Life, Love, Long Hair, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, and other mysteries

All this and more, from a semi-Serbian, slightly sane, former editor for physicians and surgeons, who is the mother of seven kids.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Posting Pictures Can Be Perilous

Have you ever hesitated to post a picture of yourself on Facebook because you're not sure how it will be received by the audience?

Well, I never used to, but now I might.

I recently posted a picture on Facebook that turned into a bit of a controversy in my world.

It was this one:

I don't expect everyone to like my pictures, but it does seem sensible that mature adult friends would keep contumely comments to themselves, or if they really feel strongly about the offensive nature of my picture, address me privately about it in a respectful manner.

When all three comments I received on the photo were ones that led me to feel that the picture must have looked pretty bad, I felt hurt.

One comment was, "Woah, it ain't Halloween yet."

Another was, "Should we ask what happened?"

And the other was, "You look like you just drove down our road, lol." (From a friend who lives an hour from me where this time of year I assume has muddy/slushy roads).

I emailed my 18-year-old daughter and asked her to have a look and give me her opinion on whether or not the pictures were bad and should be removed.  She posted her comment on another picture, this one here:

Her words were:  "Mom you're hot. And I'm really your only facebook friend who matters so disregard the rest. :)"

My reply concerning that was, "Well, thank you. Coming from one as beautiful as you, I am highly complimented."

After a few days and still feeling troubled by the comments, I talked to my buddy, Shakira* (*names always changed in my blogging) about it.  She read them and also thought they were unnecessarily rude.

I tried to ignore the whole situation, but I felt what I felt, and whether or not the writers of the words intended to hurt me, I did feel violated.

So, I brought the picture to the top of my Facebook wall, stating that it had become controversial and I wondered if anyone else deemed it bad enough that I should delete it.

There were a lot of comments, none of them in the direction of suggesting I remove it, and most to the contrary, stating that the picture was good, even (gasp!) sexy.

Still, I was wallowing in freshly re-wounded emotions, and I couldn't help but hear a little of the "yeah, y'all are just saying that coz you're nice" tune playing in my head.

I've come a long way from the down-on-myself person I was before leaving the abusive ex, but having been triggered by a few less than positive comments, I realize I still have a way to go in my healing.

Even before my 18 year prison sentence with the ex, I dealt with negativity about the way I look.  In my first few years of elementary school it wasn't so bad, being a young child living in East Vancouver where everyone was accepted in their uniqueness of various cultural backgrounds, but when I moved to a ritzy-rich suburb at the age of nine, where my carpenter father built us a house we couldn't possibly otherwise afford had it not been for his Serbian frugality and his construction skills, I was the target of bad attitudes from boys and girls alike.

Me and my sis, age 8 and 6, by my dad's old car.  (I covered her face as she gets mad when I post pictures of her.)

I was tall, skinny, unfashionably dressed, the class "spock" (what they negatively called academically smart kids back then), a girly-girl who hated sports, and my hair was a mess.

I was an extremely shy kid, to boot, so I didn't do anything to stop the onslaught of taunts.

And I believed them, too.   

Age 10, by my old pool

Age 11 with some of my bunnies.

Age 12 (my dad sometimes gave us kids a beer to share).

I really thought I was the worst sight to have insulted the face of the planet.

Looking at the above photos, I see I was actually a cute kid.

But in those years, I was persuaded by the perception of fellow immature brats to believe otherwise.

So, with that mind twisting as a basis, hearing words to the effect of "you're ugly" and a near complete absence of anything resembling "you're beautiful", for 18 years from the man who was supposedly my partner, my bad attitude about my appearance was reinforced.

Then the comments on Facebook showed up, and the ghosts of insecurity and self deprecation were evoked, and I was once again the shy child, afraid to show her face, needing to hide behind something.

Behind what?

Behind whom?

The spiritual side of me wants to say, "I hid behind God," but in my state of emotional time travel to when I was "the ugly girl", I didn't even think of that.

The truth is, though, I'm already hidden in Him -- buried in His love so deep, the darts of human words cannot change who I am eternally - His child - but there remains the fact that I am on this temporal and fallen planet and thus am still prone to pain.

Some positives about which I remind myself:

-I've finally got my hair grown to a length I've always wanted.

-I've taken care to keep my weight at a healthy level and get back in shape through working out after all seven pregnancies.  It was a lot of hard work and I think I've done an acceptable job of it.

-I've got seven beautiful children and if they look anything like me - which they do - I MUST look good. 

Me and my three oldest daughters in various states of weirdness, January 2012, Vancouver Planetarium, waiting to get into Pink Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon" for one of the final showings of Skylights.

-For the most part, I'm confident to be photographed and to publish many of my pictures.

-I have a man who thinks I'm the most lovely thing that has graced the face of this planet, who almost daily calls me "Beautiful", "Gorgeous", and other sweet names, and that sure helps.

-I can put on makeup to cover up and/or enhance - like this:

Left:  Before, without makeup.     Right:  After, with makeup done on Taaz makeover site.

I need to focus on the positives and let my confidence grow back to where it should be.

Still, it only takes a little arsenic in a heap of otherwise healthy food in order to kill a rat, and it's hard to keep up the positivity when triggers happen.

I wonder if anyone is even going to read this.

I wonder if anyone can relate in the least.

Were you ever put down and picked on in your childhood?  Does it still linger in the shadows of your mind and resurface when unsuspecting people inadvertently say something that triggers you?  I'd like to hear about it.  That's what the comment box is for.

(The writer in me is now cringing that I ended a sentence with a preposition, but sometimes I just have to let it slide and say, "Shaddap, little voice in my head!"  And while I'm yelling at voices in my head, I'm also gonna tell that other one that's saying "you're so ugly" to shaddap.  OK?  SHADDAP!)

I feel a little better now.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

(Sammy Kershaw song here)

With love,

Related blog entries: 


  1. I get it. When I was in about grade 6 or so, a kid at school told me I had the biggest nose he'd ever seen. I was really hurt by that, embarrased, and wondered if everyone thought that about me. I wanted to hide my nose, but how do you do that? That was about 33 years ago, and I still think of it often when I look in the mirror. I have considered getting a nose job many times over the years, but didn't do it mostly cuz I didn't have the money, and partly cuz I was scared I might come out looking worse. Negative comments like that cut deep. That kid has probably long since forgotten his mean comment, but I will never forget it.

    1. Well, knowing you personally, Shak, I know you do not have a big nose, but the hurtful comments we hear when we are children somehow dig their way into us and hurt more than the ones we hear as adults. Hm. One more reason I hate public school - immature brats hurting other immature brats. The blind leading the blind.

      I wish you would've hit that kid with your lunchbox. Plastic lunchboxes may hurt for a brief moment, but name-calling wounds the spirit.


    take it from a person who has known you for a very long time, and believe me when I say, you are a very beautiful soul. You are not only beautiful on the inside but on the outside as well. keep the pictures up, and keep posting more of you, and your family, and keep the ramblings coming. and if anyone doesn't like it, they aren't your friends.

  3. This was really thought provoking and empowering.

    I felt for years like I was unattractive because I didn't look like most of the people around me. Their heritage was to be slight, thin, and small boned - and while I'm all of those things for a Caucasian woman, I'm also still curvy. Years of guys telling me that when they gave me a lift home on the back of their bikes that I was the heaviest woman that they'd ever carried (at 52kgs back then, no less!). Ridiculous, but you and I both know those voices are the ones that keep coming back at the slightest provocation.

    I'll join you in a chorus telling those voices to SHADDAP, okay?

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Ack, I'd posted a reply, and then I accidentally deleted it. Just want to say thank you, Gossycrafts, and how strange that anyone should whine about carrying 52 kg on their bikes. I know I could lift that much myself, and all the easier on a bike!

      Your last line makes me smile so much! :)

  4. I get it. I was what you could call a "late bloomer" in terms of my appearance. For most of my school life I was really skinny, flat-chested, with no hips and "man calves" (they're rather huge). I watched all the other girls around me filling out, getting curves, and passing comments that they would forget in minutes, stung me bad. I had glasses, which don't suit my face, and a persistent acne problem, and many people commented on it, no matter what i did to get rid of it.
    Even when I did start to fill out more, there was conflict from all sides. My mum commented on me putting on weight and needing to exercise more (which I later found to be a backlash of her own weight insecurity, which itself was formed through her mothers unhappiness about carrying a little extra weight), whilst my friends thought I was still skinnier than the rest of them, and some people in other years still thought I was "too skinny".
    Either way, I am happy with how I look now. I have the curves I wanted, I learned to make the most of the strength and look of my legs, and I worked my butt off to strengthen the rest of me and balance me out, I found the right size bra which made a massive difference to my confidence and comfort. I love my body.
    I still get the occasional passing comments though. Most of the time I can brush it off, because I'm happy as I am, but when a family member does it, it can be really hard. Me and my mum have come to an understanding now; her problems came from worries about being overweight, whilst mine came from being underweight, so we try to avoid making any comments to each other about diet, weight or exercise, bar the occasional comment about how much we are enjoying the new gym in town.

    1. Tigereye, thank you for that candid story from your own life. I'm glad you found a balance with your mom.

  5. Why do we let our insecurities win? We all do it. We remember the hurtful and forget the complementary. There are many people over the years that have given me meaningful complements, why don't they come to mind as easily as the insults? Human nature I guess.

    1. Indeed - why DO we let them win? I wonder if it is a protective mechanism - a blessing somehow - or is it truly the curse I presume it to be? Thank you for that thought-provoking comment.

  6. this depends on how you look at it i dont have the guts to post a pic because i think i am not vain enough to do so face book is all about being vain so all i have to say is good luck with that

    1. I don't see Facebook as being all about being vain. For me, working from home, and being busy with the needs of a large family, I have little chance to keep in touch with the outside world, including many family members and friends who live far away. I so appreciate it when they put up photos to keep me apprised of a piece of their lives. Vanity has nothing to do with it when I share pictures. In fact, some of the photos of myself I've shared, I've done so with a cringe, knowing it isn't one of the best ones I could take, but knowing how much I appreciate it when others post photos, I do unto others, ya know? :)

  7. I can relate!!!! You're GORGEOUS by the way.

    1. Awww, thank you! I don't hear that often enough. :(

  8. You know, the only reason why I *think* anyone would ever say such 'halloween' comments would be if they're in any way, shape or form, knowledgeable of the Asian Ghost-Woman. In Asia, most vengeful spirits tend to be of beautiful ladies clad in white with long, flowing hair. Because, you know, most women who died under the circumstances in Asian folklore to come back as vengeful spirits were beautiful. They were often betrayed in one way or another.

    In Japan, there's the Kuchisake-ona-- a woman known for having a breath-taking figure and gorgeous hair, who often comes across lonely people in the road. She is downright beautiful... or rather, would be, if someone had not disfigured her face (think of the wounds done to the Black Dahlia). She often asks her would-be-victims if she is beautiful. If they say "yes," she lets them live, if not, well.. they'll find an equal fate as hers.

    So, in an essence, the top, dark picture simply makes you 'horrifyingly beautiful' mostly due to the lighting. Otherwise, you're just breath taking. ^.-

    1. AnqelicDemise, I apologize for the delay in my reply. I am sure I meant to as soon as I read it, as is the case whenever I get a comment, but sometimes other things get in the way of my plans, and pretty soon I've forgotten.

      I was just re-reading some things in here today and re-read your comment. That's some scary stuff, but thank you for the compliment!


Talk to me - please.