In today’s world there’s a constant war between aesthetics or outward appearance and inward beauty. Seeing as we’re constantly bombarded by largely unattainable beauty standards and a narrow view of what beauty is, people rebel with ads and messages about “real women,” how we’re all beautiful in some way, and ultimately how we shouldn’t place so much emphasis on our outward beauty or the thought of being attractive.
To some extent, I completely agree with the idea that we shouldn’t focus on outward beauty. However, what I don’t agree with is the thought that it shouldn’t matter at all, that you’re shallow if you think it does, and that attractiveness or the desire to be attractive is shameful in some regard.
We’re also taught that to be desirable or the goal to be so isn’t something we should strive towards even though media tries to counteract that idea with the images it puts out. Perhaps it shouldn’t be our only goal in life, but I don’t think we should frown on it.
When it comes to BFRBs, these things can be felt manifold. We don’t just have the normal worry of keeping our skin clear, our hair/eyebrows/eyelashes perfect, and our nails flawless, we have the worry of those things while fighting grooming disorders that make us overdo our attempts at making sure all those things are kept in check. We feel like we have to hide the damage in order to be seen as attractive or in order to be wanted by someone else sexually. And even then, we still feel like no one will ever see us that way.
There are two things I want to say here.
One: It’s okay to want to feel desirable. It shouldn’t be our only quality, but I don’t think we should exclude it.
Two: My fellow BFRBers, our disorders don’t make us undesirables.
Sure, we’ll probably all come across some narrow-minded individual who can’t see past our scars and wounds, lack of hair, or chewed up nails, but there are plenty of people out there who will.
Not everyone is blinded to who we are because of our disorders and they can still see outward attractiveness regardless. There are people to whom our skin, hair, and nails are just a detail rather than an overarching damnation on how we look. They won’t recoil, they won’t grimace, they won’t make rude remarks or make us feel badly about the way we look.
We can even learn to not see these as personal deficiencies, too. It takes time and work, and it takes mental healing more than anything to get to that point ourselves, but we can get there.
Think of these disorders as pieces of ourselves, not our entire identities. Think of them not as hindrances to our attractiveness and desirability, but just things that happen to be there.