Let’s begin with an excerpt from one of my favorite blogs, so you can see where I’m heading with this discussion of narcissism:
“I imagine that one who is beautifully Self Centered (or Narcissistic) is…
- Gracefully centered in herself. She knows the inner workings of her being better than anything else on earth. She understands that she & her happiness are her first priorities.
- One that listens to her heart. She only makes decisions that will benefit her contentment & is unapologetic if her choices make others flustered. She realizes that she cannot change others & that it isn’t her duty.
- Completely self loving. She is sensual. She revels in the sight of her naked body. She radiates a kind of eroticism that is subtle & intimate. She seduces herself on a daily basis to celebrate the fondness she has for her being.
- Perfectly self-possessed. She exudes confidence & poise, so much that she practically walks on air. She never lets anyone get in the way of her own convictions. She doesn’t allow any one thing to label her or tell her what she isn’t.We should all venture on the path to being unapologetically Self Centered & Narcissistic, if only just a little bit. I have a feeling that the moment we do that we will see ourselves in a new light, one that illuminates our entire being authentically & freely.” –from Sex, Love[,] & Liberation (I refuse to abandon the Oxford comma.)
So one of the unexpected furnishings of my subletted room in my big empty house in New Brunswick was a full-length mirror, something I’d been woefully missing since an unfortunate incident involving my delusions of being a basketball star and throwing a glass bottle halfway across my dorm room in the direction of my trash can [which my mirror sat behind]. As I expected, however, my room didn’t come with a dresser, which means that with the exception of my undies, which reside semi-sketchily in one of these contraptions from B^3, all my clothes are organized in my surprisingly large closet. The mirror is attached to the little bit of wall surrounding the doorway into the closet. This means that I very often find myself standing in front of it more-than-half-naked while I try to figure out what I want to wear for the day.
At pretty much all times of my life prior to this [with the notable exceptions of the two times in my life I have used a mirror to get a good look at the parts of me that until 3 months ago no other human being had ever seen, once when I was 10 as inspired by a book about puberty my mom bought me and again this February, as inspired by AZ’s performance in the Vagina Monologues, about a man who wanted to LOOK at her, which made me want to look at myself…], mirrors have been used primarily for finalizing the look [like, since coming to Princeton, mostly daily makeup-application] or quick-checking the finalized product before walking out the door. A recovering one-piece-bathing-suit-addict, I’ve never made it a habit to look at myself when I’m not properly covered up. Until now.
And this morning, like yesterday morning, and a very large number of mornings for the past month, I stood in front of that mirror in shorts and a bra thinking about what shirt I wanted to wear and was interrupted by the passing idea You are so sexy. It wasn’t a self-affirmation, not a task I’d set out for myself to do when looking in the mirror in the morning…it traveled through my brain as a simple statement of fact, like It’s raining outside. I’ve realized that this idea has been growing in strength over the past month; it started with something like surprise, like Wow I don’t look half-bad. Then it became In fact, I might even look kinda good. Suddenly it wasn’t so hard to accept the idea that someone could want me. A couple nights ago when my friend C called me to talk about how I was dealing with the break-up, I didn’t even laugh too hard when she said I was too gorgeous for him anyway. It was like somewhere along the way I actually started to believe that I might be objectively attractive in my own way.
I’m not saying I used to sit around thinking I was the ugliest mothafucka on the planet or anything. But I certainly didn’t think that I might, in fact, be hot. [Despite the fact that T says it all the time…she totally wants me 😉 ] I’m trying to understand how this happened.
I guess somewhere around the time when I went natural, I also began to change my style of dress a little bit and not feel like I had to dress up so much for daily life. I wanted to look put-together [it’s a thing], yes, but I still wanted to look like me. So I added more t-shirts to my wardrobe along with more dresses. I bought flats and eventually allowed them to replace the heels in my life. I know people say this so much it’s becoming a cliche, but going natural really did give me this general aura of confidence, like I wasn’t afraid to be me despite because of the fact that I didn’t fit the norm. I danced at parties even though I know I’m not good at it, and one or two guys started to dance with me. [This had never happened before.] And while I was perusing the interwebs in search of a Halloween costume last year, I found this and imagined it hugging my curves and WASN’T AFRAID TO FACE THE WORLD IN IT. So I bought it, and I wore it, and I got more compliments that night than ever before on a single day of my life (with the possible exception of graduation). Girls were jealous and WHITE MEN I DIDN’T KNOW danced with me–in other words, the world was crazy. And those reactions prompted me to get a little daring and buy SHORT DRESSES to wear to semi/formals in the spring, because evidently my legs didn’t need to be hidden, and again, compliment after compliment. I bought fancy underwear sets and felt like a goddess in them. Dirty little secret time: I posed nude for a friend taking a photography class at Princeton who needed a female model. And even if I don’t love how I look in every picture, there are some that are priceless and I love the fact that I did it. From there, I bought a bikini and have worn it to the beach multiple times–WITHOUT GIVING A FUCK THAT MY BODY ISN’T A STICK. I bought shorts that aren’t bermudas and thus actually hug the curves of my ass.
What I’m trying to say is I love my body. And not just because of the six pounds I’ve lost without trying since summer started. And not just because someone else loved my body. He helped in that process, sure, but this came from within me. Haters can hate…today I say, with the promise of again saying tomorrow, that I am gorgeous, honey.