Dear World (most of all the one I work in),
I am aware of the many flaws that I have as a human being – in fact if I didn’t have flaws that in itself would be my flaw, thus creating a philosophical paradox. Today, and since I started at the new job, I have had several comments about my face, my look and my expression and I would like to set he record straight on a few things.
No I don’t look happy. That’s just the way I am. I’m sorry I don’t conform to this amazingly gleeful world that so many of the naïve people I work around seem to consider the norm. Don’t tell me to “Cheer up!” because you’ll find I do the exact opposite just to be awkward because what you have just said is downright rude. Why is it suddenly all right for people who don’t really know me to start telling me how I should be feeling or the expression I must have on my face – if I were to do that I’d find myself in all kinds of trouble at work. I know I look miserable and depressed, mostly because that’s how I am sometimes. I shouldn’t have to explain my mental health to everyone who crosses my path in life just to explain the look on my face.
I am also patently aware that I look old and tired – I have done since I was a teenager. Again I apologise to anyone offended by the fact that I don’t have that metro-sexual glow about me from hours in front of the mirror each morning preening and cleansing and toning and moisturising with fifty different potions and creams. I’m not going to dye my hair because it looks ridiculous – trust me I’ve tried it and I looked pathetic. Also I’ll shave off my beard or cut my hair when I want to, and not on the say-so of creatures who obviously got dressed in the dark and had their own hair and make up done by Stevie Wonder and Polyfilla respectively.
This is how I look and I’m fine with it. I don’t mind a joke from people who know me as it’s a mutual thing between friends but if you only know me from teaching you once a week please do not presume that it is okay for you to make personal comments about me to my face. Talk about me behind my back all you like, I couldn’t care less what you think of my looks or my weight which has also been mentioned of late. I am more than aware that my waistline is not “average” so reminding me of that will not sort the problem out – perhaps I’ve had bigger and more important things on my mind of late.
I don’t have the face and body of an Adonis, I know my limitations in this field. Instead I have a thing called a “personality” and don’t feel the need to permanently grin inanely at everyone. And you know the worst thing – most of these comments are from girls. The same girls that if I turned round and spoke to them in the same way would run from the class in tears and be making official complaints. We all know that some girls can be bitchy but there appears to be a nasty and loud breed around at the moment. I understand their own insecurities at the ages many are at: just having left school, still in the mind-set that makes them quite tribal and the issues with fitting into society at their age – I empathise with that because I remember how horrible being a teenager was and I don’t envy their position. However that doesn’t excuse them for their over active mouths.
In case anyone hasn’t understood my point, here are the facts:
- I struggle with depression that’s why my face is usually glum
- I’m not miserable but being around such negative people all the time does bring you down
- I have a beard because at this time of the year my skin dries out and even using moisturiser after shaving doesn’t sort it
- I look old because I do – it’s genetic and environmental (I had a tough paper round)
- I’m overweight because I’m depressed and comfort eat which in turn makes me fat and depressed and so the cycle continues.
- I’m going grey – it doesn’t hurt and I’m not dying it.
The difference is that I know all these things and don’t try to hide them or excuse them. Perhaps instead of pulling everyone else around you down, you need to look yourself directly in the eye in the mirror and see what everyone else sees. Once you are comfortable with that then we’ll have a conversation, but until then mind your own business and keep your comments to yourself. You are rude, insulting and crossing a line that appears to be one way.