Days, weeks, months, years have I dedicated to fantasies, most of which I believed to be within my reach.
Fame, fortune, and - most importantly - the mega mouthpiece those things would afford me.
Notoriety. Renown. Love. Sex. Admiration.
I have achieved none of these.
My imagination remains keen, but my prose are lacking.
It is with no pleasure whatsoever I admit I was a better writer 10 years ago.
In part because the world still lay before me then.
In part because I was practicing in one way or another every day.
In part because I didn't have my brain injury then.
But none of these parts accounts for the hole.
That was good at least.
Still, 10 years ago, at what I consider to be my intellectual and physical prime, I pursued my dreams. I wrote. I was on film sets. I was engaged. Active. Hungry.
But my success was limited...largely, I believe, due to my appearance.
I've never been ugly.
To this day, no one has ever crossed the street to avoid me because my face fills them with terror.
But I have always been what one might call "average."
To combat this, I kept up a strict exercise routine for about a decade...and my body was in wonderful shape.
I loved my form, and how strong and lean I felt in it.
But I could never overcome the handicap that was my run-of-the-mill face.
I lost roles because of it.
Industry leaders listened less because of it.
All in all, I have been consistently overlooked because the population's consensus is that there isn't much here to see.
I considered plastic surgery.
Attempted those magic transformations you see in YouTube tutorials.
But none of it was enough to overcome the banality of my features...
I didn't recognize that I was plain until middle school...and even then, I always hoped I'd grow out of it.
I'd seen the "before" pics of celebrities - how awkward their school pics were - and thought my chances of going from ugly duckling to beautiful swan were pretty good.
But middle school turned into high school, and high school to college...and as time passed it became more and more evident that this was me, take it or leave it...
I always imagined my childhood fantasies in first-person POV. So I never imagined how my face would ACTUALLY look on various scenarios. At the time, I was innocent enough not to realize the role beauty would play in my life...and the role it plays in the life of every woman.
But even in elementary school, I noticed that the girls in class who were the best liked also happened to be the prettiest, and, as you can rightly guess, that continues to be the case.
Just yesterday I was reading article wherein beautiful people tell the rest of us what it's like to be really, really ridiculously good looking.
It was about what you'd expect - you make friends easily; you're offered jobs despite not being qualified; you're stared at; you're asked out a lot; you never pay for your own drinks; you always get free stuff.
As I read, I found myself longing for that beautiful face I'd always wanted. The faces of my popular friends I'd envied. The faces of the girls who went up against me in auditions and always got the part because, though I had ore acting chops, they had a prettier face, and it was only 2 lines anyway, why not give it to the eye candy?
When casting my own short film, I chose two beautiful young women. And, despite my status as director, more credence was given to the actresses than to me by the all-male crew.
That was just the way of things.
Beauty opens doors.
And while there have been plenty of ugly famous people, most of them have been so remarkably talented that they overcame their physical shortcomings.
I acknowledge it: I am not that talented.
Which is one of about a million reasons I left the film/television industry.
But this albatross still follows me.
Both of my sisters are/were knock-outs. So growing up I saw how differently strangers reacted to them than to me.
Just standing side-by-side - no words exchanged, so no personality bias - they'd get the stares, the smiles, the freebies from the barista.
I was always "the funny one."
I hoped this would one day be enough for me.
I know beauty fades. I know those women who are knockouts at 20 will turn 60 one day and they will have to deal with how cruel the world is to flowers that have faded.
I don't envy the beautiful people this loss.
But if they say it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all - can't the same be said of beauty?
Is it not better to have experienced life as a beauty than to never know the feeling at all?
I wouldn't know. Couldn't tell ya. Cause I've never been beautiful.
Given all my current health challenges, lamenting my lack of physical appeal is trivial.
I know this.
I'd give anything now to be able to see clearly, or have a decent night's sleep, or be able to adequately feel my hands and feet.
So many aspects of my health I took for granted prior to FQAD.
And really, I should focus on those.
But I've spent the past three years focusing on those, and now I'd rather focus on something - anything - else.
wisdom says I should focus on something I can control. And appearance definitely doesn't fall into that category.
I should write and read every day.
Build back my vocabulary.
Challenge myself to little projects.
I can imagine myself doing these things, and doing them successfully.
And yet again the fantasies come - recognition, fame, validation.
But all of my fantasies are first-person POV.
In my fantasies I control how people react to me.
I'm the one getting the smiles, the friends, the jobs I am not qualified for, the free stuff.
But then I go to start my day, and I see my true reflection in the mirror.
And I know none of those things are coming my way.
As not even I can imagine a world in which my appearance would lend itself to success.