard growing up at nauseam was how much I favored my mom. She denies this. “Oh you look only like your father.”, she says (which in itself, wouldn’t be that bad either, since my father is rather presentable, but it’s just not true. So not true, that people used to think I was his girlfriend when we went out together on father-daughter-dates).

I’m not sure, if my grandmother is the catalyst of my own warped view of myself or if she only enforced something that was there from the start.

In the end, it doesn’t matter.

Except on days like these, where I keep hearing her voice in my head over and over again:

“You’d better find other means to find a husband, because it won’t be through your looks” – Seriously, who does that to a child?

Life Lesson Learned: Foolish Pride Makes For Lonely Christmas (And A Headache)

” The best Christmas of all

is the presence of a happy family

all wrapped up with one another”

[Unknown or at least unmentioned on my favourite quote page]

I wasn’t planning on writing a christmas post this morning. I was planning on being extra-good (the kind of good that you believe gets you extra loot under the christmas tree) meaning studying.

I really, really was.

But then two things happened:

  1. I woke up and remembered, that I had “tired-commented” on the lovely Miss von Furstenburgs post (Tired commenting to me is the equivalent of drunk-dialing w/o a phone and minus the off-chance that you would have the good fortune of forgetting all about it the next morning.) In any case, I checked back to see how much of a fool I actually made of myself last night and was immediately side-tracked by her new “Liebster Blog Award” Acceptance Post ( yes, I guess I am one of those “ohhhh, shiny object” – people). So, curious as I was, I immediately took to checking out the new nominees… .
  2. This is when the second thing happened: All of them had christmas posts up (duh?!) and one of those posts which I love-adore-am infatuated with was quick one-way-nostalgia-ticket off to childhood christmas in the 80s – yay!

All of the above had me thinking of Christmas’-past and there is one Christmas that especially comes to mind.

- not!

You see, my father and I had this special christmas tradition of cleaning to house to an immaculate shine on the 23rd, then grabbing all the Christmas gifts for our family in the US, flinging them into the trunk of the car along with an overnight bag and making our way to my grandparents in Baden-Wuerttemberg (the state just north of Bavaria) with a quick stop along the way to mail the US-headed Christmas gifts.

On a side-note: I actually do believe that my cousins got a kick about opening christmas presents in march – april, well at least I hope they did because that’s how long it usually took them to get there: Right in time for easter!

Obviously all of this last-minute-christmas-activity usually resulted in one or the other quarrel between my dear ol’ dad and me – usually about something vital like if the living room floor had been properly vacuumed or needed a doe-over.

"Through the black forest and across the bridge to grandmothers house we go"

Usually, it was not a big though, because the minute we hit the free-way everything was forgotten listening to rock christmas songs on the radio and dreaming of my grandmother’s divine baked christmas goods (All praise be to the healing effect of the german “Autobahn” on Christmas!)

Except for this one year… .

Admittedly, the details are blurry. I am not even sure what year it was. My guess is I was 16 (but I might have been 17) and I had reached the eclipse of my good-girls-gone-bad-phase and we argued about something.

In all honesty, I can’t even remember what we argued about, but at that time it seemed like more than the usual  pre road trip bitchiness, so when my father told me to get in the car, I refused.

I remember looking at him and telling him, that I was “sooo over” this “Christmas – phoniness of having to be all forgiveness and smiles just because it was the 23rd of december, what is a date anyways?!”

My father tried to persuade me to swallow my pride, quit being a self-indulgent brat and get into the car, but in the end it got later and later while I was self-righteously sulking away in my bed-room and finally he just left.

The first couple of hours were a feeling of utmost triumph and exhilaration: I had won an important battle! I had stood my ground! Finally, he would have to accept me as an equal adult and not just a little girl he could boss around!

I celebrated this with loads of christmas candy and even more christmas TV. It was christmas and heaven on earth to me.

Slowly it got darker outside and when I looked out of the window I could see the faint glow of light christmas trees in other people’s houses. We, obviously, hadn’t put up a christmas tree, because we weren’t planning on being at home for christmas.

The excitement started to ware off.

I decided to bundle up and go to christmas Mass at our church, thinking that following religious christmas rituals would give me a sense of warmth and belonging and all in all just the spirit of christmas.

The church didn’t help. Actually it made things worse. It wasn’t the sermon or the people there, everything was lovely and peaceful and the people were joyous. Standing there in the middle of the church I suddenly realized that I was the only one there that was all alone on Christmas Eve’.

All

Alone

On

Christmas

Eve… .

As the words sunk in (each one pronounced like its own sentence by that little voice inside my head), I was ready to cry. I didn’t feel “all grown up” anymore. I felt small and scared and lonely. I wanted nothing more than to be with my father and my grandparents, curled up in blankets, sipping a hot cup of cocoa and munching on some special christmas cookies.

So I fled the church back home.

There I waited for something to happen. My father to miraculously come back. My grandparents to call and to order me on the next train down to them.

Nothing happened. No one called. No one ever called our house on christmas because we were never there.

So in the end, adding stupid decision onto to stupid decision, I raided my dad’s bar.

I think I downed half a bottle of Bailey’s coffee cream, before the world started to spin before my eyes and the gooey – sweetness of the liquor made me horribly sick.

I don’t remember much after that.

I do remember waking up on christmas morning on the cold bathroom floor with a splitting head ache and an awful taste in my mouth.

I distinctly remember lying there thinking that I would trade all the presents in the world just to be with my family.

I remember picturing them at the breakfast table, cheerful, clad in sickening-sweet christmas sweaters, just celebrating the wonders of christmas and the privilege of having one another.

Later that day my father and my grandparents called to wish me a merry christmas and see how I was doing.

I didn’t mention any of the above, I never did.

I feigned high spirits and maybe even a bit of annoyance regarding their disturbance of my peace and serenity. I’m not sure why, but my guess is (and that’s a pretty safe guess) it was pure juvenile pride that kept me from coming clean.

However, when my father returned the next day, I didn’t really care for the gifts he was bringing home.

All I cared about was a long, long hug: And I got it!