When I was younger, oh so many years ago, there was a particular male actor who I thought was QUITE attractive.
Now, I was never a person who had crushes on people growing up. I never had posters of (insert 2000’s heart-throb name here) on my wall or “fan-girled” over the Hansen brothers.
I just don’t find myself attracted to people that often.
Like seeing a photo of a dude, without personality to accompany the visual stimulus, means nothing to me. I can’t connect to an image without the human element behind it.
I just don’t care.
Hence why I was never going to have any luck with Tinder or Bumble. I tried though. I set up an account, tried to come up with interesting things to say on my profile, failed and kept the answers short and “mysterious” (cop out), forced myself to interact with the two matches I got, and had deleted the app before my Uber Eats order had even left the restaurant.
The only emotional stimulation I got from online dating was seeing my improv teacher at the time on one of these apps and freaking the hell out. I literally froze and looked around my apartment, as if someone was going to be there to help me, only to remember that the sole reason I was even in this predicament was because I was alone, in my apartment.
Swiping no felt weird. Swiping yes felt weirder.
The fact that they’d probably seen my profile even felt weird. If I had in that moment been located on a cliffside, I would have tossed my phone over the edge, my worst nightmares disappearing into a thousand pieces of shattered glass on the ravine floor below. But alas no cliff in sight, and so I threw my phone to the other side of the bed, before picking it back up immediately and deleting the app.
Anyway this guy…he was dreamy to look at. As the kids these days are saying, I shipped him? Or STAN-ed him? Is that how we use those terms? I’m very cool and up to date with current lingo. Do you ship a person or can you only ship a couple? Help an out of touch millennial out please. By the time you read this shipping will be dead and we will be deep sea submarining couples.
Nonetheless, he was way too pretty and perfect and symmetrical and like a real life Disney prince. These big brown eyes and deeply olive skin. Which is weirdly a deviation from my normal physical “type” that I have since discovered I have. The few people I have been into in my life all fall into a spookily similar physical box and I guess evidence supports the theory of me being a sucker for brown hair and blue eyes.
Watch out Nicolas Hoult.
No more information can be provided on the identity of mystery man as this dude has gone on to become wildly successful and famous, so his name will be redacted for his privacy and my dignity. So I had thought [name] was cute from afar. I'd seen him on a bunch of television shows, or in magazines etc so you can imagine my delight when I turned up at a party that [name] was also in attendance. The Australian Actor community isn’t that big and most people have worked with someone who knows someone else and you’re all connected by 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, so it wasn’t that shocking to be in the same place as this dude.
So I'm at this party and see [name] looking all dreamy and rom-com love interest-y and I mingle my way over to him and within minutes of talking, any fantasy about [name] totally dissipated.
All attraction was gone.
I felt NOTHING.
Oh the devastation! The pain!
This was not how this story was supposed to go!
He was still visually perfect yes -my brain could still register that all of the features were in the right place, but none of that mattered because we could not have been on a more different page. Different books in fact. Housed in library’s in neighbouring towns. Our personalities were not compatible and without that mental connection, any physicality was irrelevant.
No amount of good looks was going to eclipse what was going on inside someone’s head and what I really found interesting and attractive about another human. It’s true what our mothers have always said - it’s what is on the inside that counts. And this is something I try to remember on a daily basis now.
There's so much weight put on our physical being by society at large, that it's hard to remember that our body is truly just a bag of bones that carries our soul around. Our body is the vessel in which we exist and move about on earth, and is the house for the most important part of us – our brains!
What you think, believe, what you’re passionate about, what you find funny, what you value, what scares you, what drives you, what you won't compromise on, what moves you… all of that is what really matters in a person.
We give a disproportionate amount of importance to what is just one part of someone. When you slow down and realize our physicality is just one component of a giant mosaic, well it’s pure lunacy that we pay so much attention to it. You deserve to love and appreciate yourself for all of the elements that make up YOU.
Now that all sounds lovely, but I sure as shit found this whole concept INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT.
It's something I had to actively work on everyday. And STILL work on. For so long my self-worth was entirely based around what I looked like and how in shape I was. I honestly felt that all I had to offer to the world was associated with my physical appearance. I believed that being thin and “beautiful” was the only way I was a valuable member of society. This belief was really deeply engrained in me and was (and still is sometimes) really hard to beat out. It felt like work – hard work – initially to try and convince myself that not looking a certain way didn’t make me less of a person.
I could understand the concept in theory, but there was a disconnect in being able to apply it to my own life. You know that thing where it’s SUPER easy to give advice to someone you love, but then you go and do the exact opposite yourself…
Oh man I'm the king of that.
I love dishing out little nuggets of self love about “being kind to yourself” and about “mistakes being okay as long as you learn from it” and “it’s truly only a mistake if you make the same mistake over” and over blah blah blah. I loooove to tell this kind of stuff to my friends. And then I will go and rip myself to shreds for not being perfect myself... Oh but it feels so good to sit up on that glorious Mount Wisdom and preach self love and gratitude and perspective to all those lesser evolved people in the village of lesser enlightenment. It’s so much easier to say it, rather than actually do it.
I'd constantly tell myself that my body was just the house for my brain and that what really made me, me, and what I actually had to offer the world, was on the inside. I would say it to myself, knowing I didn’t really believe it. But somehow, with time, it’s like I tricked myself into it, and I started to actually believe that was true. It didn’t mean that all of the negative thoughts about my body went away. Or that I didn’t still have goals around improving my physical appearance.
There are still things that I would like to work on of course. I’m a human and woman in 2021! But I'm not worthless or useless in the pursuit. I can be a work in progress and still be a valuable member of society, regardless of how far along that progress I am or whether I ever even achieve those goals.
The need to meet a certain physical standard no longer consumes me or defines me. I know I'm worth more than the size of my pants and a healthy and happy mind is far more powerful and important than any number on a scale. Wherever our heart and soul is most content and functioning at its best, is the body we should be aiming for.
I am acutely aware that we live in a society plagued by toxic body image culture. There's a culture that praises certain body types and shames others. It makes it so hard to accept yourself as more than your image, when we are endlessly bombarded with what the ideal body looks like. Relentlessly sold the idea of specifically what health and beauty is. And the scope for that is incredibly narrow.
It's such a shallow way to view a person. I may have looked the picture of health when I was thinner than I am now, but mentally I was ravaged by an illness. I wasn’t able to be honest with myself or anyone about what I was going through. I was controlled by a disease, by obsessive and perfectionistic thoughts. I was harming my organs and muscles. I was unable to connect with others fully. I was deeply unhappy. But I looked good! So by society standards, I was looked upon favourably. People would often compliment my appearance. Commend me for my “will power”. Ask me what my secret was. People wanted to be as “healthy” as me.
Now that I don’t look as “perfect”, I know there are people that would think I have “let myself go”. By Hollywood’s standards, I’m stuck somewhere between not being physically large enough to be the funny best friend, but not being unobtainable enough to be the romantic lead. Despite my cast-ability issues, I am a much healthier person. I have clarity of thought. I no longer hide my struggles. I connect to the people in my life in a real way. I am no longer harming my body. I trust my mind and my ability to make decisions.
I often look at pictures of people on different red carpets (because I loveeeeee a big fashion event and am obsessed with people that take risks with structure and texture and bold make up choices and anything thats not just the classic sweetheart neckline prom dress. I love OSCARS day and the SAG awards day and well any of them and have a great time recapping my favorites on instragram. Helen Mirren continues to impress me. She never puts a foot wrong and manages to dress with a class, but still an edge the is unparalleled. And that pink hair at Cannes was iconic. Hero. Rosamind Pike makes some really cool, unique fashion choices too. Lupita. I mean she is a red carpet institution in a person. Stop Amy this is not important) who are very lean or “in shape" and it can be hard not to:
Still desire that for myself even though I know it is not good for me or
Wonder if they themselves are sick or unhappy, or if they were just born into a body that healthily works that way.
Some bodies are supposed to look that way and some bodies aren’t. Some people's DNA and genetic make up means that they are predisposed to be able to achieve that certain body type without it it being detrimental to their mental or physical health. And some people aren’t.
Without getting too into it, just a quick surface level anatomy exploration tells us that there are three main body types:
Ectomorph: Long and lean, with little body fat. They tend to have a hard time gaining weight or building muscle.
Mesomorph: Athletic, solid and strong. Muscular and well built. The have a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells so are able to gain or lose weight without too much effort.
Endomorph: High percentage of body fat, lots of muscle and store fat easily.
And I’d like to include a forth type specifically for Easter Sunday - Eggomoprh. Thats a funny joke right?
These body types are determined by our genetics and not a great deal of joy is going to come if you’re desperately trying to look like an Ecto, when you were biologically programmed to be Endo.
There is not a world in which I am any good at drawing or painting. Those fine art skills do not come naturally to me at all. But I don’t beat myself up about it or think I am lesser because of that. My DNA gave me the gift of singing and a predisposition to excel at other creative outlets like acting and comedy. Just as I wouldn’t judge my worth based on what are and are not my natural skill sets, I have to not judge myself for what my natural body type is. They’re no different.
All of those things are made up by our biology. Our DNA. Decided for us well before we were in this world and learning to be critical of it. Our body has a natural, biological resting point that if you manipulate it too much, you’re putting yourself into a state of stress, as you’re activity trying to renegotiate your DNA and where your body naturally wants to rest. I am a mesomorph. And I’d rather be a mesomorph that fluctuates in happiness and in weight, than a fake news Ectomorph who is miserably and unsustainably stagnant.
Know that there is a lot conspiring against us to make us hate our bodies and hate ourselves. These beliefs many of us hold about having to look a certain way are not solely our fault. There is so much information out there that supports the notion that what you look like is the be all and end all. Entire industries based upon it in fact. Know all of that, and know that it is not true.
We are Oreo’s people. The good stuff is on the inside.