Two days ago, I was riding on a bus in downtown Indianapolis, and a woman a few seats away leaned toward me and asked, “Are you a model?”
I laughed in her face.
And then I realized how incredibly rude that was.
“I’m sorry. No, I’m not.”
“Oh,” She said. “Well, you could be.”
I paused a quick second, trying to regain my Ps and Qs. “Thank you, that’s very nice of you.”
See, here’s the problem. I genuinely think the idea of me being a model is hilarious. And it’s not because I’m insecure or think I’m ugly. I’m not ugly. I mean, I’m no Gal Gadot, but let’s be honest, if there were two of her the universe would probably implode, so that’s for the best. I clean up well, and I can make an empire-waisted evening dress look like it was made for me. I’m pretty cute.
But the very image of me modeling, putting in the effort to look poster-worthy for my job, every single day, is laughable.
Let me give you an example.
Adult acne is my nemesis. Seriously, I’ve had acne since I was 12, and it really hasn’t gotten much better – it’s just moved down from my forehead and sort of spread down my neck like it’s getting tired and letting gravity slowly win. About every two months or so, I look in the mirror at the mountain range that is my skin and I get incredibly annoyed. It’s wildly unfair, really. Teenage acne is one thing – they’re awkward and funny-looking anyway. But as an adult? It’s really just salt in the wound that is an aging body.
But here’s the catch: I hardly ever care enough to do something about it. Every once in a while I get so annoyed that I talk to a doctor or buy a different soap or stop washing my face in the shower. But then after about two days, I just can’t be bothered to put in the effort. I have too much to do, and I value my downtime more than my skincare regimen. So my acne continues.
And I now have confirmation that it is truly a matter of values:
My team and I have been working on a short film, and I am the main character. Knowing that we were going to be filming this week, and that my face would be displayed on HD screens, and that the character I was playing might actually put in the effort to deal with her acne, I forced myself to actually take care of my skin for two whole weeks. And damn if it doesn’t look good.
But last night when I got home from the last day of filming, I washed my face in the shower and couldn’t be bothered to do a single other thing to my skin before crawling into bed.
It’s no longer a priority. Sleep is more valuable.
And honestly, at thirty years old, it’s good for me to just acknowledge this: I could look better, but I’m just not going to, because other things are more important to me. That acknowledgment keeps the comparison and insecurity monsters at bay, because I can recognize that where I differ from others is almost always a choice. I could be thinner, but then I wouldn’t be able to eat ice cream with my friends while we watch terrible movies. I could drive a nicer car, but I wouldn’t be able to afford to do CrossFit, which I love.
The options are out there, and I am choosing what I want. I am so okay with not being a model, and it has nothing to do with feeling insecure. It’s just not me. There is great freedom in just admitting that a certain thing is never going to be true of you. Like having a clean house, or getting that motorcycle. Those things will happen if you choose to value them, but that’s just unrealistic, why don’t you come on over here with me? We might have messy houses and adult acne, but we have ice cream and no regrets.
What are you not choosing to value in life that you can just acknowledge and move on from?