I am ugly. And awkward.
Looking at the photo on the right, you might think, “Girl, you’re crazy.” But I’m not. I can’t tell you how many internet friends have met me in person, only to seem puzzled (and occasionally horrified), eventually asking the million dollar question(s): “How old are the pictures you post? Are they even you?” When I was in college, a friend of a friend wandered into the writing lab, where I worked, and he asked me if he could speak to Larissa. He didn’t even bother to disguise his shock when I told him I was Larissa. Later, I overheard him tell my friend, “Well, that was disappointing. You were right. She looks nothing like her photos.”
Except, I do. If you were to look at me close-up, or from above, I might seem attractive, provided my hair is professionally styled and I refrain from smiling. I am what we used to call a S.I.F.: a secret internet fattie. Unfortunately, unlike most fat girls, I don’t have pretty teeth, my skin is a mess, and my hair and nails are terrible. I know I’m ugly. I have no idea why I’m so photogenic. I sometimes joke it is my fairy tale curse: my “true form” is visible through a camera lens, instead of through a mirror. But that just makes me seem vain.
I have become increasingly awkward as a result. I’ve always been shy around people I don’t know, but when I was in high school, I’d had the same friends for years, and I was pretty and thin. I felt comfortable and confident. I began to gain weight my junior year, and it surprised me how cruel people became. One girl–whose Mean Girl name and personality I will never forget–approached me and said, “Do you remember me from French class? …Yes? Are you pregnant?” She cackled in my face, then she returned to her gaggle of giggling Mean Girl friends. I cried in the bathroom for hours. Still, I didn’t see myself as ugly. I suspected I was ugly, but what I saw in the mirror didn’t seem ugly–not for five years, anyway.
I once believed people were quick to bully me about my appearance because they felt as though I had lied to them, but then strangers began to treat me like garbage. This behavior has become so commonplace, I no longer believe losing weight will solve the problem. I think it will help–overweight women tend to stand out more–but I don’t think I will shed the pounds and become a swan maiden. I’m just gross.
Not me, but that’d be cool.
So, people terrify me. I have no idea what to say to anyone. I went from being shy, to being completely awkward in a social setting. What’s worse: I sometimes feel the need to apologize for my awkwardness or to explain my behavior (e.g. “I’m sorry if I seem awkward; I’m just really, really shy, and I need lots of alone time.”). I once thought I’d gradually become an introvert, because I do need time to “recharge”; however, people don’t make me feel drained. Worrying about whether or not I will alienate other people makes me feel drained.
I spend way too much time worrying about how I will be perceived. There is a huge difference between shyness and awkwardness. It seems awkwardness is a hipster thing to claim, but I have yet to meet even one hipster who fits that description. I worry people will dismiss me as mentally ill, mean, on drugs, or simple. I want to tell people that I’m worth getting to know, but I’m so very skittish, I put everyone off. I wish I could fix my personality.
On the plus side: I really am like a fairy tale character. On the other hand: this is real life. I’m not even sure why I wrote this entry. If anyone else knows what it is like to feel as though everyone will hate you because of the way you look and because you’re so shy, you seem to have a shit personality, you’re not alone. I feel your pain.