Thursday, April 19, 2012

"I'm Not A Model."

I sometimes hear myself saying this, usually in the following context: “I look pretty good today. I’m not a model, but…” And I’m realizing how much it bothers me, that that phrase has become some sort of qualifier.

“I’m not a model.”

Most women aren’t. We aren’t models…we’re us, yet somehow the barometer by which we measure our self-worth, our “good hair” days or “good skin” days or “skinny” vs. “fat” days or whether our butts and breasts are appropriately perky…is models.

I don’t just mean the comparing and contrasting that goes on when you read a magazine (such as Cosmopolitan). That’s an active form of comparing, where you’re consciously processing this printed material and aligning next to your own perceived misshapen bulk.

I’m talking about the unconscious comparing, such as I described above. Deciding, without even realizing it, that the absolute best, #1, top-of-the-line you can be is a model or model-like.

“I’m not a model.”

Today was the day I had an epiphany regarding that phrase. Today I realized how utterly absurd it is, in any and every context. I’m not 5’11”, nor will I ever be. I’m not gonna be struttin’ down a catwalk anytime soon, or gracing the front covers of any publications, nor will I probably ever.

So instead of making models my barometer…instead of saying, “Well, I came thisclose to model hot today,” I need to say, “I was a pretty good Me today. Not my best Me, but good. And tomorrow, I’ll try to be an even better Me.”

Because here’s the thing: Even on my very worst days—the days that eat away at me, the days that wrench my insides, the days I want to be over before they start—I still want to be me. If I was a model on my worst days, I could never appreciate or be happy with being me on my best days. So that’s why I have to be me, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

I may not always like it. Nobody looks in the mirror and loves what they see all the time, unless you’re Narcissus. That’s just the way the world works. But I can no longer get down on myself for not being or looking a certain way. I spent too many years doing that already, and it’s no way to live.

It’s not living at all, really…it’s existing just for the hope that you someday might escape who you are.

Except I don’t want to escape who I am. Not anymore.

“I’m not a model.”

But why should I have to be?


  1. Wonderfully written and unfortunately something I find myself saying far too often. Thank you for writing this.

  2. You're welcome, Nanna! I'm so glad that you were able to relate to what I wrote. I think these are issues that many of us struggle with but that don't always get addressed, unfortunately. The more people speak up about it, though, the less alone I think we all feel.