Feeling Axolotl

image credit: kidicarus222.blogspot.com

image credit: kidicarus222.blogspot.com

I feel ugly right now.

Do men ever feel this way, I wonder? I am an American woman, and I am still expected to do everything looking fabulous and wearing high heels with perfectly groomed legs and armpits and fingernails. But I am not fabulous-looking. I am awkward, and geeky, and filled with strange nervous ticks and eye rolls that not once but twice inspired talent scouts to suggest I consider going into comedy. I have a case of comedian face, like these 53 funny women:


Comedian Face

Comedian Face

I used to blog about my struggles with my weight, and I was pretty open about it. Then one day, five months ago, a very thin relative started flaming me on my birthday about my obesity. I said it: the o-word. I weigh 235 pounds which is 80 pounds more than my medically suggested BMI. But I am not the only woman in the world who used to be a nerdy little girl, no, I am not the only woman who still has a dorky teenager inside.

When I was young

When I was young, and pimply, and my glasses were ugly.

But when I write, I am beautiful.. and when I write, I am not a fourteen year old girl with a bad case of acne and an even worse fashion sense hungrily digesting the works of Poe. I am rather, a person who is reaching out across time and space to give a hug to that girl I used to be, and every other girl like her, in every library haven safe from school yard bullying.

I am her advocate, saying “You will live through this, and you will see better days.” I am her advocate, saying, “It WILL get better”. I am her advocate on those days when I am strong, and I am not weighed down by the incredible sadness that leaves me as breathless as a woman punched in the sternum by a bully’s fist. That feeling I will only be what others see.

Monster Eye - Monster I

Monster Eye – Monster I

You will see me coming for I am a monster – a monster a monster, yes I am a monster. You will see me coming, a green me edited into a Frankenzombie in Photoshop, the apple of some Photomania app eye, and I will take my image and own it, and control it. Because even a girl who didn’t feel very sexy could understand something about Feminism 80s/90s style. I am not sex positive, but I got the part about controlling your own image, not from Gloria Steinem, but from Madonna, when she released a book of erotic images to counter the public relations issue connected with Hustler releasing less flattering images of her.

Sex Sells but Horror is Violent

Sex Sells but Horror is Violent

And I am feeling Axolotl, a funny monster. An adorable monster. A little monster. It comes from the words meaning “Water Servant”. A slippery creature. I am redefining myself but… then my mouth will open, and I will speak. The once soft spoken girl will have given way to a woman whose nervous tickiness is always lying underneath the surface in an eye roll or a sideways twitch of the mouth. I will feel insecure, and I will cry in the dark hormonal circles of feminine wondering in the bathroom, where no one can see. And I will be me: alive, surviving, triumphant, and writing. I will write. And I will speak.

It is just that I will speak nervously.

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A tale of bullying and overcoming

A tale of bullying and overcoming

~ by Sumiko Saulson on August 8, 2012.

5 Responses to “Feeling Axolotl”

  1. fucking BRILLIANT

  2. Thank you 🙂 That means a lot to me right now.

    • “Reflexive belief” – that’s a good way to describe it. When I start feeling ugly, it’s like a reflex. It’s also a refluxive belief, because it’s kind of like acid reflux, it keeps coming back up no matter how hard I try to keep it down.

  3. I get ya. I’ve got overweightedness, plus a little trichotillomania, which together make my face look like a round, bald moon.
    You’d think that at almost-40, I’d be over it, but nope. Then I realize that my mom is 62 and still feels bad about her looks and weight. When you’ve got the world telling you you’re not the right shape and size and skin type…well, it’s insidious, isn’t it.

    People seem to think we can unlearn it, but I bet most atheists who were taught religion as children still have moments of reflexive belief. It’s pounded into our heads from as young as 4 – that’s when people started telling my daughter that she had a “bubble butt”, which at 18 she’s terribly conscious of. It’s stupid, but it is what it is.

    • “Reflexive belief” – that’s a good way to describe it. When I start feeling ugly, it’s like a reflex. It’s also a refluxive belief, because it’s kind of like acid reflux, it keeps coming back up no matter how hard I try to keep it down.

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