Dear Intelligent Advice,
I’m unhappy with my appearance: I look in the mirror and I’m never satisfied with what I see – I look bad in all my clothes, and nothing seems to suit me or flatter my figure. I’m not hideously ugly; some days I think I’m just fine, but when I look at girls in magazines or even just walking down the street I know I will never look like them and it really bothers me!
I’m aware this is a silly thing to get upset over, but I want to be happy in my own skin. I don’t feel beautiful and it’s really affecting my confidence, not to mention my dating life! I meet guys and sometimes I think they might be attracted to me, but I just feel unsexy and never pursue anything with them. What shall I do?
Response: [Advisor logged on Metamorphosing]
Young one, if only you knew how I sympathise with your plight! I too, know what it’s like to fear your own reflection and to feel that no matter the cut, colour and newness of the clothes you wear, it is still you that is wearing them and thus the whole picture ugly. I find it best to avoid mirrors all together as that is the only way to ignore the truth of my inescapable ugliness.
The life of a bachelor, (although in your case I believe a spinster – but don’t want to make assumptions) is unrepentantly hard. Your life will be one of unmitigated loneliness, bitterness and an insidious desire for companionship. As others turn the door on you, or you on them, the world will become strange and dark, and your sense of self as you know it will erode as your isolation increases. Are you a daughter to a father, are you a lover to a man, are you a woman? The judgement and darkness will render you unable to tell.
Exile and alienation will become your way of life – at first people will attempt to remember you as you were, but they, in their simple, happy lives, sensing your grotesquery and shame, will withdraw from you. But within this you will find the purest form of being: that of the artist. Being cut off from the duties and pleasantries of the world will transport you into the cold abyss of yourself, and your utter unhappiness will reveal to yourself your true nature. Only then can you embrace utter solitude necessary to produce your life’s greatest works: be still, and the world will become exposed to you in its bleakest glory.
The Eternal Bachelor