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I am not the Death Star on legs

Therapy write up again. Homework from a recent session was about looking at myself and looking for things that I liked.

Simple?

Yeah, right. Try that without the ‘not bad for someone my age’, ‘in a low light’ and the inevitable ‘but …’. This isn’t anything new. This has been me wanting to be taller, thinner, prettier (there, I said it and I feel ashamed of myself) for as long as I can remember. I seem to be incapable of seeing myself in any positive light, the most I manage is a kind of grudging acceptance of my plain-ness.

I am terrible with compliments. I will blush and make excuses and think you are taking the piss/setting me up for the punchline of some joke. I work hard at deflection rather than take the difficult step that someone might mean it when they say I have nice eyes. Call me a Hobbit and ask how long I spend shaving my feet and I am immediately more comfortable.

I think I have always been terrible with compliments. Less so, perhaps, with what might be classed as compliments for ‘intellectual’ attributes rather than physical ones but I am still uneasy. Kudos from my little writing exercises on AO3 make me happy then spiral off into ‘oh, but what I really wanted to write was …’ or ‘but I am so slow and need to get around to writing more’. People taking the time to make comments is something I really can’t cope with – is it possible to be flattered and shamed at the same time? They are too kind to me.

I do not ‘fish’ for compliments. That seems to be one of the big taboo things I grew up with. They don’t count if you have to ask for them. I grew up asking if clothes looked ok, not if I looked ok (and always the little voice in my head added on the provisos of ‘for a short girl’, ‘for a plain girl’, ‘at least I’m fat in proportion’). Clothes shopping now is an exercise in never really looking at myself.

I have had some good feedback from work. Feedback is another word for compliment. I do not let it touch me. I discount it and devalue it by comparing myself to others and the feedback they get. Even doing well at industry exams makes me uncertain how to react even though those results are as objective as can be. I think I managed 10 minutes of being happy at getting ‘master’ level of the Service Desk Institute Service Analyst course before telling myself off about it and then refusing to see it as anything other than what should be expected of me (‘been doing the job over 20 years, of course I should be able to get qualified in it’ and so on).

It’s like everything has a ‘but’ attached to it.

Anyway, speaking of butts, back to not being the Death Star on legs.

I know I’ve mentioned working at Oddities Heaven. Sometimes I’ve wondered if this re-enforced my discomfort with myself. Back then, back when VHS tapes were over £50 (I kid you not) there seemed to be very few women in fandom, fewer still who might have been considered ‘normal’. Go with me on this, I don’t want to be specific but trust me.

I thought men were just being friendly but then I realised that some of them were chatting me up. (Shock and horror, I know.) I was asked out to lunch, drinks after work … did I fancy getting dressed up for a photo shoot? I always put this down to the the small pool of women that:

a) seemed to have similar interests
b) were not the size of the Death Star on legs
c) didn’t chat to their spirit cats in public (and related quirks)
d) were apparently available

I was a shop assistant! Of course I was going to smile and talk to you.

If you are brought up never to fish for compliments then you can tend to overthink those few that you get. I think I self-sabotaged by always taking the source of the compliments into account. Being a fan may be cool(ish) now that Big Bang Theory is one of the highest rated programs around, but I have to be honest and say that there are still a lot of guys out there more like Captain Sweatpants than Leonard. What do you do when your first memories of personal compliments were from people who make even Captain Sweatpants look like he has every social grace.

It’s cruel to say it, but if these people thought I’d be interested, if that was all I could aspire to … then what did that say about me? Not being the shape of the Death Star seemed to be my only asset.

Way to go there with the self-esteem Andrea.

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Oh no – pressure!

Anyone who finds this … you know it isn’t really real don’t you?

I’m sure you are all a figment of my (tormented) imagination. But now, shock horror, I’ve had some comments back that are not just the usual spambot adverts.

Maybe they are clever spambots. Maybe they are like actual people. I’m in a tizz. What to do about actual people stumbling across Planet Andrea? What happens when someone else pops up in the middle of a monologue (I checked, I’m sure it wasn’t me commenting on myself – it was vaguely complementary.)

I’m going to have to start thinking properly about posts, and layout, and readability and all those odd kinds of grown up things I’ve been ignoring. There are lots of buttons to click and widgets to wrangle. I’m not certain I can take the pressure.

On the basis that this is a most excellent diversion from anything at all constructive I’ve even downloaded the WordPress app for Blackberry. Female but not feminine was a little bit of something niggling away at the back of my mind so the BB came in handy to exorcise that in the wee small hours one night. I spend a lot of time analysing myself and some of the daft things I do. I’ve noticed now, however, that I tend to talk to myself in the form of blog posts so I expect there will be quite a bit more of that when I get into the swing of things. I do have an awful lot to get of my chest, maybe saying it without believing anyone will take notice or will hold me to it might help me work through it.

Much cheaper than actual therapy.

And the real reason for the site? How is that coming on?

Well, I’ve notice that in trying to cut my torrent of drivel down to manageble sizes I’ve discovered a few things.

  1. It’s amazing how many times you can read something and not notice the typos until you change the font/layout/formatting. I’m not saying I’ve got all of them but it has been nice to clean away some garbage.
  2. I do rather go on and on. What I consider manageable is gargantuan on line so apologies for anyone daft enough to click the links for the book pages. I do understand that it is harder to read something on line than in print format.
  3. It’s helped me realise that some bits – however much I like the ideas in them – can just be ditched. So they have.
  4. Posting can help writing. Writing does not seem to assist posting. I cannot do both.
  5. I’m not good at thinking up chapter titles.
  6. All writing needs discipline.
  7. About discipline …. ooh look, over there, something shiny!

And one of the strangest things that I have to admit to … I have a main character have a little rant about all the demanding little voices of the blogosphere, ranting and opinionated and ceaselessy spewing words to contribute to the downfall of society and now I am one of them (I haven’t posted that section yet, it makes sense in context.)

So

Anyway, just a little post to say that a couple of people who do not appear to be spambots have found me, dropped by and said hello. Very odd. Really.

And I’ve notice that my internal voice has slowly morphed into something like Eddie Izzard but not as clever, witty or charismatic. I know no one else can hear it but I am deeply, deeply sorry about that.