Sunday, November 8, 2015

Super Secret November Challenge Blog Post #6

This is total cheat. I was getting ready to click on the little icon for writing a post, when out of the corner of my eye, the number of drafts jumped out at me. 17. Seventeen different posts I began and never finished.

Okay, some of these are nothing but blank pages, but at least half are almost complete posts. I landed on this gem from 2011, which I think I abandoned because, admittedly, it is pretty shallow. And by pretty, I mean totally. But in a nice, honest way. So, since this experiment has been fairly shame free thus far, I am presenting it now. As is. No editing. I think this is a great idea, guys.

Plus, we ate about twelve truckloads of wedding cake today at our tasting, and I'm having a major sugar crash.

The Narcissist's Lament 

Look up. I mean, look up at the top of my page. Not at the address bar, that is too far. Not at the title of the post, that's not far enough.
Look at the ridiculous black and white photo of the girl with heavy bangs and heavier eyeliner.
Obviously, that is me. But what does it say to you?

"Covering her mouth with her hair? What a crazy fun time nutter butter! She's a riot!"

"Covering her mouth with her hair? What a unique take on the voice of a blogger- should it really be heard or not? What a deep individual!"

"Covering her mouth with her hair? What pretentious, self aggrandizing bullshit. I hate this girl."

I'm not going to tell you which is the right interpretation- follow your heart and choose (they're all correct!). When I look at it, and all of my other pictures, I see a girl who hates her smile- which is unfortunate because number 3 in the Ultimate List of Things I Like To Do is laugh, and last time I checked, you usually have to crack open your mouth and let the world get a glimpse of your off-white whites to chuckle it up.

I probably should have received braces or a retainer in my youth, but for some reason my parents never put me through that. Perhaps they realized I was a skinny, short theatre nerd from a broken home who bounced back and forth between being a hyperactive attention whore and being shy as a mouse, and braces would only make me even more of an outcast. Or perhaps they were so busy fighting over money and who was more of an abomination of humanity, that my teeth got lost in the drama. Either way, if you even mention my chompers to my mom, she will immediately lodge into a mini rant over how she should have insisted on having them fixed years ago. And if your own mom will tell you your smile is a mess, then you know you have a problem for sure.

Now, it is not like my grin is a candidate for the Big Book Of British Smiles. It actually isn't that horrible and most people won't notice right away, unless I point it out to them. At worst, it is somewhat uneven and there is some very slight overlapping, ala Kirsten Dunst or Patricia Arquette (well, perhaps not that bad). But I am always super aware of it, especially when I see my mouth on film or in pictures. This is why you would be super hard pressed to find a photo of me with a big old open mouth smile.

Even as a kid, I was super aware of my upside down frown. (Along my with my nose- there is a picture of myself that I took when I was nine years old where I had circled my nose and wrote in the photo album "Ugh! I need a nose job!". Ah body issues at such a tender age!)  In every photo of me, my lips are pinched together and the corners are slightly turned upwards to show some semblance of happiness, but instead, I just look like I am trying to discreetly and silently fart.

Sometimes I forget how much I can't stand my mouth, but tonight I was showing someone an old short I had done for a film festival a few years back and I was taken by how disgusted I was with my mouth. I cringed every time those lips parted and even when it closed, it just didn't look right and I realized that I had sabotaged myself as an actress for not going to cosmetic dentist when I had the means. What was I thinking allowing directors to see me in all my flawed glory?? While not having a perfect smile may be beautifully human, it is particularly damning in theatre and film. A smile can share an endless range of human emotion, not just joy. And! As an actress my mouth is my first line of defense in my most powerful instrument : my voice.

I'm already limited enough by my laundry list of image hang ups, do I really need to worry this one little thing? Apparently so, because even though vanity and being obsessed with one's looks are  highly unattractive- it is also highly necessary if you want to appeal to a broader audience of folks because society is Fucking. Shallow. and that is not changing anytime soon.

But kids, we are totally driven to this point of obscene paranoia. Not that this is a revelation; it's no secret that everyday guys and gals are bullied into standing in front of their mirrors, horrified and wondering why they have to look like a creature who crawled out of the primordial ooze to wreak havoc upon small children and young urbanites by taking away their cupcakes and Pixar films. Not that there isn't a healthy amount of vanity- the kind that pushes us to stay, you know, healthy- but it is the obsession with "perfection" that does us all in.

I know the answer to this shallow dilemma is to embrace one's flaws and celebrate your individuality- but where is the line between unique and just plain unappealing? I wish I knew. Until then, all I can do is save my dollars and try to temper my preoccupation with the physical with a little humility and graciousness that I am healthy and live in a place where I have the chance to become the person I want to be, inside and out.

PS From 2015
My smile status hasn't changed, though Mike did catch me once with an open mouth grin. I was in lemonade heaven, folks.
Fresh squeezed lemonade = kryptonite

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