I’m exiting this cave so it’s easy to put it down in words – I used to feel ugly. I didn’t like the way I looked and felt the need to fade into the background. I used to want to scrub my face with more walnut scrub than it could take, discard all old clothing, and constantly feel like I needed a detox. In the recent past, I’ve lost a lot of hair for which I’ve applied homeĀ  remedies and even taken medication. Physically I felt like I needed to go into a cave. I believed that my face was sunken and my hair always needed a wash. This feeling of ugliness is receding now. I’ve not consciously aspired to be “magazine pretty”. It involves a lot of work, which, frankly my bones are not capable of. Looking good is a lot of effort no matter if anyone says otherwise. For me, I’ve always wanted a clean skin, tiniest earrings of (fake) diamond you can find, and hair that falls back and feels soft. When I was feeling ugly, none of that happened. The earrings were there, of course, but they weren’t enough by themselves. I still felt like scrubbing myself everyday.

This doesn’t seem sad or pitiable to me. In fact, it’s more of a surprise than anything. I’m amused at the varied tricks my mind has played on me. I’m a thin girl and I’ve witnessed countless girlfriends of mine aspiring to be thin, losing some flab on their arms and tucking in the belly. I never thought that the agony they faced would visit me in a different way. Not to be vain about being thin, considering how ill I am now, but I always thought that that was something I wouldn’t have to bother with. I had other demons. But then, I started feeling ugly. It specially had to do a lot with how much hair I lost.

I like to believe that it’s going away now. In small measure, I have been feeling better so much so that sometimes I find in myself the will to go on, and I see how my hair cut neatly falls into place after I’ve brushed my hair in the morning.

I think women assume a lot of pressure to look good. On celebratory occasions, I do too. There’s a templatised look to follow these days – one of straight hair and good eye make up. However, I think that if I lose the standards I set for myself – clean face, yada yada – I might be in for some big trouble. My confidence isn’t up there anyway.

So, that’s that.

I’m a girl. I’ve felt ugly.

Part 5 of Let There be Space