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  1. 1. 98-051-4598 1 98-051-4598 Dulin English 1A 22 June 2010 “I am fascinated by my own personal appearance. This does not mean I am pleased with it, mind you, or that I can even tolerate it. I simply have a morbid interest in it.” -Robert Benchley, “My Face” Everyone has days when they feel ugly or attractive. Why do we as a society put so much pressure on ourselves? Why do we let our appearances affect us drastically in negative or positive ways? In this article, Robert Benchley describes how he sees himself. Everyday Benchley sees himself as looking different. Some days he looks in the mirror and he thinks he looks like certain animated characters, like Wimpy from Popeye the Sailor. Other days after looking into the mirror he thinks he resembles Wallace Beery; a wide faced, large nosed American actor. Benchley has a dismorphic view of how he sees himself. Majority of the time, he doesn’t know why he looks the way he looks, for there isn’t any resemblance to his character whatsoever. He also states he gets very depressed by his appearance; however, he can’t help but continue to look at his reflection through store windows, mirrors, and recent pictures of himself. As a child, I always felt out of place and ugly. I was bigger than all my cousins, classmates, and siblings. I was one of the popular kids; I was just the bigger girl. I remember being in the third grade and I over heard one of my peers saying, “She’s cool, she can hang out with us. She’s not going to be able to fit into any of our clothes though.” That comment still sticks with me till this day. But kids try so desperately to fit in, that they’ll do whatever needed to be one of the popular kids. So I shrugged it off and didn’t
  2. 2. 98-051-4598 2 let that remark effect me too much. As I was going into middle school, my body was also going through changes. I was starting to be aware of my appearance and I wanted to look nice and attract boys. I got a boyfriend, my first boyfriend when I was in the eighth grade. One day I told him I wanted to hang out with my friends instead of hanging out him. He got mad and said something so awful to me in front of our peers. He said, “Well you’re fat anyway, I didn’t even like you. You’d probably sit on me and smash me.” Right then and there I broke down into tears and walked home, alone. Benchley states that, “all this is, of course, very depressing, and I give off a low moan at the sight of the new days metamorphosis,” at this point, anybody going through a situation like this wouldn’t want to go back to school the next day and deal with their peers pointing and laughing at them (151). I was lucky enough to have friends who loved me unconditionally. Those friends defended me and turned on him for putting me down like that. Throughout high school, I became even more so intrigued with my appearance. There were females there of all shapes and sizes and I felt ridiculously hideous. I felt so ugly compared to the pretty, popular girls at my school. People would see me as a pretty looking girl on the outside, but on the inside, I hated the way I looked. I constantly made jokingly comments about my weight, or how ugly my face was. I avoided taking pictures, smiling at all because I hated the spaces in between my teeth; I was overly judgmental about anything that had to do with my appearance. Overall, I was a normal teenager, but I had extreme issues about my body, I hated the way my face looked. After I graduated high school, I lost an extreme amount of weight. I went from weighing 150 to weighing 119 in about two months. A first, I loved the attention I was getting from both guys and girls about my weight loss. My face was slimmer, I had
  3. 3. 98-051-4598 3 curves, my body was lean and I loved it. I was eating probably 600-800 calories a day. I would eat a cheese stick with milk in the morning, 5 crackers and water for lunch, snack on gum until dinner and for dinner, sometimes I didn’t eat at all. If I did, I ate what my family was eating but I only ate 1/8 of the dinner. I went to the gym every other day and these were intense workouts, I was burning more calories than I took in. One day, after an intense workout and only a few crackers and carrots for lunch, I was leaving the gym and I passed out on the concrete floor. I hit my head so hard, I was unconscious for about 5 minutes. After that incident, you would think I wanted to get healthy. But no, I was sick in my head, when I looked in the mirror, it was like I was looking at a fun house mirror at the circus. I looked frail, I had absolutely no meat on my body, it was just skin and bones and hardly any muscle. I started losing my hair, my collar bone as well as my shoulder blades and ribs were visible to the eye, my legs and arms were pencil thin, I looked like one of those runway models you see in fashion shows. My face looked “sunken in” I was very unhealthy. I still wanted to lose more weight. I was not pleased with the way I looked, but I loved to look at myself, take pictures of myself and shop for new clothes. I know it may sound odd that I loved the way I looked, but I hated it to the point to where I still was not satisfied with my appearance. This is because I was sick in my head, what I saw in the mirror isn’t what other people saw. When my friends and would go on outings and take pictures, I always had to be the first to see the pictures. I had to examine every inch of my body in the picture. I would sit there and look at the same picture for hours just analyzing myself and what I wanted to change. Benchley states, “in some pictures I look even worse than I had imagined,”(151) I too felt this way, I could have been the best looking girl in the pictures; however, I saw
  4. 4. 98-051-4598 4 myself as this ugly creature, this hideous thing that should be kept in a room so that nobody could see such ugliness. But at the same time, I would agree with my friends when they would saw, “awww this is such a good picture! I love this picture!” but in my head I wanted to tear it up and throw it away. It didn’t matter how much someone would tell me how pretty I am, or how thin I am and how I look good in ever outfit. I saw none of that. When I looked in the mirror, I still saw that ugly girl that got made fun of because of her weight, I still saw that 150 pound junior in high school that couldn’t get a boyfriend. The media and society weren’t playing a good role in helping me better myself. Music videos, movies, television shows all had beautiful, thin, healthy women. Around the year 2005, there weren’t many advertisements on how girls and women should be happy in their own skin like they have commercials and TV shows that promote that now. Now that I’m healthier in my mind and body, I no longer worry about my weight issue. I can look in a mirror and say I look pretty. Benchley states that, “whatever is in store for me, I shall watch the daily modulations with an impersonal fascination not unmixed with awe at Mother Nature’s gift caricature, and will take the bitter with the sweet,” (152) Some days are better than others, but I’m healthy and I know I’ll never go back to what I used to be. I don’t let ignorant comments that people make about me affect me like I once did, which is the reason why I was like I was. I don’t look at magazines and get depressed because my face isn’t as pretty as the models face. My body dismorphic disorder hurt me in more way than it helped me. But I’m glad I no longer stress about my appearance every minute of the day.