I realized a few years ago that I suffer from a rather
serious condition, a duplicitous affliction some call it. I’ve been told only
time, quarantine, or drastic medical procedures can reverse this genetic
malaise that I’m plagued with. Unfortunately, none of those options are quite
feasible so I’m left to wait it out.
My super serious problem… is that I’m pretty. Now before you
hurl your computer at the wall in disgust, please hear me out. My daily reality
is fraught with both psychological and tangible missteps of which there seem to
be no end in sight.
Until I moved to the East Coast immediately before college,
it was a struggle for me to even maintain the idea that I wasn’t ugly. I
attribute that to various factors ranging from constantly being the only black
friend, to torment by mean girls (who I could never have fathomed were
threatened by me) in high school. When I was finally able to consider that I
might possibly be mildly attractive,
it was a very short-lived thrill.
I suddenly went from being and feeling invisible to having
much more attention than I was used to, and I quickly realized, wanted. I’d
always envied the girls whom everyone wanted to date, but I wish I could’ve
foreseen the hatred the mere sight of my face would invoke in other women once
I began to come into my own. I’ve been snubbed, ridiculed and threatened
because of assumptions people make about me based on my cloyingly symmetrical
visage and my rather self-possessed nature. Suffice it to say, college was hard.
I can honestly say that I’ve never benefited from the mythical ease with which
beautiful people glide through life. Quite the contrary, and numerous studies
have shown that my experience is not unique.
Fast forward to my adult life in which I’m still paying off
a feckless bachelor’s degree which has served me little, while I attempt to
make a name for myself as a performing artist. I like to joke that I’m some
sort of renaissance women and while I excel at many things, I really have few
marketable skills. For the past few years I’ve felt that all I’ve had to offer
to the world, sadly, is a pretty face. But the truth is that as a floundering
actress, I’ve failed at that as well.
Constantly being told that I’m “just not right” for parts,
makes me question one of the few things that I’m sure of in this world. That,
by the way, came only after years and years and YEARS of telling myself, and
slowly believing that all the people who called me names and told me that I was
ugly, among other things, as I was growing up were mistaken. Yes, I went
through a bit of a Pecola Breedlove phase and emerged gleaming on the other
side, but to what end?
As I look MUCH younger than I am, I’m trapped in a perpetual
state of cuteness, and people rarely take me seriously. Because pretty, skinny
women are dumb. I often see people become instantly annoyed and sometimes even
angry if I dare to admit any insecurity that I have because they assume I’m
fishing for compliments. If they knew me, they’d know that’s not the case at
all, but once they’ve projected their beliefs onto me it’s nearly impossible to
wrest myself away from their preconceived notions. I don’t know why people attempt to guilt me
into taking catcalls from strangers as complimentary, as if I asked for the
burden of alleged beauty. I’m most certainly not flattered when old men leer at
me in grocery stores, when douchebags at the gym shower me with misogynistic tomfoolery
meant to be both insulting and enticing, or when teenagers walk behind me,
loudly singing about “dat ass” to get my attention. Nope! I don’t revel in
Men assume that I’m high maintenance and stuck up, that they
can only manage me if I’m drunk, and that I’m shallow if I’m not romantically
inclined towards them. Just once I’d like to go to an improv class or
comedy writing workshop without being blatantly informed that I cannot possibly
be funny because I’m attractive and probably haven’t struggled enough in life
to have a sense of humor. I’d like to go a day without someone telling me that
I should smile, or randomly touching my face or my hair as if I’m a My Size
Barbie ™ on display for their presumptuous pawing. I’d like to go a day without
people assuming that I’m a slut… because they
want to sleep with me. Their amplified desire has no impact on my actual
proclivities, but few seem to realize that. I’d like to go on an interview and
not be stopped mid perfunctory-career-goal-answer to be told, once again that I
am pretty. I know that, but I want you to
hire me! The same goes for a bygone group of friends I once had that
feigned interest in my personal life. Any mention of professional frustration,
any confession of unsolved problems financial or familial was quickly swept aside with “But
you’re so pretty.” Thanks, but that solves nothing, and more often than not, it
These might seem like trivial issues, but they’re my issues.
For my conciliatory looks, I have no real career, no relationship and no sugar
daddies to speak of. Not that I want those last two things, but isn’t that what
beautiful idiots are made for? I’d really just like to not be interrupted when
I speak, and to not be made to feel like I invite predatory behavior if it
happens to be 90 degrees and I wear a dress that’s not even mildly provocative.
And if that isn’t going to happen, I’d love for everyone including my agent to
stop telling me how attractive I am in the absence of actual acting jobs. Either everyone is lying to me, or I’ve failed
in the beauty department as well.
Mostly though, I just want to be taken seriously.
Last night I very seriously considered going to bed at 7:30
and that is NOT okay. I’d like to say that I had a particularly taxing day at
work, or I’d been wrangling a set of triplets or something, but neither of
those things are the case. I’m a young person in LA and I could have been doing
something other than reliving my childhood by watching Boy Meets World, but the thought of leaving the house again was
I’m not quite sure when my idea of a good time shifted so
drastically, but I’ve been realizing lately that ALL of my priorities and goals
have been changing. When I was 21 and had just graduated and was planning to
move here to pursue acting, I’m pretty sure I was like “I want to eat diamond
sandwiches while skydiving and stay up all night drinking champagne and
partying in Paris and be in blockbusters and drive a G-class.” Or something like that.
Time, the realities of living in LA, and the ability to
reassess what’s actually important has lead me to a serious reevaluation of my
youthful aspirations. Now most of my fantasies about the future usually revolve
around having a garage. Like, I really, really, really just want a garage
because parking on the street is killing my soul. I cannot stress how much I
want a garage. And a holistic dentist. I don’t understand how this happened to
By the way, the video I’m posting has absolutely nothing to
do with anything I just wrote. So that’s happening.