Screw Beautiful


I read once that when a woman weighs herself, she should subtract the weight of her boobs and her brain, because they should never count against her. Although I do not think that any of the pounds on the scale should, “count against us,” I understand and moderately appreciate the notion. I believe that a woman’s brain is her greatest asset, but that understanding has gotten me into some trouble.

Somewhere along the way, I decided I would never be beautiful. Perhaps it was the tenth time the boy I liked went for my friend (like the time my Sadie Hawkins date asked my friend to be his girlfriend while they sat next to me on a bale of hay). Maybe it was when my grandmother pinched my stomach and asked if there were any sit-ups I could do. Or the billionth time a little kid walked up to me, pointed to my stomach, and said, “do you have a baby in there?” But somewhere in my twenty-eight years of existing, I got it into my head that my brain was the only part of me that was worthwhile.

It wasn’t all bad in the beginning. I went from a 2.8 GPA my freshman year of High School to a 4.2GPA upon graduation. I received Honors in college. I earned a terminal degree in the arts with a 4.0 GPA. I read a lot of classic literature, which made me feel culturally superior. I became a college professor at the age of twenty-five. Life was good.

The real trouble came during graduate school when I developed three terrible habits…

First I did not allow myself to utter the phrase, “I don’t know.” Lest I seem remotely unintelligent, I deleted “I don’t know” from my vocabulary and became an expert at the “smile and nod.” Sometimes I wrote down all the things I didn’t know on a pad of paper and looked them up later, but mostly it was the “smilie and nod.” Behind that smile however, I was constantly petrified of being found out as stupid or a fraud.

Second, I became an intellectual bully… “Oh, you haven’t seen The Battleship Potemkin?” I’d say sneering down the nose of my glasses, “Personally, it’s my observation that Eisenstien‘s more primitive works were far superior to his—” blah blah blah. I embodied the worst of pseudo intellectuals in the hopes that someone might recognize my brilliance and decide he wanted to make out with me…

Third I had a complete meltdown when anyone pointed out a typo in my writing (which happened frequently). I cannot spell. I have never been able to spell. I hate spelling. The English language sucks (conscience, conscientious, consciousness–what is this nonsense?!) . It also does not help that I might have a learning disability. Originally I thought it was dyslexia, but then I read the article “Why Stevie Can’t Spell” from a 2005 issue of The Washington Post, and it was the first time that what was happening to me made sense. Bottom line: I am physically incapable of seeing typos because of how my brain is wired. I read everything I write at least six times forwards and once backwards. I have Siri read it out loud to me. I still cannot catch typos.

Theses three things: not being able to say “I don’t know,” intellectual snobbery, and an incapacitating fear of typos, all stem from one root insecurity–if I am not smart, I am nothing. I have backed myself into a corner, decided no one will ever want to be with me for my body, sense of humor, kindness, cooking skills, or terrible guitar playing, thereby whittling myself down to a fraction of the person I could be.

One of the things I hope to achieve in this blog is accepting all of myself in the hopes of becoming a more well-rounded human being who can see her worth in all her curves and angles. So here is my first step–I am more than my brain. It is okay if I don’t know something. It’s okay that I cannot for the life of me spell “alcohol,” and it’s okay that I only watched the first ten minutes of The Battleship Potemkinbecause that crap is long and very Russian.

This Weeks Facts: Weight: 209.5lbs How do you feel?: Empowered. We launched our blog yesterday. We got over 1,000 views in our first eight hours. I am honored and feel like we just might be able to do this thing.I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you for reading this.   Small Victory: I exercised five days in a row last week.  Biggest Disappointment: Yesterday I was able to resist making Kraft mac n cheese, but then ended up just eating half a pan of box-scalloped potatoes–and they didn’t even taste good! Grrrr   Thing I appreciated about my body this week:  It turns out I have fairly strong oblique muscles. I have ABSOLUTELY no abs, but I did an intense oblique workout with our new best friend Cassey from Blogilates and I could keep up! Other notes: Cristina Yang is the greatest character to have ever graced the television screen! I submit the quote above as proof.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. rennanightingale says:

    Thank you for your vulnerability! If we are not told our worth depends on our looks, then we are being told our worth depends on our brains. Thank you for speaking truth into these insecurities!


    1. Rachell says:

      And if we’re told it’s not about our brains then we have to be funny. Women cannot win. Thank Ren for your kind words. It truly means a lot!


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