Archives for posts with tag: self-image

Shortly after I started this blog, I posted about the contents of my closet. The take-away was that its inventory was pretty ho-hum: jeans, khaki chinos, black pants, black turtlenecks and white shirts. In my defense, ¬†there were also cardigans in turquoise, chartreuse and violet blue, as well as silver ballet slippers, turquoise sandals, and fuschia wedges. (and don’t forget the leopard suede flats!) Overall though, it was a pretty plain picture, and in retrospect, very indicative of how I felt- inconsequential and invisible, uncertain of what to do next.

What a difference a year or so makes.

I’ve not added a lot to the repertoire (no need, sorry to say) but it’s easy to spot: chinos, again, but this time a pair in turquoise and one in acid yellow. Another button-down shirt, but now, deep coral. I didn’t make a conscious effort to add the bright colors; they just seemed right. I like to think that this reflects a deeper change: a willingness to take a little risk, and to be noticed, and a general lightening of attitude.

Lest you think that it’s more a sign that I have just lost my damn mind, I must mention the other few additions I made: cotton sweater sets, one black, one white, as well as a pair of low heeled perforated oxfords in ivory and a pair of saddle color flats. You can take the girl out of the basic, but only so far…

It is entirely possible that I began this blog as an outlet for my horrible puns. But I digress:

This title is about beauty, specifically as it relates to women. Or as we relate to it.

Much has been written and said on this subject, so I will not start from scratch. I assume we all know about the unrealistic standards we as women hold ourselves to, and the further erosion of our tenuous confidence as we age.

I’m thinking about this because of a photo The Kid took of the two of us recently. It was a happy day, and it showed in our faces. I looked at this picture, and I saw my beautiful, fresh-faced daughter, with her wide, gleaming, orthodontically enhanced smile.

Then there was me, slightly behind her, also smiling (and for once, not looking as though the process of having my picture taken was causing me actual, physical pain.) What did I see? Wrinkles, (especially the deep vertical crease between my eyebrows) and my crooked front tooth. My immediate reaction was the sense of being something of a dessicated shell of the shiny, full creature in front of me. Then I shook it off, and realized that I should be pleased that she chose to use this shot as her Facebook profile picture, since it included me.

It’s been a week or so since that picture was taken. The Kid and I were having one of those lovely, offhand conversations that sneak up on us once in a while. I must have made some negative remark about my hair or my face or who knows when she let me have it: ¬†“You are always so hard on yourself. Look at that picture of us I took- you are so pretty. I wouldn’t have posted it otherwise.”

That took me back. I can’t say I have been able to see what she sees, but I have been convinced to believe that she does, and other people might.

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (

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