24 April, 2015

U is for Ugly

As a little girl I always thought of myself as extremely ugly.  Not in a quirky, interesting, goth kind of way, but in an Elephant Man, bag over the head, Cousin It, "If-you-put-on-make-up-people-will-laugh-at-you-for-trying" sort of way.

Looking back, I obviously wasn't terrible at all but I can remember being horribly embarrassed and awkward and uneasy about myself.  And it was always made worse when anyone EVER commented on how I looked. (It took me well into my thirties to learn to accept a compliment gracefully.)

I especially struggled with the facial dissection that occurs in families, when one's features are assigned to various family members of bygone generations.  I apparently have the chin of my aunt, the earlobes of my grandmother, the forehead and hairline of a distant cousin, oh! and Dad announced (with all love) at a dinner with Hec's best friend's family, that I have cow eyes.  COW EYES!  Thanks Dad!  Because I needed that spotlight in front of Colin and his brothers.

The funny thing is that as I have grown older I have developed a great fondness and affection for things less than perfect and although I could easily spend  a week or five without ever looking at my image, I have grown to tolerate the features of my face in a way I never thought I could.  What a relief.  It's so much more relaxing not loathing oneself every time one passes a looking glass.

from Tim Burton's Frankenweenie

My father and I have an ongoing disagreement which is best characterised by my adoration of Tim Burton's aesthetic and Dad's lack of understanding of it.  Dad sees the characters as ugly and deformed, while I perceive them as interesting and exquisite in their imperfection.  I think there is a generational and cultural gap at play in our differing viewpoints.

Whatever it is, I'm glad I can love "ugly" characters because it makes infinitely more things in the world so much easier to appreciate – not the least of which might be me.


  1. Oh the agony! I feel your pain, gorgeous Soph! Btw, i adore Tim Burton's characters for all those reasons you mention. Hope you caught the exhibition a few years back in Melb. ;-)

    1. The exhibition was a wonderland as all Tim Burton experiences are. It was a rare treat that I wouldn't have missed for the world. Thank you for reading, and empathising Jen. Girls do have miserable times at times, don't they?