Thursday, November 11, 2010

All I See


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You would think that a day spent hiking around with Sarah and Roscoe in the warm Colorado sun is when I would have done some thinking but it actually happened the day before on my downtime between connecting flights. While we were walking in the foothills I was just thinking, "Wow, this is pretty amazing."
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On my layover to Denver while sitting back and observing the travelers around me, I hit a confidence bump. I started to think about my glaring physical flaws, and one in particular that's been my weak spot for the better part of the last seven years. I started to try and understand my thoughts more and it grew into a very interesting conversation with Paige
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We both have these things, very specific parts of ourselves that we don't like and we've done seemingly everything to fix. As I was sitting in the airport trying to pass time I was looking at the women passing me and noticed how pretty they all were, and more importantly (for this story) how much prettier they were than I am. This isn't meant to be a woe-is-me moment, I'm just trying to be honest with my thoughts. Then I realized that I wasn't looking at every aspect of them. I was focusing on the one thing they had that I didn't and deciding their entire beauty based on that one thing. 
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I have had a lot of problems with my skin over the last several years and have done everything from creams to herbs, to laser and acupuncture to fix it. As I was sitting there I started to realize that everyone I look at who has flawless (or just better than mine) skin, I equate to being more attractive than I am. And in the wake of a recent break up and in the middle of traveling alone I'm sure my emotions were over sensitive and heightened anyway.
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So I started to think about how I should deal with this. I know the answer is to just embrace you for being you, the bad, the ugly, and all the rest. I don't particularly like this answer. By this reasoning I should be ok with having bad skin and embrace it as a part of who I am. I don't want that. I don't define myself as the girl with bad skin, and thats not what I want to be defined as either. "You know her, brown hair, average height, has a dog, kind of bad skin..." "Oh yeah, Morgan. I remember her now." 
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Then what. What am I supposed to do. What is anyone supposed to do who has something about them that they don't identify as being a part of them, yet there's seemingly no way to get rid of it. Am I supposed to just accept that I will always be that girl who has to use creams, lotions, potions, and avoid certain foods to somewhat protect my face? Or do I just let it all go and somehow come to an understanding within myself that this thing that I hate will always be there and I should just accept it already?
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I am really not able to come to any sort of conclusions about it, but talking to Paige that day did help me realize that while I'm worrying about one thing, that woman is worrying about her wrinkly hands, and that one about her misshapen ankles, and that one about her wonky hair, while all I see as they pass me is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. 
denveroutfit
Sucre Sunglasses, Gap Chambray Shirt, My Mom's Ralph Lauren Vest, Old Leather Belt, Madewell Corduroys
Old Riding Boots, Vintage Bag from OCaptain Shop

Where does that leave me then. I'm still trying to place it all. I know I want my skin to look differently than it does, but what if it never will. Then how will I be able to find the confidence within myself to be ok with that. Have you? Have you embraced your physical flaws or are you still fighting against them?
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Sarah did a great job as we hiked around her parent's property and helped out big time with taking my pictures. She went all out squatting down in the grass with her pregnant belly to get better angles! Thanks to Sarah for the detailed itinerary that let me know exactly what to pack for a day of galavanting around the Colorado mountains. Even Roscoe was nice enough to get in on some of the pictures. He must have seen the blog before and tried to help fill in for Lua. Lua's going to be so jealous. 



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28 comments:

Santina said...

I, too, struggle with parts of my body that I really don't like. I also find myself doing exactly what you describe: declaring one as beautiful simply because they have what I know I will never have. Trust me, this recent move to a beach requires me to prance around in a bikini every single day...it's hard not to focus on the negative while feeling rather exposed. I try to tell myself that at this point in my life, I know there is no changing my body and to appreciate what I do like about myself. It's tough though!

I think you're beautiful, Morgan, just the way you are!

Santina

Kate said...

I have no answers for you, love, but just wanted to say that I can relate. And I go back & forth between embracing things I once hated(paleness, for example) and hating things (my really ugly feet) to being indifferent. I don't know if anyone ever fully embraces things they don't like about themselves, but I have grown to realize SOME things don't matter as much as I once thought they did, but that other things will always bother me. Like you say, it's all relative, and the girls who you think are beautiful are likely wishing they had your slim frame, nice long legs and beautiful olive skin tone! xo.

Linda W said...

I think we are soulmates, or something along those lines. I had the same revelation just a week or two ago and blogged about it. My skin has always been a problem and I am on a journey to accept it.
Best of luck to you!

This was my post on it:
Ready for My Close Up

The Auspicious Life

myedit said...

I honestly have never noticed your skin at all... I even scrolled back but all I saw was goodlookingness... is that weird?
I feel the same way about my thighs... I think in my mind they are HUGE and it's the first thing I look at in whatever I am wearing. The mind is tricky.

archives said...

i also have never ever noticed your skin! at least not in any bad way...i am def jealous of your beautiful olive skin tone! pastey over here hates her chalk white skin.

confession: i've always had really GOOD skin - until recently. my skin has been so gross and out of control, been driving me nuts. finally i found out i have adult acne cause by a hormone shift that happens to some women in their late 20s/early 30s. so...there is nothing i can do about it. totally blows. my mother has had grade 4 acne most of her life, even now in her early 50s. tried a million things and nothing has worked.

all that aside, i definitely have target areas i freak out about, and have for years. :s

Peach said...

excellent post that i can totally relate to. i've been thinking about this a lot lately and have had brief moments where i completely love myself and it's so exciting to get a taste of that. i don't know the solution, but i feel those moments more often than i used to, maybe it's just getting older?
unfortunately, most american women are so bombarded with constant images of "perfection" that they obsess about some "flaw" that another woman would envy them for.
good luck on your journey ;)

amanda said...

i wish i could give you a huge hug. i have so many things that i don't love about myself. i have bad skin (which by the way was okay until i got pregnant and then the kid just totally messed with it! acne like crazy. plus i got curly hair again! that's a plus though. and the no stretch marks, but i digress). i have hairy arms, a birthmark on my back the size of my hand, big calves, and a gap in my front teeth. i also don't think i'm particularly photogenic (why do i have a blog???) but i think as i have gotten older, i've learned something about those flaws. they make up me. if i didn't have them, i wouldn't be who i am. my skin can be kept under control with face wash (proactiv) and make up, my arms, well i just make sure i do a lot of push ups and then i don't care as much. my birthmark on my back helps me to stay more modest, otherwise i'd be baring that thing all the time in the summer. my legs give me a lot of strength in my running. and my husband loves the gap in my teeth.
i rarely think i'm 'pretty'. but i do think i'm beautiful. there's a difference, you know. pretty is what is seen from the outside, but beauty comes from within. i'm strong, i have a huge capacity to love, i am loyal, i have a husband who thinks i'm sexy, and a son who thinks i'm cool, i am living my dream, i own a business, and i am a child of God. i'll never love myself like i should, but i am constantly learning to love myself more. it's a daily struggle but it's part of life. but i want you to know that we all love you and support you. and we think you're beautiful.

Eleanor ~ Shopping The Closet said...

Morgan,
When I read your blog I cannot help but gush over how beautiful you are.
And Merl's lookbook?
Those close ups?
You are absolutely stunning in every picture I have ever seen of you.
I see you as a beautiful, stylish, confident, single twentysomething.
At your age, what every young woman should be.

I grew up with a mom who had to have gastric bypass surgery and a Dad who stopped loving her due to her size.
He found someone else instead.
Since this all happened while I was in high school, it affected me more than words can say.
Sometimes when I do something I think my husband will disapprove of I fear that he will throw the towel in and leave me.
But he never does.
I work out tirelessly so I look "good" and still end up frustrated that I don't have six pack abs and a rock hard bum.
I want the perfect body you see on tv and in print.
I look at everyone else and think how much better their bodies look than mine...they might be smaller...more toned.
I critique my own photos...especially from past to present...does my face look fatter? And heaven's be, am I starting to look old???
That being said, I am a healthy normal eater and will never succumb to plasric surgery, but will most likely continue to fret over these things for the rest of my life.

Mikhaila said...

Ahh you put into words how I feel on a day to day basis. I never used to have bad skin until recently, I don't know if it's stress, going off the pill, or what..but it's to the point where I cry over it because I'm so frustrated. I too have tried everything and am currently trying natural remedies thanks to this book I just bought (precription for natural healing-I'll let you know if anything works). Like everyone else said, I've never noticed anything other than gorgeous when I see pictures of you. I think it's absolutely true that everyone has something about themselves that make them feel a little self conscious. But those same "flaws" are hardly noticeable by others!

kim said...

i've been a reader for awhile now, but this is my first comment. one of the reasons i love your blog is because you are so honest and manage to sum up things that typical 20-something girls relate to (at least me anyway!).

i really just want to give you an e-hug, tell you that you are beautiful, and let you know that you are definitely not alone. i've been "blessed"( or cursed?) with a huge rack and i hate everything about it! i don't think i will ever be 100% comfortable with my chest size. bathing suit season is my nightmare.

Lauren said...

When it comes to skin I completely understand, I've tried everything. Although my skin is much better then it was, after multiple bouts on accutane, I now am able to focus on parts of myself that I don't like. Which is terrible. I recently tried on my mothers and grandmothers wedding dresses and they didn't fit. And it wasn't anything I could change, my rib cage and shoulders were just too big. It's so frustrating how something in your bone structure can just devastate you. I think, why couldn't I have more or a feminine body type instead of such big shoulders (on that note I can't wear vintage most of the time because I've hulked out in them, ripping the backs... haha). Or another strong feature of me is my nose, I remember kids teasing me saying that soon my nose and chin were going to be so big they were going to touch. And it was even harder cause I was always the chubby girl. I did learn to love my nose and shoulders, but recently I don't know I've just had this rush of insecurities. Everything is ugly in my eyes and everyone around me glows in beauty.

I guess it's one of those things, sometimes your confident and sometimes insecurities can drown you. You just have to get your mind over emotions and pull yourself out. I know for me being an artist and having to study ideal proportions of faces and body types I look at myself and I know I don't hold a golden standard in beauty... But hey beauty standards change.

Sorry for the rant, but I don't read your post as woe is me. You are a real person with insecurities, and it makes me feel more comfortable with some of mine, because really if she has those thoughts and is as beautiful as that, then maybe I'm not as ugly as I think I am. :)

Huggles,
Lauren
Sparrow & Urchin

Tiffany said...

i used to feel the same way. i just decided that since i couldn't "fix" my face, i'd "fix" my focus. I've always had so so hair, so I decided to make my hair the most beautiful thing evah! my hair became the thing that I focused on. The other day, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror by a window. The sunlight showed ALL of my facial flaws: pits, scars, etc...and I was kinda shocked. I hadn't paid attention to those things in so long that I had forgot that they were there! My next thought was "damn, your hair sure is pretty." change your focus.

sweetersalt.com said...

I can totally relate. For the past several years I have struggled with allergy-related eczema. Though it was physically unattractive, the physical and mental discomfort were the worst part. It made me feel ugly, and frankly, was physically really uncomfortable. For those reasons, I had to research the way to change it. I see an allergist, get allergy shots and feel 1000% better. I made the change not just because of how it looked (though admittedly, it did affect me) but because of how it felt. I realize it will always be a part of me, but I do everything I can to make myself feel better.

I hope that makes sense! Keep on doing what you're doing!

Laura

MOUSEVOX VINTAGE said...

I always swear that I'm never going to start a comment on a blog post with, "When I was your age...", BUT...

I used to have HORRIBLE skin to the point where I would cry nearly every day over it. I tried so many different remedies, actually the same as you, and some even seemed to just make it worse. I think a lot of it was hormonal - some sort of change that I may have experienced in my mid-20's and a lot of it was stress related.

Now, in my early 30's I still get a zit here and there, but I think everyone does. I manage my stress levels by daily meditation and I keep a regular exercise routine as well that I also think helps manage my skin.

This is a topic I could go on and on forever about and I always feel so incredibly empathetic when I read/here about other girls who have experienced this same sort of insecurity over something so seemingly out of our control. Feel free to email me if you ever want to talk about it, though! I might actually be able to help, or at least let you know all of the things that didn't work that I wasted hundreds of dollars on.

In any case, we are always our own worst critics. We are always going to see flaws in ourselves on an amplified level and, often times, noone even sees these things but us!

You are a beautiful girl and you seem like a beautiful soul, Morgan.

Shallow Mallow said...

Love your photos :)

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I embrace my fine,bone dry hair, wall eyed squint and thin bottom lip. The rest of the week is for sticking my tongue out at myself in the mirror ;)

Really, it chnges from day to day. Ugh.

When it comes to my eyes taking ownership of it has been a positive. I like the sound of "wall eyed" so it gives my mad eye moody look a positive spin. As for the rest, I'll carry on doing my damndest with lip liner, eye shadow and various hair potions. :D

merl said...

So Saturday night I was brushing my teeth and washing my face before bed [this was at my parents house] and my mom came in to chat. She began with how happy she was to have me home.. then jumped right into the nitty gritty. She said she figured out why my nose was crooked. When I was 13-14 I had a spacer glued to the roof of my mouth, and my mom had to stick this little metal key in, and turn it. This widened the roof of my mouth, creating space for my front teeth to sit next to each other nicely instead of being so short on room that they jutted out like icebergs. Coincidentally this was when my acne started. Junior high was not a pretty time for me. Anyways, she told me she thought the space inducing retainer caused the shift in my nose. She claimed she had looked through childhood photos of me, and my nose wasn't wonky until we had that done. The way she described it actually made sense.. and she started to tear up and apologize because it was her decision to switch dentists because my former orthodontist had wanted to yank out my canines, and in her past experience it was a very painful process with a long recovery time. Of course I explained that even after hearing that, I would never blame her since how could she have known that would happen? In a way.. it gave me a small piece of mind, that it wasn't genetics, but something environmental that caused the shift in my nose. Even though I'm not sold on plastic surgery, half because it's a scary procedure and half because I want to be able to love my body, flaws at all.. hearing that from my mom made me want it a little more. I've come leaps and bounds confidence wise from how I used to be. I used to hate everything about my body. I think it's a combination of age and positive self reinforcement that I've come to an understanding with this bag of bones. It's also a healthy dose of stubborness. If someone doesn't like me, fuck em.

I think what it comes down to, is acceptance. If you can't change it.. why spend your life actively hating it? I know that sounds so much easier in print than in actuality, and I'd be lying if I said I actually practiced it on a daily basis. I hate my skin, but I'm going to try some new treatments to clear it up. However, if those don't work.. I need to accept it. It doesn't do my mind or soul any good to constantly berate myself for something I cannot change.

I think you are beautiful Morgan. Your hair will always be on my envy list as well as your lithe, fit bod and pretty smile. Don't even get me started on that olive skin tone..

x.

megannielsen said...

Honey, I totally understand. We really do all have these things that we're unhappy with. And the scary thing is that there will always be something we don't like. I think that's just our nature.

Something happened that made me feel a little better recently. I was always so unhappy with my bust size. I felt sad that I was so flat. Then I got pregnant, and my bust got so large that I couldn't wear anything without looking trashy. I was so unhappy. I literally couldn't find a shirt to wear. I started wishes for the days when I was flatter. I'd gotten exactly what I'd always wanted, and yet I still wasn't happy. A few months since my son's birth, I'm back to normal again, and guess what? I'm unhappy about how flat I am. How insane is that?! Its been a real light bulb moment for me... that tragic flaw of human nature, where we're never satisfied with how we are.

I know that was kind of long... sorry! But if it helps at all, I've never thought your skin looked bad. You look gorgeous to me sweetie.

Ashley [Free Honey] said...

I don't have very good skin either, and it will still break out fairly frequently. I currently have quite the situation on my forehead, actually. It's one of those things that I thought I would grow out of...but here I am, almost 25. I've never noticed anything wrong with your skin in pictures nor when I met you. I think sometimes we see the things we hate in ourselves so much more vividly then anyone else does. I also am not a fan of my nose. I do like to think I'm growing into it though...

I'm always touched by your honesty in your writing. I think it's wonderful that you can open up though this forum, I also think it makes you quite endearing.

Have a great weekend!

SWF_Terra said...

Thank you for this post. Your honesty is truly refreshing.

The short answer is no. No, I haven't accepted my flaws. I try my best to embrace the power of positive thinking. If you say you accept it, then eventually you will believe it. But there are bad days and fleeting moments during good days when my thoughts drag me down. Get the best of me. And make me feel like the 12 year-old ugly girl. I don't know that it will ever completely go away. It's great to receive compliments. They bolster my confidence on occasion. But no external voice is ever as powerful as my internal one.

Just keep working on accepting ourselves. That's all we can do, right?

Kristin said...

sweet doggie :)

Having a CLEARANCE SALE!! Most items $5.00 come stop by guys!

www.atasteofthis.etsy.com

Charlie, Feminine Bravery said...

I've got kind of bad skin, too. :) and my blog is all about finding courage in yourself, because that's something I lack. Trying to fix that now, too.

You are beautiful.

xxx Charlie
Feminine Bravery

Bridget said...

i think everyone struggles in some way shape or form. its a growing process, learning experience, all that crappy stuff that we don't want to do but makes us better in the end.
but as far as i can tell, you're beautiful, and you are rocking that outfit!

Farm Girl Fashionista said...

That is a great observation...that we may not see the entire person...just the characteristics of them that we wish we had. I'm quite guilty of that myself?! Of course...I think you're beautiful and I really love your blog!

http://thefarmgirlfashionista.blogspot.com/

CAITLIN said...

this is one of the things i love so much about your blog! you tackles your personal demons with such honesty, and i think it's really refreshing for your readers to know that such a beautiful woman can have insecurities, too! i think it's true--what we find most beautiful in other women is really just a reflection of what we dislike most about ourselves. i have practically transparent skin (i'm so pale and Irish), and i have always had horrific dark circles under my eyes--so bad that i can't even leave the house without concealer. i've come to terms with that part of myself, but whenver i see a woman without any makeup on i'm immediately envious--how much easier would life be if i didn't "have" to wear makeup all the time?? i would do anything to be tall and thin like you, but that is just another thing i have to accept will never happen. i definitely don't believe in just burying those insecurities that plague us--if there was something i could do to lessen the darkness under my eyes, i would do it in a flash. however, my doctor told me that i would always have mild rosecea if i didn't stop drinking red wine and eating spicy foods, and i didn't even have to think about it. i would much rather have to wear a little bit of makeup than give up on those things. it's all about living a healthy, happy life and deciding what is fixable and what isn't, and what isn't even worth fixing.

my mother always used to tell me that the problems i had with my face were practically invisible and i only saw them because i was focusing so hard on my face, which nobody else really does. i don't really believe her, because she's my mother and she's required to tell me i'm the most beautiful person on the planet, but there is something to that. problems like bad skin are often so much less noticeable than you think they are, because you're obviously examining yourself much more closely than anyone else would.

for what it's worth, if i saw you walking through an airport, i would think you were stunning. because you are.

i don't think anyone will ever be 100% satisfied with the way they look, and it's in our nature to compare ourselves to other people. i think some of your other commenters definitely have the right idea--shift your focus to the things you like about yourself! maybe when you stop stressing about your skin, it will clear up! :)

CAITLIN said...

this is one of the things i love so much about your blog! you tackles your personal demons with such honesty, and i think it's really refreshing for your readers to know that such a beautiful woman can have insecurities, too! i think it's true--what we find most beautiful in other women is really just a reflection of what we dislike most about ourselves. i have practically transparent skin (i'm so pale and Irish), and i have always had horrific dark circles under my eyes--so bad that i can't even leave the house without concealer. i've come to terms with that part of myself, but whenver i see a woman without any makeup on i'm immediately envious--how much easier would life be if i didn't "have" to wear makeup all the time?? i would do anything to be tall and thin like you, but that is just another thing i have to accept will never happen. i definitely don't believe in just burying those insecurities that plague us--if there was something i could do to lessen the darkness under my eyes, i would do it in a flash. however, my doctor told me that i would always have mild rosecea if i didn't stop drinking red wine and eating spicy foods, and i didn't even have to think about it. i would much rather have to wear a little bit of makeup than give up on those things. it's all about living a healthy, happy life and deciding what is fixable and what isn't, and what isn't even worth fixing.

my mother always used to tell me that the problems i had with my face were practically invisible and i only saw them because i was focusing so hard on my face, which nobody else really does. i don't really believe her, because she's my mother and she's required to tell me i'm the most beautiful person on the planet, but there is something to that. problems like bad skin are often so much less noticeable than you think they are, because you're obviously examining yourself much more closely than anyone else would.

for what it's worth, if i saw you walking through an airport, i would think you were stunning. because you are.

i don't think anyone will ever be 100% satisfied with the way they look, and it's in our nature to compare ourselves to other people. i think some of your other commenters definitely have the right idea--shift your focus to the things you like about yourself! maybe when you stop stressing about your skin, it will clear up! :)

mvelis said...

I too struggle with my skin and I did the same as you. I thought anyone and everyone who had flawless skin was prettier than I.

My skin has gotten much better in the last year, and I do find myself more confident but at the same time I am still the same insecure girl looking at how much better everyone else is around her.

Reading your blog just now helped me see things differently. Not sure I will stop looking at how much better everyone else seems to be but maybe I can start to look closer at what I love about me.

daer0n said...

Morgan,
I am a recent follower, and when I first saw your photos I thought "Wow, she is so beautiful" and I couldn't help but notice how good you look at every angle of your photos, how you were able to make every shot and your clothes look so great, and never ever notice that you had 'bad skin' all I saw was beauty, from your hair to your legs, everything.

It is funny, now that I read your post I can relate to it %200, I often times sit, look around at women here and I always find them so pretty, beautiful, and notice that their bodies look 'better' than mine, how having 3 kids has affected me in so many ways that I don't even want to think anymore.

I have always had problems with my skin, not on my face but on my legs, I have some kind of hormonal disorder (I believe) that makes my skin look on my legs look as though they are 'bruised' (if you want to call it that way) I have the hardest time thinking that I will never be able to wear short shorts, and that because I lost so much weight since I used to be super overweight that I will never be able to wear a bikini either.

I also never feel comfortable wearing 'sexy' stuff for my husband, like baby dolls and such because I just cannot stand the thought that he might see my legs and notice that they are everything but perfect, as I always wanted them to be, but the way they'll never be.

There are so many things I could tell you I feel insecure about, and the fact that I obsess about not being as skinny as I used to be (for the first time in my life) two years ago after having my last baby, and how much of a perfectionist I am because, even though I am too far away from being overweight and I am at a 'normal' weight I still feel like I might feel better if I just lost another 5 pounds.

It can be quite the nightmare to think about all my flaws, I get deeply depress, and then start questioning why my husband even married me or liked me, knowing there are so many beautiful girls here where we live, and he traveled to another country to meet me and marry me..

Like many of the girls that have replied to your post, I am really working on accepting myself the way I am, the way I look.

But really, I never see anything but beauty in you, and I am glad I have come to find so many beautiful people on my roaming around the fashion blogosphere, that have opened my eyes to see that there is always more than physical beauty in them, but such beautiful souls such as yours.

You are truly beautiful, inside and outside, and in my eyes you have absolutely nothing to worry about. *hugs*

Nury

Between Laundry Days said...

These photos are just beautiful.

But more importantly, I adore this post. I think you really get at the heart of something important here, and I love reading what you've written. While I'm not really eloquent enough to broach this topic for myself, right now, in a comment, suffice it to say that it has made me think. So thanks for that. :)

 
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