okay, I’ve reconsidered this question, and I have some more thoughts about attractiveness as a person who is Not Attractive and never has been, and will not be, barring an act of god or the sudden discovery of a passion for exercise.
(the former being more likely than he latter)
Because a lot of people (advice columns, mothers, etc.) respond to the question of attractiveness with suggestions about changing your mode of presentation—dress in a way that gives you confidence! they say, That’s what’s really attractive! If you think you look good, you’ll feel better about yourself!
Very few of those people mention how much effort, time, thought, and money has to go into “looking good.” Fewer ask whether you care about wanting to look good, or talk about the fact that such advice just seems to swap out one societal standard for another.
And they especially don’t talk about how “looking good” is not an attainable thing for everyone. Because the truth of the matter is some people are just not attractive by the definition society gives. Yeah, we can talk about how unfair that standard is, how it seems like the be-all-end-all for women, how narrow and white that hole is—look, it’s a fucking stupid standard, but it’s there, and the weight of it is real. And the reality is that short of an invisibility cloak, nothing is going to hide the fact that I am a size 16. I can pack on the concealer and do my eyeliner divinely, but the truth is I have some spectacular acne scarring on my cheeks; long sleeves will hide my stretch marks but I can’t will them out of existence. I can’t “look good” I can only look passable, look like I’m trying. That’s the closest I get.
(in fact, when I dress up nicely, I tend to feel like the whole world becomes insincere—people tell me I look nice in the way that they tell a little girl wearing her mother’s lipstick she looks nice. bless her heart look at the fat girl trying to be a person isn’t she adorable)
So what you do instead, is you choose another standard. You say, I will never be beautiful, but I can be smart and kind and fierce and true, I can do good work, make and mend, I can be a friend and a sister, I can live my life the best way I know how and that is enough that is more than enough. That is a higher, harder, truer, finer calling than being beautiful.
It doesn’t quite drown out all the voices telling you that your worth is determined on a ten-point scale, but it helps.