At this rate, I am considering ‘hiring’ a partner who can stand to be around me for the money, then just becoming celibate for the rest of my life. Why can’t disabled girls find love? Sure, I hear people in wheelchairs get married, but reading about it makes the participants seem like ‘amputee or paralyzed person’ fetishists and not normal, caring relationships. I don’t want an amputee fetish date, I want a person who will love me, but in a culture that prides itself on bodily perfection, my only hope may be a risky ‘pay-for-love/sex’ situation that I don’t want…just to get human contact that I desperately crave. Self-gratification doesn’t work at all — I need a second party, but I feel doomed to be alone. Am I doomed at 30 to NEVER have sex because girls and men only dare sleep with ‘perfect’ people? Help! — A Very Lost Soul
Your problem has nothing to do with your missing right hand and everything to do with your crappy attitude. There’s no physical defect that a smile on your face and a openness in your heart can’t help, and if you’re anything in person like you come across in your letter, I’m gonna guess you rarely show either to those around you. You are all wrong — all wrong — if you think only those with perfect bodies end up with love. Are you kidding me?! Then how did I end up with love? Because I definitely don’t have a perfect body. But, I do have a good attitude, I’m warm to people and can be charming (when I want to be), and I do try — even as a bloated 8-months pregnant woman — to put myself together well, take care of myself, and to accentuate my best features. I dress for myself, but I also dress to impress my husband, Drew. Does that mean I dress like a slut? Um, no. Where in the world did you get the idea that dressing to attract or impress men (or women, for that matter) means dressing like a slut?!
You say you have less-than-stellar looks, and while I have no idea if that’s true or not, I do know that you have a less-than-stellar attitude, which is more a detriment when it comes to dating as bad looks are. Fortunately, both can be fixed. Let’s start with your appearance. Your therapist is right that if you aren’t happy with your appearance you can take steps to improve it. You can tone up your figure with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Notice, I did not explicitly say “lose weight” or “drop a few dress sizes,” but toning up what lies beneath the clothing will make you look much better — regardless of your size — when you’re fully dressed (and when you aren’t…). And speaking of clothes, you should enlist the help of a stylish friend or even a helpful sales associate to choose some fashions that flatter you. If your therapist is even making mention of the way you dress, chances are, you could use some help in that arena, and since you seem to think that dressing up only means one thing — looking like a slut — it’s clear you need serious fashion help. I’d also suggest grabbing some magazines, like “Lucky” and dog-earring pages of fashions you admire. Show those pages to a sales associate in a store and ask for help getting a similar look that flatters your own figure.
When was the last time you went to a trendy salon and got a cute haircut or updated your color? If the answer is “never” or longer than, say, six months, make an appointment pronto. Look at reviews on Yelp and find a place that people rave about. Bring in a few photos of cuts and colors you like, or simply ask the stylist for recommendations. While you’re working on grooming, consider having your eyebrows shaped and your nails done. Even if you decide these measures aren’t for you, it doesn’t hurt to at least try them once and see how they make you look and feel. A well-groomed eyebrow, for example, can change the whole look of your face…in minutes (and for a very reasonable price; I used to get my brows threaded once a month for 8 bucks. Then I got a thyroid disease and most of my eyebrows fell out. See, you aren’t the only person with less-than-perfect looks.). Also: makeup. Do you use it? Have you tried it? Do you know what the hell you’re doing? A little mascara can go a long way. Consider going to a makeup counter or Sephora or some place like that and getting a makeover. Yes, you’re expected to buy something afterward, but it probably wouldn’t kill you to drop a few bucks on a lip gloss — even if you only break it out for special occasions. If you don’t like the makeover you get, try a different place. Ask for suggestions and tips on how to apply makeup yourself. If you don’t like makeup at all, that’s fine. It’s not for everyone, but its certainly worth giving a shot and experimenting with if you feel like your appearance could use some enhancement.
Now, you’re attitude. Good God, your attitude needs some adjustment. First of all, you seem to think your missing hand is causing you all your problems, but you know what, I’ve known several people in my adult life who have the same birth defect as you and they have no problem in the romance department. None. At least, not anymore than anyone else. They certainly have no trouble attracting partners. And in the years I knew them, I never once heard them utter any sort of woe-is-me statement. That shit turns people off. It makes you an ugly person. Do you hear me? It is not your lack of a hand that makes you unattractive. It’s your attitude. It’s the way you blame your defect for your lack of love and intimacy. It’s the way you judge everyone else because you think they’re judging you. And they may very well be judging you, but not for the reasons you think. They’re judging you because you sound like a goddamn Debbie Downer. You assume anyone who goes to a bar is a drunk and a drug addict. For real? And that everyone else in the world is so shallow, only people who look like porn stars can get dates. And that people assume it’s OK to openly ridicule those with physical disabilities. And that anyone with a disability who gets married must just be with someone who fetishizes them. Jesus, I don’t know what world you live in, but in my world none of that is true. None of it. But, then again, I like myself just fine and I’m not looking to deflect my self-hatred on other people.
So, what I’m saying here is to fix your attitude, you need to fix the way you see yourself. Maybe that means changing therapists, or maybe it means actually listening with an open-mind to the one you have. Maybe it means managing your bipolar disorder in a way you haven’t tried yet. Are you on meds? Do they need to be adjusted? Do you need to try a different kind? These are things you should discuss with a therapist and a psychiatrist. Have you ever visited a support group for people with bipolar disorder… or one for people with physical disabilities? Perhaps talking with others who struggle with similar problems may help you deal with yours and make you feel less alone in this world.
Finally, you are spending an awful lot of time focusing on yourself and all the ways your life sucks. What do you do for other people? How do you help others who have issues that they’re dealing with? Doing some volunteer work or finding a way you can assist other people will go a long, long way in getting you out of your own head and reminding you that your life isn’t all that bad. Plus, you might even make some friends and meet someone special in the process. The type of people who help others aren’t generally the types who only want to date perfect-looking porn stars and shun everyone else.
In short: continue working on your self — your physical and emotional self. Quit projecting your bad self-esteem on everyone else. Cut people a break. And start doing things to help others. Making some positive changes in your life, your attitude and, yes, your appearance, will do wonders in attracting people to you, regardless of what is or isn’t on the end of your right arm. Seriously.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.
spark September 20, 2011, 7:36 am
I totally agree, Wendy! By the time I finished the letter, I’d actually forgotten that LW has a birth defect and might not have a pretty face… All I could picture was a miserable woman who was so negative about everything. I thought that was the turn-off that she was writing about. Then I remembered that there is supposedly another problem.
LW, I’m not so sure it’s the missing hand that potential suitors are seeing when they walk away from you!
Roxy84 September 21, 2011, 8:46 am
I have a friend who is missing a hand. She is also barely over 5 feet tall, not a size zero, and can be a little on the quiet side. However, she takes care of herself, dresses well, and is a lovely person with plenty of good friends. She’s also getting married this year to a great guy.
It’s not the hand.
honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 7:52 am
Completely, 110% agree with Wendy on this one. Everyone has obstacles in life. Some people may have a birth defect or mental illness, some people may have major health problems that get in the way of functioning, some people may have… well, anything. Any possible problem or obstacle and you know what? Generally, all of these obstacles can be overcome. Sometimes it takes hard work and creativity, but it can be done.
Dressing to attract men (or women) absolutely does not have to be dressing like a slut. Actually, according to the letter your therapist said to dress in a way that would attract the men you want – do you want a man that would treat you like a slut? If not, then don’t dress that way. Find a style that works for you, flatters your body type, and makes you feel good about you. Take all of the advice Wendy gave you on style, makeup, hair, etc (hell, I might have to take some of it too) and run with it.
Ultimately, in the way I read this letter I think Wendy hit the nail on the head with her response – the problem isn’t the other people. It is how you project yourself and make horrible assumptions about EVERYONE. So every single person with a birth defect or amputation or in a wheelchair or anything like that only gets married because they happen to find a person with a particular fetish? I better let some of my friends know that because apparently their marriages are based on lies. One of my very good friends was born without any arms at all. Nothing below the shoulders. She is one of the most beautiful, outgoing, caring people I’ve ever met and she has a loving partner and two awesome children. The difference between you and her? She has a great attitude. Instead of hating herself for the way she was born, she embraces it and learned to adapt. And I know you can too, if you just change your attitude, get out there and do something about your “looks” – change your style, your hair, exercise some (you don’t even necessarily need to lose weight, but exercise will make you FEEL better too), do volunteer work, join a club.
Christy September 20, 2011, 8:04 am
Reading this letter, literally the only attractive thing about the LW is that she could spell heifer correctly. I’m always surprised that it’s not spelled heffer, personally.
Does anyone remember Eden’s Crush from circa 2000? They had the song Get Over Yourself (http://youtu.be/QKm8L5F-Va0) and it seems to apply to the LW so perfectly. The lyrics go like this “Get over yourself, goodbye. It must be hard to be you, yeah, living in your life.” (Clearly it’s a terrible song, but 12-year-old me loved it.) I just want to tell the LW to get over herself.
And in response to Wendy’s response, Yeeeeeeeeah Grrrrl! 1000% behind you on this one.
Christy September 20, 2011, 8:18 am
Also, have you *met* a lesbian or bisexual woman? Because they’re definitely not just interested in perfect bodies. Seriously. Just look at lesbian pr0n–not even the women in that are perfect. (I’m talking about “dyke pr0n” where it’s made by lesbians for lesbians.)
mcminnem September 20, 2011, 11:25 am
Teehee, pr0n. For some reason that made me think of this:
NakedDumblydore September 21, 2011, 3:58 pm
Weird! I thought of that comic too! LW could totally use a round with Sister Sweden. 😉
sweetleaf September 20, 2011, 8:08 am
Yep, while I was reading the letter I was just thinking, “wow, what a crappy ‘tude!” She definitely needs an attitude adjustment asap!
Lindsay September 20, 2011, 8:12 am
Wendy hit the nail on the head. Men and women want a partner who has confidence more than anything. Looks are important, but mostly in the realm of making an effort and looking like you care. You’ve got to realize that a sweeping generalization like that everyone wants a perfect person is untrue. Just look around and see the different sorts of people who have found love. And if you run around insulting the entire rest of the population by calling everyone superficial like this, you are going to have a hard time finding a date. No one is going to know what kind of a person you are underneath your negativity is you don’t show them.
Slamy September 20, 2011, 11:20 am
Looks are important, but I want to add that if you are a good person and beautiful on the inside, that always shines through to the outside. A good attitude does wonders for yourself, and for the way people perceive you.
Callifax September 20, 2011, 8:16 am
I took some offense to the idea that people who date those with birth defects or who are disabled are only with them because they have a fetish. I’ve known plenty of people with defects who are with caring, supportive people who love them for who they are. You need to work on making yourself someone that people will want to be around and be attracted to – that means working on confidence, having a positive attitude, maintaining interesting hobbies and putting effort into your health and appearance. Follow Wendy’s advice and it will go a long way. I’m sure of it.
SGMcG September 20, 2011, 8:31 am
You say that you’re being stereotyped because of a culture that craves bodily perfection, yet you write nothing but a letter of a self-endorsement those stereotypes you feel you have to endure as the reason why you are forever alone. Good lord woman! Can you curb your negativity please? ANYONE, male or female, would be turned off reading that letter – you’re not down for ANYTHING! Granted, there are some items in your letter that are legitimate concerns and it’s reasonable to ask for a partner who is capable of BEING a partner in the first place. Yet how would you know anything about a person, if you’re cutting people off from getting to know if you believe that said person thinks you must be a whore, you got to be a druggie with me, you’re going to be fetishized or any of the other long list of obstacles that you state prevent you from finding a partner? Nobody’s perfect LW, but it’s truly all how you work your attitude with your imperfections.
Sara September 20, 2011, 8:32 am
Practical advice. If you think dressing better means dressing like a slut, I highly recommend checking out the show What Not to Wear. They’ve worked with a fair number of larger women (women much larger than your size), and it’s amazing the kind of transformation a good haircut, a little makeup, a belted shirt, and heels make. Do the women look skinny afterward? No, but they look fantastic. I’m the same size as you (size 12) and I’ve noticed just wearing heels as opposed to flats make a huge difference in how people approach me.
I’d definitely recommend just making friends. I only know a handful of relationships that started at bars – most start by getting to know each other socially, whether at school or work or a volunteer activity. Talk to other people. Be friendly. Don’t judge them. I’d also examine what you’re looking for in a mate and make sure you’re not screening out people who aren’t ideal body types.
Last and sorry to get explicit, but if you’re having trouble with self-gratification, invest in a vibrator. Self-gratification shouldn’t be one of your issues.
Greebo September 20, 2011, 12:54 pm
The “dress like a slut to attract men” part really shocked me. Most of the best-dressed, most put together and classiest looking women I know don’t show tons of leg or cleavage, but they do a great job of finding clothes in flattering colors and styles. Their clothes aren’t necessarily the “latest” style, but their wardrobes have a lot of “timeless” styles that can be easily updated or accessorized. Of course, I work in an office, and different industries have different dress codes.
Also, I hate bars and parties. I like people, but prefer to be around a handful at a time. Those people who easily smile and chat with anyone? Not me. I’ve tried to learn the skill, but I hate it. So if LW doesn’t like bars, so be it. How about coffee shops? Enrichment or community classes? Volunteering? Those are places I make friends relatively easily, because I don’t feel pressured or crowded.
Christy September 21, 2011, 6:29 pm
I also dislike bars and parties. Something I’ve found is that doing activities like volunteering or a sport make it easier to meet people because the major part of the time is spent “working”, not chit chatting. It’s not easy for me to make small talk, so when I’m involved with others on an activity then there’s always a topic of conversation (e.g. how long have you been interested in this?) and it’s not as awkward when there’s a silence. Plus you’ll meet people who share at least one interest!
Lexie.b September 20, 2011, 8:41 am
Well with an attitude like that, no shit no one wants to sleep with you.
EB September 20, 2011, 9:42 am
Yeah statements like this don’t really help her case either:
“Sure, I hear people in wheelchairs get married, but reading about it makes the participants seem like ‘amputee or paralyzed person’ fetishists and not normal, caring relationships”
Personally, I would not date a person who believes the only reason I am interested in him is because I have a creepy and uncontrollable fetish for his disability. “Uhh… Glad to know being attracted to you makes me abnormal and weird, my bad” Way to shame people out of liking you!
GatorGirl September 20, 2011, 8:45 am
whew that was ssome tough love Wendy! But I think you’re spot on.
LW- No one can love you if you don’t love yourself.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 8:56 am
This LW doesn’t even LIKE herself, much less love, as sad as that is. But you’re right – you have to like yourself and love yourself in order to show anyone ELSE that they should bestow those things upon you.
GatorGirl September 20, 2011, 9:58 am
Also- If you feel beautiful, others will see more beauty in you.
You have to make yourself happy and whole before trying to share it with another person.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 8:58 am
LW…after reading your letter I am concerned about the standards you may place on potential suitors. You are awfully judgemental of others – let your guard down a little bit and let people show you who they are before you write them off. This kind of goes hand in hand with your ‘tude adjustment needs…
And definitely listen to your therapist…if she was bold enough to tell you to work on your style then I am envisioning kittens playing with a ball of yarn on an over-sized pastel colored t-shirt. You don’t have to dress slutty to look stylish…and stylish is a fairly all-encompassing term. Do some research…find some looks you like and then try them out…stick with what works for your body type and go from there. I know it seems silly, but it is a way to express the inner you through your outer appearance.
lets_be_honest September 20, 2011, 11:44 am
If there was PMs, I would send you a picture of me in my kitten playing wiht a ball of yarn shirt and my two thumbs down. Can you picture it? Little pouty face and all?
bagge72 September 20, 2011, 12:46 pm
So you are the letter writer! ‘amiright’
lets_be_honest September 20, 2011, 2:08 pm
hehe. i’m loving the ‘amiright?’
Christy September 21, 2011, 6:35 pm
I agree! Even though I hate the idea that we have to dress to satisfy societal norms, the truth is that other people expect a certain level of care and interest in dressing appropriately, especially when we’re looking for romantic partners. But no, you don’t have to watch What Not to Wear or read fashion magazines to get the latest trends. I would say just go to a relatively nice area of town (not Walmart) and take note of what people your age are wearing. Baggy jeans and kitten t-shirts? Probably not. I’m sure you’ll be able to find people wearing things that aren’t slutty and that you actually like, *and* you’ll be able to see a range that you won’t necessarily see in fashion magazines.
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 7:02 pm
Though to be fair, TNTW is not really about trends. Its about learning what looks good on you and what makes you feel good. Yes, they jokingly refer to things as outdated, but they are never like: pointed shoes, what do you think this is, 2009??
They focus on showing how the subjects use clothes to (for the most part) (a) make themselves invisible because they don’t think they are worth being seen, (b) look like slobs because they don’t feel they are worthy of spending time, care and money on themselves; or (c) dress crazily because they are scared no one will notice them any other way. The whole show is to help the subject realize how she actually amplifies her insecurities though her use of outward appearance and combats the negative feedback loops. The purses and shoes and belts and such are, quite literally, just accessories.
Bethany September 20, 2011, 9:09 am
Preach it, Wendy! I 100% agree with everything you said, and I think the LW really needed someone to finally step up to the plate and say it to her. I just hope she listens!
TECH September 20, 2011, 9:18 am
Letter Writer, read Wendy’s response over and over and over again.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 8:27 am
AWESOME response, Wendy!
LW – I can tell you right now that in both serious relationships I’ve been in, BOTH of my boyfriends wouldn’t have cared that I had a birth defect. They loved me for much more than my appearance – they loved my personality, my quirks, my passions, my compassion, my drive. They enjoyed my body, too, but I can tell you that’s NOT what kept them around for years.
I can’t tell you how many people who are just what you THINK you are – perhaps a bit plain, curvy, physically “defected” – end up blissfully happy with a lifelong partner. In every case, I can emphatically tell you that it was because of the way they treated themselves. They treated themselves with RESPECT. They were confident about what they were – physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. – and other people took notice.
You teach others how to treat you. Right now, you’re teaching the world that you’re a plain, bitter, “defective” person who wants to hole up and grumble at everyone that passes by. If that’s what you’re teaching people, then it’s no wonder you’re where you are now! What do you think might happen if you changed what you projected? If you projected confidence, respect, a positive attitude, kindness, and “owning” what makes you “you” – including your birth defect? You’d start teaching people to treat you that way, and you’d attract some good men who are drawn to those qualities.
And I think you have a VERY negative attitude toward what you probably call “material” pursuits – hair, clothes, makeup, etc. To this, I say – start watching TLC’s “What Not To Wear.” Every single one of the people on that show start off kind of like you – dejected, downtrodden, bitter, convinced they aren’t attractive – and they ALL end up so confident, happy, empowered, and ready to take on the world. You know why? Because they finally LOOK like they respect themselves, like they’re confident, like they deserve positive attention. And because they LOOK that way, they start to feel that way, and because they FEEL that way, they light up. It’s a very positive self-fulfilling cycle. NONE of that is achieved with a slutty wardrobe or appearance, mind you. All of that is done with classy outfits, trendy hair, and natural makeup. Start taking notes, because you could benefit WORLDS from learning how to make your outward appearance reflect an inner confidence and respect.
Sara September 20, 2011, 8:49 am
Ha, my comment is waiting moderation, but I said the exact same thing re:What Not to Wear.
lk September 20, 2011, 11:08 am
YES. That show is so good. It *actually* changed my life. Don’t judge : )
*Clears throat* What I Learned From What Not To Wear, by Me:
– Everyone has issues & insecurities
– Everyone is perfect just the way they are
– It is important to dress/groom yourself in a way that expresses your individuality
– When you look like your best version of yourself, it is easy to be confident
– Confidence & self-love gives you the strength to love others
– Projecting love for the world attracts love back to you
LW, I play a game when I feel down: I go to a coffee shop & people watch. I pretend I am in love with every person I see & focus on falling in love with their little quirks. You quickly find that the things that are “defects” are the things that actually make people amazing. It’s awesome that you get around/do everything with only one hand! You should be proud of it! GO FORTH & LOVE ALL : )
Painted_lady September 20, 2011, 11:10 am
What a cool game. I’m playing that this weekend!
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 11:11 am
Another Thing I learned from WNTW: never let the British guy cut your hair if you’re already pretty. He ruins all the pretty girls’ hair, and makes all the not-obviously-pretty women pretty. It’s weird inverted magic!
Also, carmandie is amazing. I want her to give me a makeover. I wish they told you exactly what products she uses, with video on how to do it. (also, does anyone know if she sits down with the Subject and teaches her? they always turn her away from the mirror, how can she learn??)
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 11:14 am
OMG I LOVE CARMINDY! I try to copy what she does to people, but I can never get it quite right. And yes, I’m pretty sure they give them an instructional guide after they leave to help them perfect the art of putting on makeup. And Ted is way better than the British dude. I love his jazzy bright pink shirts and his propensity to say “mix up the magic.”
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 11:16 am
P.S. Does anyone think Carmindy looks like a younger version of Kim Cattrall? The resemblance is uncanny, IMO.
kerrycontrary September 20, 2011, 12:24 pm
totally agree on the Kim Cattrall thing
Lydia September 20, 2011, 1:28 pm
Funny, I actually don’t think much of Carmindy’s style – I feel like she always uses the same style and puts a lot of make-up on everyone, regardless of whether these people usually wear make-up or not. If you never wear any make-up, a little mascara and lipstick can go a long way in making you feel extra jazzy, while caking your face with powder and the whole shebang just feels awkward.
mcminnem September 20, 2011, 11:28 am
That sounds like the best game. And I already love to people-watch, so… 🙂
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 8:39 am
And one more thing – if you don’t want to meet men at a bar, DON’T MEET MEN AT BARS!!! Here’s a hint – start doing the things YOU enjoy, and you’ll be far more likely to meet a man who you have some things in common with, who has shared interests and life goals and values, which is key in a lifelong partner. Investigate fun classes you could take, or join a club that you think sounds fun. Hell, I bet there are even groups for people with birth defects, where they can support each other and have a little fun! You do NOT need to be fishing at bars for men if you don’t want to be.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 9:12 am
Oh, and I seem to have missed the part about the LW being more attracted to women, which is why I keep exclusively saying “men.” But the same holds true for whatever sex you’re attracted to!
L September 20, 2011, 4:52 pm
YES. What Not to Wear SERIOUSLY changed my life. I thought being clothes savvy and hair savvy and makeup savvy meant that I would be materialistic, so I fought it for waaaay too long. Then I watched What Not to Wear and realized that I could indeed look good while still remaining true to me. Now I dress for my body type and actually own makeup and can actually (kind of) do my hair. And I buy clothes that fit well and look good. Loooove that show.
Rei September 20, 2011, 9:27 am
Honestly, this LW sounds not only bitter and grumpy, but kind of entitled. It’s like she expects people to date her without giving them a reason to do so. And I’m not talking about the weight or the face or the handlessness. I’m talking about how she presents herself and how she acts towards others. And then when someone dares to make a suggestion to help her out, she gets angry. I severely doubt the therapist told her to dress slutty. She probably just advised the LW to dress more nicely. (And by the way, even a nice fitted t-shirt, not a giant free one with some cartoon dog on it, and good jeans can look great.)
Now, here’s for my speculation: I don’t think the LW would date anyone who looked like herself. It seems often that people who complain about everyone else being too shallow are the most shallow of all. In my short experience, these are the type of people who go after the Italian soccer players/models who moonlight as concert cellists, and who are training to cook under Morimoto. And then when they get rejected by said person, they act all angry like it’s a personal insult against them. But if a nice, normal shleb asks them out, they wouldn’t even think about taking up that offer.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 9:49 am
Nice over-sized cartoon animal print t-shirt reference.
Ktfran September 20, 2011, 12:03 pm
Love the t-shirt reference.
A few years ago, my little sis was visiting me. She’s tall with an average weight. I would say size 12 or 14. Anyway, she was wearing jeans, a t-shirt tucked into jeans and a belt. Thankfully, there wasn’t a cartoon on the t-shirt, but still. Not a flattering way to dress. I wanted to yell “You have curves, show them off!” However, at that time, she wasn’t super secure with her body image so over the years I have treaded lightly and talked up what looks great on her. She’s coming around.
LW – find someone who will help you with this. Dressing for your body type is so important and that does not mean you have to dress like a slut.
honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 2:08 pm
What is with t-shirts tucked into jeans? My stepson (11) wears jeans hiked all the way up to his chest or as high as he can get them and then tucks any shirt in that he’s wearing – dress shirts, t-shirts, sleeveless shirts, etc. Then he pulls his socks all the way up to his knees. He reminds me of Urkel, but I love him anyway 🙂
mf September 20, 2011, 11:55 am
“It’s like she expects people to date her without giving them a reason to do so. ”
If you want people to love you, you need to make an effort to be lovable. We ALL have to give our potential suitors reasons to date us. Sometimes that means making a little more effort to look nice; sometimes it means learning to be an interesting conversationalist; sometimes it means having a good attitude and sense of humor about things.
honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 2:06 pm
“It seems often that people who complain about everyone else being too shallow are the most shallow of all.”
Melanie September 20, 2011, 9:29 am
Negativity attracts negativity.
Kerrycontrary September 20, 2011, 9:30 am
oi vey…yeh this letter was frustrating to read. It’s funny how the titles of DW letters can be deceiving. At first I read the title and I was like “omg, this poor person” and then I read it and Wendy is 100 percent right. LW, I feel like you have this really skewed view of dating that you picked up from tv or movies or something…because not everyone at a bar is a drunk/drug addict (I’m certainly not), dressing nicely is not dressing slutty, and men/women are not looking for someone with a perfect body. You know what men are looking for? A woman who is nice, interesting, easy to be around, and yes in some way physically attractive. And physically attractive is dependent upon the person but usually it means that you at least look clean and like you tried. Some people don’t even care about that part though! If people were looking for someone with a naturally perfect appearance, 98 percent of us would be single and celibate.
cookiesandcream September 20, 2011, 9:32 am
LW, I found your letter really offensive.
First of all, I bet that you’re under the assumption that everyone is superficial and only looking for people with “perfect bodies” because you’re superficial and looking for “perfection.” Well, LW, wake up and smell reality because NO ONE has a perfect body–not even supermodels (why do you think Photoshop exists in the first place). Then you go onto say that people who date people that are disabled must have some sort of a weird fetish. What the hell makes you think that? You must be seriously reading into things if after reading a romantic story about two people falling in love, and one of them happens to be in a wheelchair, and all you get from that story is that one of them has a fetish. Either that or you’re reading the wrong stories.
Second, you moan and complain about being stereotyped because it’s okay to ridicule someone based on their physical appearance. I’m not going to argue with you there because that’s facing stereotypes is a fact of life, but it’s something EVERYONE has to go through regardless of their looks. Everyone has to deal with being stereotyped based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, class, and so much more, and you will always find people who think that’s okay. On the flip side, you’ll always find more enlightened people who don’t believe in stereotypes and figure out who you are before judging you.
Third, you don’t want to hang out in bars because they’re full of people with drug addictions?!?! Oh come on, what the hell is making you think that everyone in a bar is automatically an addict? My friends and I love going out to bars and drinking, and guess what! None of us is addicted to anything!
Seriously, the only reason why you haven’t gotten a date yet is because you insist on judging people before you get to know them and assuming that people who are interested in you must have some sort of a weird fetish. If you continue down this miserable path, then, yes, you are doomed to remain alone.
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 11:24 am
That’s pretty harsh. I don’t have a major physical defect, but I know that sometimes I get weird when encountering people who do. I don’t mean to; I don’t want to; but I don’t know how to act. Do I act like I didn’t see it? Is it ok if i acknowledge seeing it? If I have a protracted interaction, am I ever allowed to look at it? If i was having a conversation with someone who has two hands and they were gesticulating, I would glance at their hands. But I wonder, do I have to maintain full eye contact so I don’t acknowledge that they do not have a hand? or an eye? etc.
LW has to deal with awkward people like me every day and I’m sure it gets annoying, especially because different disabled people want different things (unsurprisingly). Perhaps LW doesn’t care if you look at her arm. Perhaps LW sees you look at her arm and can’t help but think that you are acting weird around her because you are! Its not crazy that she would feel that the first thing she gets noticed for is her arm, because it probably is. And she’s right, some men (or women) would be put off by it. So she feels discouraged because of that truth.
And she’s also right that a bar is probably not the right place to meet someone, for her. Not because all the prospects are clearly drug addicts or impaired, but because (ON THE AVERAGE) people looking to score in a bar (not meet people, score) do so based on mostly physical attributes. They’re the most obvious ones in the bar and they will probably not be interested in LW. It can be discouraging to get all dolled up, go out looking for love, and to never ever get hit on. Doesn’t make you want to keep doing it and it might make bitter towards the ones who seem to succeed (hence the “slutty” references).
Eeven though there are probably many people who would be interested in her, they aren’t the kind of people that walk up and buy you a drink in a bar.
I think the best next step for LW is INTERNET DATING. There are tons of sites and there are tons of people. Maybe do a particularized site, like for your religion or a hobby. Clearly, you should probably shy away from disabled sites, as you are already pre-disposed to think that a potential suitor is a fetishist, maybe stay away from those sites. But you would probably be able to gain a lot from the interactions that come before meeting possible suitors. Be upfront about your disability, and you won’t be disappointed.
cookiesandcream September 20, 2011, 2:40 pm
I know that it can be awkward dealing with someone with a physical defect, but in all honesty the LW acts like that’s the only reason why she can’t get a date. In my experience with dealing with people with physical defects or handicaps, I just take their lead. For example, I had a friend in a wheelchair who was very open about talking about how she got into a wheelchair and didn’t mind if people asked questions about it. That way I knew that I could ask whatever I wanted without feeling awkward. Then I had another friend who had a noticeable facial deformity, but he never brought it up in conversation or made any references to it. That way I knew not to talk about it to his face or behind his back. I was able to maintain relationships with both these friends because we had compatible personalities and we were interested in the same things. Plus, they were both able to get dates (one had pretty wild hookup stories and the other had a long term girlfriend), so they didn’t allow their physical features to define them. They also didn’t use their looks to build walls between them and others; instead they allowed people into their lives. That’s one main reason why I was offended; she just assumed that everyone was going to look at her and define her by her defect when, in reality, she’s defining herself by it.
Also, I wasn’t offended by the fact that she doesn’t feel comfortable meeting someone in a bar; it was her attitude towards it that offended me. If she had said something like, “I’m not comfortable meeting someone in a bar because it’s hard for me to have meaningful conversations there, but I feel like it’s the only way to meet men” then I wouldn’t have had a problem with that. Instead, she said that “hanging out in bars attracts drunks . . . I don’t want a drug-addicted partner.” She’s assuming that everyone in bars are drunks and addicted to drugs which isn’t the case. There are all kinds of people at bars, but the LW just dismisses them all like they’re beneath her. I absolutely agree with you that a bar isn’t the best place for everyone to meet someone, but it doesn’t give you the right to judge everyone who chooses to go to a bar.
I think the biggest issue is that the LW has this attitude where she thinks that everyone else has the problem and she’s the victim here. Personally, I think that the LW needs to lose the victim mentality along with that 100 pound chip on her shoulder.
mcminnem September 20, 2011, 5:05 pm
I’m actually ona break from work and it made me think of a story.
There’s a man who comes in to the grocery store where I work once a week. It’s a very small, family-run store so we are able to provide very personal customer service, and that’s why he comes in. He’s almost fully blind, so walking around a grocery store and finding things on his own would be very hard. When he comes in, one of us will take him around the store and help him find everything, read labels for him, tell him what’s on sale, etc.
Well, last week it was my turn. So he comes in and I give him my arm so he can follow me, and we walk around the store for about half an hour doing his groceries. His blindness is visible – one eye is very damaged with cataracts, and his eyes don’t track together. This gives him a bit of a weird look, since he can still see well enough to look at you when you talk to him. So I imagine he may not be approached all that much.
However, he is such a sweet, quiet guy – he chats with us whenever he comes in and he is so honest and intelligent that he’s really nice to speak with. When I helped him, he came in wearing a suit, looking very put together, and we chatted the whole time. And to be honest, if I weren’t in a committed relationship, I probably would have been flirting with him. (okay, so I’m just a sucker for suits…and his nice German accent.) His disability has nothing to do with it – attitude is everything.
katie September 20, 2011, 9:10 pm
that is so sweet- it made me think of a website I found last week. its call No-Face Chase and its about this cat who got into a terrible accident when she was a kitten and literally has no face. no nose- she has the skeleton/voldemort thing goin on with two slits. she has no eyelids, so she needs special medication to keep her eyes wet. and then she has no upper jaw, so she just has two little fangs coming up from her lower jaw. she is seriously hard to look at- it looks like something that would be so painful, and it is quite creepy- BUT her owner says that she is a lovely cat, and she plays and purrs and eats and snuggles just like any other cat does. this kitties looks dont play into her life- she just lives it. maybe the LW could take notice.
MJ September 20, 2011, 9:34 am
Honey, if you can’t gratify yourself, I’m not sure what good you think a partner is going to do. Sex isn’t a magic orgasm machine; you’re much more likely to get yourself off before a partner can do it for you.
Obviously there are lots of other benefits to sex, but if it’s an orgasm you want, start with yourself.
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 3:29 pm
And they actually sell magic orgasm machines. I believe they are called hibachi (sic).
HelloJello September 20, 2011, 9:41 am
You attract the energy you put out into the world. If you are so down on yourself, how could you possibly expect others to think positively of you? It’s a hard lesson for some people to learn, but it’s so true; You can’t be loved by another until you love yourself.
JV September 20, 2011, 9:48 am
Wendy hit it spot on. Enough said.
MsBorgia September 20, 2011, 9:50 am
I have a friend who is missing half of his fingers and is kind of goofy looking— but he has an incredibly warm, welcoming, funny personality and just draws people to him. Plus he has a girlfriend— a super hot one at that!!
Sarah September 20, 2011, 11:21 am
I work with guy who also has a fairly significant hand/wrist deformity on both hands. Funny thing is, I didn’t even notice for a long time after meeting him because his personality is so winning. It’s never come up at all: he’s never mentioned it, none of our co-workers have mentioned it, and I’ve never seen it come in the way of him living his life. He lives with his girlfriend, has a solid job, stays busy with friends and hobbies, and seems to live a very full life. And I know people with much more challenging disabilities who enjoy the same. LW, it’s not your hand that is stopping you. It’s your heart and mind.
Also, many readers here are assuming that you’re exaggerating what your therapist has told you. But if perchance your therapist did indeed use the exact words “dress like a slut because nothing else will help you,” then find a new therapist. You might need some tough love, but you don’t need someone who thinks you’re a hopeless case.
Sara September 20, 2011, 9:58 am
I used to have the BIGGEST crush on a dude with one leg. He seriously looked like James McAvoy on crutches. I worked in an upscale men’s clothing store, and he would come in a lot. I’m still a little peeved at myself for never asking him out!
mcminnem September 20, 2011, 11:41 am
That sounds like the most amazing plot for something starring Anne Hathaway. It would be all “it’s been years and this is crazy but I must find this man again!”
And she would do all sorts of crazy things and her friends would be all “are you nuts?!” and then she would find him and he’d be all “I never thought anyone wanted me” and somehow they would end up in Paris and it would be so pretty.
…Feel like writing a screenplay?
trix September 22, 2011, 1:26 pm
I would totally watch that movie.
Calliopedork September 20, 2011, 1:53 pm
In high.school I was obsessed with a.boy with one arm, he had fashioned a makeshift.prosthetic with.a.guitar pick attached and would play in the halls. We all called him dan the sexy one armed man.
bittergaymark September 22, 2011, 1:36 pm
Frankly, it’s rather telling that so many of you were “obsessed” with all these physically challenged people but somehow never even bothered to ask any of them out. I dunno. It’s all just rather convenient…
Sara September 22, 2011, 4:02 pm
I think it had more to do with the fact that I’m quite shy and have never had the balls to ask any guy out. Also, not the greatest idea to ask out a client, IMHO.
Dave Yognaught September 20, 2011, 10:03 am
LW … everyone is coming down hard on you for your attitude. While I mostly agree with Wendy and many of the commenters in thinking this is some tough talk you need to hear, I just want to say that it’s coming from a good place. I think we all want to see you grow and flourish, and become a beautiful person inside and out. As a human being I always want to see a person rise above their problems … whether it’s a birth defect, mommy and daddy issues, weight problems, etc. etc. All this tough talk IS NOT because we hate you. It’s because we love you. We want to see you rise above.
Eljay September 20, 2011, 11:05 am
Beautiful. Thank you for this Dave. We sometimes get so caught up in the emotion of our responses that I fear the LW’s may lose sight that the advice comes from a good place. This needed to be said, especially to this LW.
plasticepoxy September 20, 2011, 12:50 pm
I wish I could thumb this up more than once. I agree with Eljay, it’s good that this was said.
Lydia September 20, 2011, 1:32 pm
Thank you for that, the LW really needs to see that.
Caris September 20, 2011, 9:02 pm
You are Dave! Yognaught! And you have the balls?
leilani September 20, 2011, 10:09 am
I’m sure you’re aware that only a very small segment of the population is “porn star perfect”. Look around you, and you’ll see that very few people have perfect bodies. Do you think its only that tiny percentage that get laid, or have relationships? And everyone else just lives in celibacy? Unless you’re completely delusional, I would guess that you would agree that this is not the case. So you have answered your own question: no, you aren’t doomed to be alone forever because you don’t have a perfect body. If you have found yourself alone up to this point, there MUST be other issues. I think Wendy did a great idea of suggesting what some of those issues may be. When we are rejected by others, I think its extremely easy to pin it on things that we are already insecure about. In your case, you need to stop focusing on the things you can’t change, like your birth defect, and instead focus on the things you can, like your attitude, the way you present yourself, how fit you are, how you meet people, etc. Those things are way more crucial to finding love that having two hands, and they are completely in your control. Love isn’t out of your reach, but you gotta work for it, just like the extreme majority of us do.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 10:15 am
To your point – past rejections may not have any reflection on the LW. I have been in situations where I thought “I” was being turned down…only to find out a few months later that they had a boy friend they didn’t want to tell me about because they wanted to keep me waiting in the wings…
The point is that rejection isn’t necessarily a personal insult.
leilani September 20, 2011, 10:24 am
Oh, for sure. I just think when we’re turned down, we naturally assume its because of the things that we personally don’t like about ourselves, instead of looking at the situation objectively and realizing it might be completely unrelated to that. There’s a good chance it might have nothing to do with you at all, but if you’re 30 and you’ve been unable to find anyone for even a passing fling, I think you need to start reexamining your attitude and the vibes you’re sending out.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 10:30 am
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 10:46 am
Also, let me just point out – “porn star perfect” is an oxymoron. Porn stars are kind of GROSSLY unlike normal people. Guys and gals may enjoy porn for a little self-love, but how many guys or girls do you know would actually want to DATE a porn star, or someone who looked like a porn star? Ginormous boobs, bleach-blonde hair, botox, collagen injections, and sleazy clothes & makeup are NOT what the normal person finds attractive. I’d hazard a guess that most people enjoy NATURALLY attractive people. And most people can achieve a very natural look with a little effort – classy clothes, natural-looking makeup, and a great haircut/color can all look very natural.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 10:47 am
This is more for the LW, Leilani. I just was going off of you pointing out the “porn star perfect” line!
fast eddie September 20, 2011, 9:29 am
Three things that will turn me or anyone off are attitude, attitude and attitude. Most of us have imperfections, myself included. Some are visible, in your case the hand thing, some not so obvious. The old saying that you can’t find love until you love yourself is a simple truth. Fashion and cosmetics may help you to have confidence in yourself thus lending a positive attitude. In my dating years I was more attracted to women that used little if any makeup and dressed casually. Exercise and a healthy diet will do far more then tone mussel. It’s empowering yourself with a physical means of doing something positive with your life for yourself alone. When your feeling down, go for a walk or jog. It stimulates the hormones in the brain that are a very good thing. The gym is a great place to meet men with a positive attitude about life, unlike bars.
Kerrycontrary September 20, 2011, 9:32 am
It’s so true that exercise is good for your heart and soul. Right now I’m unemployed so I’m using the time in the mornings to run and it’s helping a lot with my stress level. Great advice!
Kate September 20, 2011, 10:45 am
I think the tone in many of the responses, including Wendy’s, may be unnecessarily harsh. I don’t know how bipolar disorder affects the mind, but I’ve been depressed before and I don’t know if it would have been helpful to have someone tell me how bad my attitude sucks.
That said, I 100% agree that it’s a ridiculous notion that only people with perfect bodies can find love, or that you must dress “slutty” to attract a date. I would say, for now, the LW should concentrate on exercise (try a few sessions with a personal trainer to show you what to do and motivate you!), a healthy, portion-controlled diet, and making an effort to get out and do activities you enjoy. And managing your mental illness with meds, if necessary. Oh, and getting enough sleep.
That should help the LW get more even-keel, at which point she can start working on physical appearance in all the ways suggested. You just can’t walk around badly groomed, poorly dressed, and with a hostile look on your face, and expect people to want to spend time with you. You must do these things that Wendy suggested.
But seriously, people, I think it’s a bit over the top to be so harsh with someone who has mental and physical disabilities, unless you’ve been there yourself.
MsMisery September 20, 2011, 11:21 am
I thought so, too. And I think the LW might benefit from a new therapist. If hers is only telling her to “lose weight and dress to attract the men you want” when they discuss body issues and dating, that’s not very helpful. Sure it’s a start, but it’s also straight out of Seventeen Magazine, and not even that easy for people NOT seeing a therapist. It doesn’t sound, from the letter, like her professional is very in tune with her.
mcminnem September 20, 2011, 11:53 am
I thought that too – I thought that was a weird way for a therapist to say something, even if it is exactly what needs to be said. Especially to someone who already has self-esteem issues with their appearance.
And then I thought it might be that the LW is so down on herself in that department that even if her therapist is being far more sensitive and constructive than that, that’s all the LW is able to hear.
All I know is that on the days when I feel particularly out of shape and jiggly (and I’m actually fairly fit!) all it takes is for someone to say “I don’t think those pants fit you quite right” and all I can hear is “looks like your ass is too big.”
Budjer September 20, 2011, 1:10 pm
I think the LW was paraphrasing…
WatersEdge September 20, 2011, 8:21 pm
I think it’s funny that you both think that the therapist should not have said anything about her appearance. I mean, we pay therapists to tell us the hard things that we need to hear about ourselves in order to understand why we’re not getting what we want out of life. We do NOT pay therapists to parrot back to us the dysfunctional way we see the world in order to boost our egos. What is the therapist supposed to do, tell her that the world is terrible and superficial and she should absolutely be able to get a date without putting any effort into the process?
mcminnem September 20, 2011, 8:51 pm
Not exactly – it’s just that I would expect something more constructive and detailed, that addresses why the LW *has* her body issues, rather than “lose weight and dress better” which is very cliched, magazine-headline sort of advice. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the therapist *is* being more sensitive than that, and the LW is just paraphrasing. In fact, I hope so…
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 10:51 am
I have to say, I understand where the LW is coming from. Without the anger and hostility, I often feel like that. I’ve gained some weight recently, and am now up to my worst weight ever, 40 lbs up from college, when i felt good. And Sometimes I’ll catch a view of my arms in the mirror, or my squishy legs, and I’ll make myself a little nausiated.
I sometimes feel that I no one should love me when i’m this squishy/disgusting. That no one will. I’m going through an annoyingly protracted breakup, where we broke up mid-august, but because he couldn’t move out right away, we’ve been basically pretending we didn’t break up (he’s moving out next week.) REALLY pretending. Like, unhealthfully pretending, aka sharing the same bed aka… remaining “intimate” as my therapist called it. So he wants to jump my bones and tells me im sexy and hot, etc (i told you, unhealhty), but when I look to the future, I don’t think i get to date again until i lose at least 15, to where I was when I met him. He already loves me, so he still sees the me from when we met, which he thought was hot. but i’m not anymore. I’m just a big squishball.
Like, I’m embarrased to go out at night, trying to wear clothes that you can see I’m not very slender (aka all clothes, because I’m not slender). [I have a pretty good wardrobe and none of these would be called “slutty”, or even ill-fitting. I bought more clothes when i got heavier, because the only thing that made me feel even worse about myself was constantly not fitting in my clothes, so I got new clothes, that tend to be decently stylish, if a little overdressed (I can’t wear jeans, so I don’t try)] But I feel too gross to even be seen like that, and feel that people think its ridiculous that i’m wearing nice clothes, as if people could be attracted to people my size.
So heres my point: I dress well, I wear makeup, I respect myself (generally speaking), but I honestly can’t understand how a man (in my case) could look at my body,n ot already loving me like my (ex)bf and say to himself, I hope I get a chance to see that naked. Because me naked disgusts me, how can it not disgust him?
And sadly, I think this way about everyone else too. Its not just inward looking; when i see other people (i.e. women) with squishiness, in couples, I honestly wonder (TO MYSELF, never to anyone else) how could he want to bomp her? how can he be attracted to the squish? And sometimes I get overwhelmed with what I see is the unfairness that other people aren’t gigantic and have nice thighs (and sometimes it even turns into– why can they bring themselves to work out and I can’t seem to?)
I don’t have advice really. But I’ve been feeling this way recently, and I just wanted a chance to finally put it out there, and this seemed like an apt time.
Now, I know a lot of it is my own fault (I’m having serious food problems and work-out problems… I can’t bring myself to go to the gym I belong to), but part of it is that I feel so gross seeing myself work out. You have to look at your body when you work out, you have to feel your thighs rub against each other when you jog. I notice all the other people in the gym, so I’m not totally out of my mind to think that they are noticing me.
In conclusion, I get where the underlying feeling the LW has is coming from, I feel it too.
MissDre September 20, 2011, 10:57 am
Awww! I’ve been in your shoes 🙁 It sucks to feel that way. If you ever want somebody to talk to, I’m here!
Eljay September 20, 2011, 11:14 am
*HUGS* Your post said everything I’ve felt for the last 5+years! I’ve been in this depression/funk that I just can’t seem to drag my ass out of. Just wanted to say, you’re not alone – I hear ya.
amber September 20, 2011, 11:20 am
i’ve been where you are too and it sucks. i’m actually still losing the weight and sometimes i look at myself and think why does my husband want to have sex with me?!? but then i remember that there is a whole lot more to me than just my weight. i have to remind myself of that often 😉
the biggest challenge i faced was getting to the gym too. i felt so self conscious but like reginarey said no one is actually staring at you. i just convinced myself they were! i recently changed gyms and found one that better suit me. down where i am they are called onelife fitness. they have a dark room where the play movies and they have bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals. it’s amazing for someone who has a fear of working out in front of people. you get to go to the gym and work on yourself and no one can see you! it helped me get over the initial fear of going and now i don’t mind going out and checking out the other parts now that i’m more comfortable. and the more you go the more you get to know the people who work at the front desk. etc and you start to feel like you belong there.
my long winded point is don’t give up! maybe you need to change gyms or maybe you just need to suck it up and say to yourself i’m doing this for me because i’m worth it dammit and i’m going to the gym. i may or may not have said that to myself multiple times in front of my mirror at home 🙂
lets_be_honest September 20, 2011, 11:27 am
6, I know this will sound silly because I don’t really know you, but I was so upset reading this. You have such a great attitude on DW and I always look forward to your posts. I wish I could offer advice, but honestly, I feel that exact same way sometimes. I think everyone does. I’m 5’5, 130 lbs, so pretty average, but damn when I’m having a “fat day” I look at myself with disgust. Its a horrible way to be and I’m sure I am the only person looking me that day thinking that. Grab your girlfriend and tell her you two are going to yoga (or whatever you might like) and she’s going to have to force you to stick with it. I say yoga only because I have never been to a gym in my life but took yoga as a college credit and loved it. All women, all sizes, no one to feel insecure around. I won’t exercise at home, so the class forced me to do it. As much as it sounds so cliche, its true that people will fall in love with you because of who you are, not what you look like. Carry your head high and keep a smile on—you will be surprised.
kerrycontrary September 20, 2011, 12:31 pm
Totally agree, We all have fat days! Even thinner women can look at themselves in disgust on a bloated day. I try to use it as a motivation to work out. But what I find helps is just telling a friend “ugh, I’m having a fat day” and they say “oh hunny, I know EXACTLY how you feel”. Because I would say most american women have those days.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 1:16 pm
I’m a dude…and I have “fat” days too…secrets out.
honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 2:13 pm
I think my husband has more “fat” days than I do, so I definitely think its an issue for men and women.
McLovin September 20, 2011, 1:27 pm
Really good advice about having a workout partner-in-crime! Like a lot of people, my job stresses me the f*ck out and I have a tendency to want to go home and relax after work, basically do nothing. So the answer for me was to find someone that would run with me in the mornings before work, and most importantly, both of us be accountantable to each other every single day to stay on track. My point is, to 6napkins, or anyone else, is that if you’re uncomfortable working out in front of other people that you feel are “watching” you in the gym – try to find someone that has a similar schedule to yours, and is willing to workout with you during the times that your onsite gym is less crowded. I know this may sound overly simplistic, but when you’re really ready to commit to putting in the effort to get into the type of shape that you feel brings out the best in you, then you’ll do it! I’ve just found that having someone to push me when I need it most, and vice versa, really helped me to stay focused.
To the LW, attitude is everything. No one else will find you important until you yourself feel important. Keep working with your therapist on making the little changes that can, and will, eventually lead to big changes. Most importantly, you took that first step by opening yourself up and asking for advice from Wendy and everyone else. Do yourself a gigantic favor and take all this advice from some really smart people who have your best interests in mind.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 11:08 am
6napkinburger – I feel for you! But I really hope you can get to a healthier place in all ways. I think your life will be a lot better when you and your boyfriend can move on from this very odd dilemma you find yourself in. And you DO have the power to change your weight – which seems to be at the crux of your self-loathing. You don’t have to lose weight at the gym if you don’t like going. I HATE going to the gym, too. But there are other ways you can work out! – biking outdoors, fast-walking, swimming, etc.
And another thing – I think you THINK everyone is staring at you at the gym, but I promise you you’re way more self-conscious than you need be. Personally, if I notice a bigger girl at the gym, I have a lot of respect for her! I think about how awesome it is that she’s working hard to get in shape, and other people think that too!
Painted_lady September 20, 2011, 11:32 am
About your gym experience – seriously! I was on the cardio machines the other night right in front of the billions of mirrors they have, watching people walk past, and the upper 1% of attractive people in the gym are hilarious to watch because the mirror’s like a magnet for them, they just can’t not look. It was cracking me up. I’m not at that level of attractiveness and fitness, but I’m in pretty good shape, and most of the time when I see bigger people at the gym, I wish I could cheer them on without coming across as condescending. I don’t ever want to embarrass anybody, but I wish I could say something motivational.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 1:13 pm
haha…I do that….but mostly to check my unruly mop of hair to make sure it looks “tidy” unruly and not Albert Einstein unruly.
Painted_lady September 20, 2011, 5:04 pm
That’s an amazing visual. Thanks!
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 11:36 am
My biggest problem is the company gym. I work a lot and my company has a free gym on the premises, with everything (clothes, sports bras [yuk], sox, showers, towels, the only thing you need are sneakers and they have cubbies assigned to you for those, which i keep sneakers in). Thus, NO EXCUSE! And everyone has an hour to escape downstairs and work out, so I do too!
But, I feel so gross there, next to all the size 0 people (who clearly are size 0 because they’re at the gym everyday). And i kind of hate them, because they have the same job as me with the same hours and they aren’t squishy. And I feel like they’re laughing at me for trying, for sporadically showing up when they come everyday. And then i feel that its unfair, how am I supposed to get to a 0 (or its healthy equivalent) without working out!? stupid skinny girls. (Not towards ALL, towards the ones i feel are judging me at the company gym, who i know work for it and deserve it, and are probably not judging me).
Grumble. And I live in NYC, which just takes the skinny factor up a notch. The only non-slender people I see are tourists. It just stinks that the “norm” in a bar really is a size 6, and anyone above that looks giant. Boo.
Christy September 20, 2011, 12:00 pm
Yeah, I’ve found that I always feel fat in NYC.
But in terms of the company gym, most skinny people are skinny because they make skinny choices–going to the gym, eating healthy, things like that. They’re not judging you for only coming a few times a week.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 11:57 am
Oh, girl! I have a company gym too and I have NEVER used it, because I don’t want my coworkers to see my sweating and being stanky. So I get where you’re coming from. Would it be feasible to get a membership, even if you have to pay? Classes are a great way to lose weight, and you can bet that there will be a lot of people who aren’t sizes zeroes in there! Honestly, the tough love about all of this is – getting in shape is all about your mentality. If you profess to hate it, then you give yourself a great excuse not to do it. Or join Jenny Craig! or Curves! or Weight Watchers! They have meetings and support groups and stuff! I bet there are weight loss clubs in NYC, too…I’m not from there so I can’t say for sure.
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 12:30 pm
Yeah, I have a membership to a pay gym too. Over the past four years i have fluctuated between a 5 times a week person to a every other month person, and back again. I just have had motivational problems lately. I do love step class and I know the steps so i should do that. I’ve been letting work commitment and relationship troubles give me excuses, like, “i’m too tired” or “i deserve to crawl in a ball tonight.” But no more! I cannot will myself thin!
I gave up gluten last friday (I’m not ciliac but i have a lot of sensitivities to everything) and lasted the weekend — I can do anything! right?
CMF September 20, 2011, 1:35 pm
Yay for no gluten! I’m off that too. Plus, I’m vegan. So it’s tough, but it does make you look at the produce section in a whole new way…unless you want to spend like $8 for a box of quinoa based pasta. And it’s amazing how much better you feel without it in your system- more energy, less “oh God I feel like crap.” There’s tons of recipes online for some really good gluten-free stuff- and a lot of it is way easy to make.
splashes September 20, 2011, 3:15 pm
I know you can do it! I think part of what you might be having a hard time with is that you have no real obligation to go. It is soooo hard to self motivate to go work out by yourself – like you said, you can decide you are too tired and talk yourself out of it. Finding a workout buddy would give you someone to be responsible to, and might make the workout less of a chore. Maybe you could go to a few step classes and make a friend who would expect you to be there a few days a week.
That sort of thing has always helped me to be motivated to work out. (Plus, working out when you are stressed and drained can really help your mood and energy level). I wish I lived there because I would TOTALLY be your workout buddy!
CMonster September 20, 2011, 7:16 pm
A workout buddy is a great idea – or starting a program. I’ve been doing Couch to 5k to get me going to the gym. Every other time I’ve had a gym membership, I’ve massively struggled with motivation, but because I have something to focus on, and something that I can actually achieve, I’ve been going a lot. Also, this is free. You can download free apps for your ipod/iphone/android which help you track it, or there are podcasts.
And don’t think you can’t do it! I’ve been unfit and ‘not a runner’ all my life. At first I could barely do the runs and now I’m powering through it, it’s amazing. And it makes me feel so good, it helps with stress and makes me feel better about myself. I’m guessing once I finish this I’ll pick up another program. There are so many on the web. I’m so excited about it that on my days off the gym I spend heaps of time thinking about my next run!
Also, I used to worry about people looking at me at the gym, but I where I go people don’t look at each other, they’re all in their own world worrying about their own wobbly bits or zoning out on endorphins. I also work out in the ‘cardio theatre’ which is dark and plays music vids. If you found somewhere with a room like that you might feel more comfortable, also it’s really nice to have the distraction of something to watch/listen to while working out.
Best of luck to you. 2 months ago I was in a huge ‘I hate my body/self’ funk, but it can get better, I promise.
lk September 20, 2011, 10:52 pm
You can do it! I am trying to go gluten free but sometimes I slip up (I’m not joking….I ate two (2!) double (2x!) stacked breakfast sandwiches on croissants (!?!?!?!) this morning……………But I’m making a come-back : )
It’s ok to slip up, just think of it as one of your “old” days on the way to “new”!!!!
Sarah September 20, 2011, 12:28 pm
Ok, I wasn’t even going to comment on this thread because Wendy nailed it so perfectly, but I had to comment on yours. In short: Stop it.
S.T.O.P. I.T. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and hating yourself! I’m sorry, what good is this doing you? Does it somehow make your life better to dislike yourself and everyone around you who reminds you of yourself? Right, right, I know, I wouldn’t understand what you’re going through…oh wait, I do, because up until a few years ago, I was 80 pounds heavier than I am now.
You are a sweet, considerate and caring person when you comment, yet the vitriol you give to yourself is disturbing. But I understand. I hated myself. Absolutely hated. There were points in my life that I couldn’t even see a picture of myself or else I would be depressed for hours on end. Hating yourself is an addiction. I know that, and you do to. Your poor self esteem LOVES it when you rag on yourself. Every time you think a negative thought about yourself its like an alcoholic taking a slug of booze.
I mentioned that I used to be just like you, but lost 80 pounds. You know how I did it? It wasn’t being disgusted with myself enough to change. The change was the day before I was about to leave for a semester across country in Boston. Randomly, my sister had decided to put up a picture of the two of us on her screensaver and I flipped out. I was so depressed, and my mother took me into her room and for the first time, she was able to slap some sense in me (not literally, lol). She told me that I was wasting my life hating myself, and that if I didn’t change my attitude about myself and my body, then I didn’t deserve to go to Boston.
The second that sunk in, I realized I was going to ruin a great adventure in my life, so I switched gears. I bought clothes I liked, found makeup that accentuated my features etc etc. In Boston, I found out that the gym was a great way for me to deal with all the hate I had for myself, and for people who I had let treat me poorly. I didn’t care who saw me at the gym anymore, I was in my own zone. I didn’t want the exercise to go to waste, so I started controlling my portions more (even at a dorm room cafeteria). By the time I got back home I was 50 pounds lighter and still exercising.
To me, reading your situation, your adventure starts when you get this giant ball of negative energy known as your ex boyfriend out of your bed and out of your home. You get to start over fresh! Its the same feeling I got when I went to Boston. You get to release yourself of a person’s negative influence on you. Like a palate cleanser. It isn’t easy. I meant it when I said hating yourself is an addiction, I have to remember every day to be kind to myself, but it has to be done.
Stop being disgusted with girls who you think look like you, because doing that is just creating negative mirrors where ever you go. Stop caring what people think at the gym (the gym I started losing weight in was next to a SORORITY HOUSE, so PLEASE don’t tell me it will be harder for you). Do these things and you’ll feel enormous power when you finally switch on the ability to start looking out for yourself.
EB September 20, 2011, 2:18 pm
Years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop “waiting to like” my body at some TBD future date and decided to start actively loving it ASAP and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
In the beginning, it required me to actively change my thought patterns; like if I don’t like the way my body looks in a certain article of clothing? I CHOOSE to dislike the clothing or the fit of the piece instead choosing to dislike my body. In addition, I decided that my body is my friend and thus should treated with the same kindness and respect I give my other friends (i.e. I would never call a friend fat, so I don’t tell my body it’s fat).
moonflowers September 20, 2011, 12:47 pm
“Because me naked disgusts me, how can it not disgust him?”
People here on DW probably think I’m working for David Burns’s publishing house or something, but I can’t recommend his book “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” enough. One of the first topics he addresses is the cognitive distortions, or erroneous subconscious thinking patterns. One of them is “mind reading” – assuming that everyone else thinks like you do when we are all individuals, and assuming that you know exactly what someone else thinks when to do so would require serious clairvoyance or something.
You can’t assume that your feelings about your body will accurately predict how men react to it. I’m sure you’ve had disagreements between your girlfriends when one girl says “That guy is so hot!” and you just can’t see what she’s seeing in him – and that’s just because we all like different things and different people. No one is “wrong” in what they like – there’s no universal “right” or “wrong” in the realm of personal tastes.
Regarding your problems – it’s going to take an attitude change before/along with a physical change, because feeling down on yourself seems to be leading to overeating, a vicious cycle which only perpetuates the problem.
Before you can start the hard work of losing weight, you need to believe that you are worth that effort, and that it doesn’t matter what other people think, you’re doing it purely for you, screw what people might think in the gym. This takes a huge amount of self-confidence, which is definitely tough to muster during a breakup, so for now, just focus on the first part of loving yourself, redirecting some of the love you gave to your ex to yourself.
Hang in there. You are lovable and beautiful – and therapy is there to help you see the beauty and goodness in you that others can but you apparently have been denying in yourself. Best of luck for your journey.
Bklyn Grl September 20, 2011, 2:42 pm
Oh, 6, your self loathing is just pouring out of my computer 🙁 I can understand it, I’ve felt it. But I just have to say, you can’t give other people so much power over you! I mean, I doubt anyone is judging you (at all, and certainly not as harshly as you judge yourself)… but… and this might sound like a stupid question… but what if they ARE judging you? I mean, seriously. What. If. They. Are. Then what? So, because some strangers (or co-workers) think you are fat, you can’t exercise… you can’t dress nicely… you can’t walk around breathing oxygen? What sort of sense does that make? And why? Because you wilt at the mere idea that someone is thinking a bad thought about you? Show a little backbone. Those thoughts (other people’s thoughts) have only the power you give them. If some skinny bitch thinks you are a fat slob who has no right to be in the gym… well… so what? You have the ability to just shrug that off. If she can’t deal with looking at you, well, that’s her problem.
The bigger issue, of course, is that this hatred is something you are projecting onto your co-workers and random strangers (you hate yourself, so you imagine they do as well)… but if you give yourself permission not to care so much about what other people are “thinking,” you will take an important step towards breaking the negative feed-back loop in your head (I’m disgusting; other people think I’m disgusting; I hate myself for being so disgusting to others…etc.).
artsygirl September 20, 2011, 11:01 am
LW – As for not wanting to date guys from bars…that is fine. I don’t think I would pick up someone from a bar unless it was a high end adult bar compared with the local college hookup spot. Why don’t you try a church singles group (if you are religious), take a class, or volunteer at some place where you are likely to meet people with the same values and interests.
Also, a new study came out that found men were mostly looking at internet porn which featured mature (over 30) women who were slightly overweight. A lot of guys are more interested in rounded women who have real curves over 18 year olds.
MsBorgia September 20, 2011, 11:02 am
I would also like to object to the assumption that hanging in bars attracts drunks and “drug addled partners”. I’m not sure what kind of bars the LW hangs out in but I can assure you that not everyone who sets foot in a bar is a raging alcoholic with a hooker on one arm and a bag of coke on the other.
GatorGirl September 20, 2011, 11:16 am
Love this! There are plenty of people who go to the bar and either don’t drink, or only have one. Perhaps the LW is trying the wrong kinds of bars, or is going to clubs?
I would suggest going to a wine bar or a tapas place, they usually have a more adult crowd. Even places like Bonefish grill (at least in my area) has a great crowd of 10-30 somethings hanging on on the weekends.
Natasia Rose September 20, 2011, 12:31 pm
“a raging alcoholic with a hooker on one arm and a bag of coke on the other” -Now I know what I’m going to be for halloween!
callmehobo September 20, 2011, 4:31 pm
Natasia, there are gonna be too many Charlie Sheen’s this Halloween.
honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 2:16 pm
I agree. I met my husband in a bar *technically* – he was a drummer in a band that my mom’s coworker was the singer for and I was her DD when she went to see them. Of course, thats WAY different than actually meeting just anyone in a bar, but still.
And, I happen to go to bars for things like bands (obviously), but also football games. I love the sense of comaraderie in a bar during a football game, baseball game, etc. But the kicker? I am neither a drug addict nor a drunk. Actually, I don’t drink at all.
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 3:37 pm
I know that this is random, but I’m not sure if you’re going to go check the other column. Logic Game Bible. It’s amazing. Combine that with what is already working for you and you’ll cut ridiculous amounts off your time in the LG section.
Caroline September 20, 2011, 11:21 am
LW, the only person you should really blame is yourself, not because of your seemingly negative attitude, but because you are holding yourself back. I understand where you’re coming from. I used to (and still kind of do) have those doubts. “Why would anybody want to be with me?” I have a “disability” but it’s really hard to tell that I do. I try to not let my disability define who I am, and that’s what you need to do, as well. There is a guy at my school who does not have his lower arm (like, his arm ends at his elbow or something) and he’s one of the most popular guys on campus. It’s true – if you have a winning personality and are kind to people, then you will have no problem having people like you. You have to put the effort in – you can’t just expect something for NOTHING. No such thing as a “free lunch.”
You problem is that you see the world as bad. I don’t know what your life was like growing up, but you’re bitter because you don’t have your right hand. People get dealt different cards in life, and it’s up to you to make the best of your life. Not everyone has a porn star body – not everyone WANTS that – not every one who goes to bars gets drunk – not every girl that looks good dresses like a slut. Seriously? I think you are secretly jealous of other girls. But you shouldn’t be. I mean, just because a girl is beautiful doesn’t mean she isn’t a mega bitch. Guys don’t want to date mega bitches, FYI, even if it is say, someone who looks like Angelina Jolie.
Like Wendy said, it is up to YOU to make yourself happy. You can only help yourself, for God’s sake, so help yourself!!!
LennyBee September 20, 2011, 11:22 am
One more thing to consider, LW – you’ve spent 30 years without a right hand, and you’re letting that define you. It’s such a minor “defect”, and I’m sure most people you meet don’t even notice. Why wouldn’t someone notice? Because after 30 years, I’m sure you’ve adapted and are perfectly able to do everything “two-handed” people can do without any issues. I once worked with a lovely woman who didn’t have a right hand, and it was months before I noticed. She had a great smile, a positive attitude, was friendly, and was perfectly competent – there was no reason for me to notice she didn’t have a right hand, and when I did notice, it made no difference. She was still friendly, positive, competent, and a great coworker.
Consider this – yes, there are absolutely shallow people in this world who wouldn’t date a person with a defect or a less than perfect body, but do you honestly want to be with that person? Would someone else’s minor physical defect stop you from dating him/her? Most people don’t fall in love with someone’s body, we fall in love with someone’s spirit. Become a friendly, positive, and caring person, and you’ll meet all sorts of other friendly, positive, and caring people who won’t give a fig about your perceived flaws.
I encourage you to follow Wendy’s and everyone else’s tips for how to change your attitude. It won’t harm you to try it for a couple of months and see if it makes a difference.
SpaceySteph September 20, 2011, 2:59 pm
Agree with you! I met a girl who was born without a hand. I was amazed at all the things she could do without it. The most amazing thing, which I remember even though it was 10 years ago, is how she took these terrific pictures (she was a photographer) and she propped her camera up on the stub of her arm and used the little nub of a finger to hold it steady while focusing and hitting the shutter with her other hand.
I can’t even take good pictures two handed. But really she had figured out how to do everything without a hand, including things I can’t do with a hand. Honestly I never once looked at her hand and thought “Oh thats gross” I only ever thought “Wow she’s amazing!”
Its not a defect, its just an aspect of your body and self that you can downplay… or choose to focus on and make it so nobody, including you, can get past it.
Princess Bananahammock September 20, 2011, 11:27 am
I agree with everything people said above re your attitude. I just want to add that I don’t think anyone is denying that you’ve been dealt a rough hand. A birth defect, bipolar disorder, and uncertainty about your sexuality is a lot to handle. But at a certain point, you just have to accept that this is the hand you were dealt. This is your life. You can piss and moan about how tough it is, or you can deal with it and do everything within your power to make yourself happy. I hope you take Wendy’s advice, and much of the advice above, and begin taking concrete steps towards your goals.
iseeshiny September 20, 2011, 11:47 am
Oh my gosh with the hand references, Princess Consuela!!! It just makes me think of that Family Guys cut scene, with the guy missing the leg, and Peter keeps using awkward leg references…
iseeshiny September 20, 2011, 11:48 am
Oh my gosh with the hand analogy, Princess Consuela!!! It just makes me think of that one episode of Family Guy with the cut scene with the guy missing the leg, and Peter keeps using awkward leg references…
EB September 20, 2011, 10:28 am
Please take 10 minutes and check out this talk given by Aimee Mullins, who is an activist/model/athlete/double amputee/all around inspiring person.
In this video she talks about empowerment, identity, and society’s changing view of beauty and disability:
EB September 20, 2011, 10:36 am
My favorite quote from the talk:
“From an identity standpoint, what does it mean to have a disability? I mean people, Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do; nobody calls her disabled”
katie September 20, 2011, 9:13 pm
haha… thats funny. i like it.
lets_be_honest September 20, 2011, 11:34 am
This is why I love DW. Wendy’s reply and everyone’s comments on this post. I wish everyone knew about this site. Its helped me grow so much more mature and open-minded. I often think What Would Wendy Do, which might sound nuts but I’m so happy to have learned so many things on here.
silver_dragon_girl September 20, 2011, 11:38 am
I compose a mental “Dear Wendy” letter at least once a day, in all seriousness. Then I think about what she, and all the commenters, would say. It’s really helpful in a lot of situations!
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 1:34 pm
Yep! I often compose letters to MYSELF in my head. What would ReginaRey say to me? It helps!
cookiesandcream September 20, 2011, 2:49 pm
I do the same thing! I was going to write into Dear Wendy before with some issues I was having, but then as I was writing the letter I got to the answer myself. It’s definitely helped me more than once.
Ktfran September 20, 2011, 12:15 pm
A few people have touched on this, such as MsMisery and mcminnem, but I want to reiterate. I think you should find a new therapist. This one doesn’t sound like she is doing you any favors. When I read this “I see a therapist, but when I ask about sex, all she says is ‘lose weight and dress to attract the men you want,” I wanted to scream find a new therapist.
But then I kept reading. And as many have said, it kind of sounds like you don’t want to help yourself. Seriously. Check out different therapist until you find one who fits. Once you do, keep an open mind and really listen to what’s being said. A good therapist will listen to you and help you overcome your obstacles. He or she won’t perpetuate the self hate.
And I honestly believe that once you learn to love, or even like, yourself, others will follow suit.
moonflowers September 20, 2011, 1:04 pm
I suspect that what the therapist said was truly meant as constructive advice, but heard through the LW’s negative mental filter, it came out as more disparaging. Being told to dress better is neutral in itself – the listener is the one who decides to treat it either as loving, helpful, honest advice (positive), or to regard it as a further slur (negative). Given the LW’s overall negative mindset, I think she might have just heard it as more negative than was meant, or assumed a negativity that wasn’t there.
Ktfran September 20, 2011, 1:39 pm
While I do agree with you moonflowers, I really think she needs a new therapist. It doesn’t sounds likes she’s clicking with this one; therefore her sessions aren’t productive. LW clearly needs help with anger, body image and self loathing issues. Finding someone she trusts, really listens to and wants to work with will make a huge difference IMO.
I’m not faulting the therapist. It’s not working, but I think it could with someone different.
bittergaymark September 22, 2011, 1:41 pm
It’s funny — and frankly disturbing — so many on here are so quick give everybody ELSE (the therapist, humanity in general) the benefit of the doubt…but are all so quick to assume the worst about the LW.
twiglet October 24, 2011, 6:52 pm
well yes. I suspect that her negative attitude may be a reflection of how people have been treating her. Yes, she needs to change to be happy- but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t been dealt a tricky lot to deal with, and perhaps the people she’s met have been waaay short of the warm-hearted souls we’d all like to imagine people are.Repeated rejection will lead to bitterness, we can’t all summon up our inner Pollyanna. I agree with Wendy’s advice,but think that what this girl has to deal with is so much more than being a bit fat, or plain, or a tad depressed. She sounds desperate.My advice would be to shelve looking for a sexual partner for now, and widen her circle of friends,maybe gain some trust in humanity.I think friends trump therapy every time (they don’t need you to stay needy to pay their rent),,,,and, further down the line, friends have other friends, and some of them are single, and if they already know you and LIKE you then they will open up their circles-then who knows….
redheadblogger September 20, 2011, 11:18 am
LW, My very good friend is engaged to a man in a wheelchair. He was paralyzed in a car accident several years ago. She started dating him two years after this happened. She’s not a fetishist, she’s a good hearted person that fell in love with a good hearted man. Please know that if you begin to love yourself, someone else will love you as well. Be open to advice about your appearance and know that you don’t have to do anything that will make you uncomfortable. I wish you the best of luck, and please get a better attitude.
Painted_lady September 20, 2011, 12:44 pm
Story for you, LW. I talk about my best friend a lot on here, partly because she’s one of my favorite people to be around and so I’m with her as much as possible, and partly because she’s one of my heroes for her ownership of her own life and refusal to play the victim. She’s bipolar and larger than you are, probably a size 18-20. A few years ago, she was sure she would be alone all her life because she was – her words, not mine – “fat and crazy.” She was a miserable person to be around, and we nearly parted ways as friends, not because she was fat and crazy, but because she blamed every single misfortune she had on being fat and crazy. She dated a jerk who broke her heart, and she assumed her heart was broken because she was fat and crazy and doomed to die alone, not because she dated a jerk who used her and she had lowered her standards to be with him. She would go out with a guy she was interested in and get blackout drunk, then when she woke up the next morning, she would be absolve of all guilt because she could run with the assumption the guy she’d gone out with wasn’t interested in her anymore because she was fat and crazy. She never had to take ownership of her actIons because she could blame those other factors, when really, it was her sucking all the positivity out of any room she walked into, or being emotionally erratic because she’d given up hope of ever getting her bipolar disorder back in check. I don’t know where or how it started, but a couple of years ago she decided she was sick of being so miserable, whether it was her fault or not. She adjusted her meds, her outlook changed, she started taking far better care of herself (she hasn’t lost weight, btw, she’s gained it), dressing better, etc. She has zero trouble finding men to date, but she both treats them better and raised her standards. She doesn’t judge people sight unseen or with little to no information other than they happen to be standing in a bar at the moment, but she’s less willing to accept bad behavior from men, and she’s built her life in a way that she loves it and enjoys it without a partner.
LW, instead of allowing yourself to be the victim, challenge yourself to grow. It’s scary not to have the emotional crutch of victimhood, because then you have to work and try and put yourself out there, but since the line of thinking you’ve got now obviously isn’t working, try taking more responsibility for where your life goes, see what happens.
Slamy September 20, 2011, 11:54 am
There are plenty of “imperfect” people who have found love. It honestly isn’t about your outside appearance. I know plenty of “hot” girls who can’t find lasting love because they are ugly on the inside. Conversely, I know plenty of average-looking people who are absolutely wonderful human beings, and that shines through to the outside. It really is all about attitude.
I am very imperfect. I have flaws and faults and sometimes I feel inherently flawed. Every single day I have to work on myself so that I can eventually be the person that I want to be. If all I did was sit around and dwell on my faults and how people are too shallow and that is why nobody loves me, then I don’t think I’d have any friends.
PS: Just putting on a coat or two of mascara makes me feel prettier. I don’t really wear any other makeup. And wearing clothes that flatter me also makes me feel better about myself. Also, exercise is completely necessary for my well-being. I notice that I feel anxious and irritable if I miss a few days of working out, and that is because I *need* those endorphins. Exercise, eating right and medication have helped me manage my depression.
“Are you happy? No? Change something!”
Elle September 20, 2011, 1:09 pm
LW, please get a box of tissues and watch some videos of Nick Vujici. If he doesn’t make you feel better about yourself, I don’t know what else will.
And since you asked for Wendy’s advice, I hope with all my heart that you will follow it. Today’s advice is truly awesome and anybody could use it. I know that your first instinct will be to dismiss it, and find some reason why it won’t work for you. But, in fact, you will be letting your negativity win. Don’t let negativity keep running your life anymore. Until you follow any of the advice here, you have no right to complain about anything.
Natasia Rose September 20, 2011, 12:25 pm
I don’t think I will be able to add very much that’s new here. BUT looking at it from the queer perspective, there is a lot of queer crip literature out there. I was reading an essay by a leader in this field in the book “Persistence All Ways Butch & Femme” You might want to check it out.
Also, googling Queer Crip will lead you to a huge support system.
There are plenty of women who love a full sized woman. Honestly, I think that the queer community is pretty accepting of all shapes, sizes and looks. If you look hard enough you will find someone who is into what you got.
TaraMonster September 20, 2011, 1:25 pm
Just my anecdotal two cents- one of my best friends growing up had half of his right leg amputated as a baby. He wears a prosthetic leg, and he’s never had a problem in the romance department. We even “dated” in the seventh grade. And being that I’ve known him since we were 8 years old, I’ve seen the worst sort of way people (especially adolescents) can treat people with disabilities. He could have easily let all of that make him bitter and angry, but he is open, and funny, and caring. He bought my lunch for a good portion of the10th grade when my family was dead broke and never told any of our friends he was doing it. He’s a good person, a great friend, and a kick ass guitar player. He’s had a slew of girlfriends in the twenty years we’ve been friends. In November he’s getting married to a great woman. They are very much in love, supportive of each other, and just awesome together. I don’t even remember he has a disability most of the time because he doesn’t let it define him. This letter just reminds me how admirable that really is. Follow Wendy’s advice, LW. Your disability does not have to define you.
*I haven’t read the other comments and I wish I could, but it’s a little hectic at my office today.
jessielyn September 20, 2011, 2:30 pm
Nothing to add that hasn’t already been said, but AMEN Wendy!! The first thing I thought after ready the letter was “Methinks the reason LW doesn’t get a date is that she sounds b!tchy, whiny, and judgmental.” I have a friend whose sister has your exact physical disability-a missing hand. She has never lacked in the romance department. But that is because she is a lovely woman who runs a rescue shelter for dogs, loves to laugh and try new things, and is an all around awesome person.
CatsMeow September 20, 2011, 2:34 pm
I think depression is playing a role in the LW’s negative attitude and black-and-white thinking. And as someone who has experienced bouts of semi-severe depression, I know how she feels. At my worst, I would go DAYS without leaving my house, with one of my main reasons being that I didn’t want anyone to look at me. It wasn’t a paranoia thing, but just thinking that I was SO UGLY that I wanted to spare myself others’ jugment (not that anyone was judging me).
LW, you will have to work really hard to change your negative thought patterns – which means recognizing when you’re doing it, and then re-phrasing it into something positive. I’m sure your therapist can (and is) helping you with that…. if not, find another one.
I also hope that you don’t take Wendy’s and the commenters’ focus on changing your appearance the wrong way. You don’t NEED to change your outward appearance to attract a mate – however, I agree with everyone else that it is something that can make YOU feel better about yourself. Find some clothes that you like, that flatter you, AND that you feel comfortable in. Also, don’t be “sloppy”; make sure your clothes are clean, not wrinkled, and fit you properly. It’s not about changing who you are, but changing the way you see yourself. And sometimes projecting a certain image on the outside not only can make you feel better about yourself, but it shows others that you care about yourself and might alter their reactions to you.
You honestly DO need an attitude adjustment – the “Why MEEEEEE” attitude is frustrating to others who may want to befriend you and/or date you, and it also seems to be affecting your confidence and self-esteem. Changing is a lot easier said than done, though, so take your time, believe in yourself, take Wendy’s suggestions, and you’ll get there. We’re all rooting for you.
cookiesandcream September 20, 2011, 2:47 pm
I just thought of this motivational speaker, John Robinson. He was born a congenital amputee, so his arms stop at his elbows and his legs are attached to his hips without knees. It’s pretty amazing to hear his story about how he didn’t let his physical defects to hinder him, and I think everyone can gain something by listening to his story.
Here are the links:
If those links don’t work, then just Google “get off your knees john robinson” and you’ll be able to find them on the first page.
oldie September 20, 2011, 7:23 pm
I did a double take at the part where first it’s awful that men don’t want to date her, then it’s sort of ok, because she prefers women to men, anyway. Some people of both sexes are so physically attractive that they have no trouble getting dates, despite awful personalities. For the rest of humanity, personality, empathy, being an interesting, confident person who likes yourself, is paramount. If you don’t like yourself and also aren’t especially attracted to men, don’t you think men pick up on both of those things and find them big turnoffs. If you think guys that go to bars are mental defectives, why would you try to meet guys at bars? They can sense your opinion of them and probably are waiting for you to make a grab for your fire axe and chop up the bar, never guessing that you’re there to pick up a date, err hookup.
katie September 20, 2011, 8:58 pm
LW, im going to tell you that you are wrong in your views because of two things:
1. there was a girl I went to junior high with who was born without most of her right arm- it was cut off somewhere around her elbow. and she dated a bunch of boys in our junior high. if junior high kids, the most judgemental and terrible beings on the planet, could get over her birth defect and see how pretty she was (and she was- she was a great person), then mature adults can do the same
2. my best friend has very mild CP. her right hand is a little deformed. it wont exactly stretch out all the way, and she cant really use it to grasp anything. also, her whole right arm is a little longer (i think?) then her left, and the same with her right leg- it makes her look just a touch lop-sided, and she walks/runs a little funny. but you know what? she was captain of her tennis team, dresses more stylish then me, has better hair then me, and has tons of awesome friends (including me, haha). she has a great life- she doesnt let her disability hold her back at ALL. she has never once felt sorry for herself because of her disability. she is willing to ask for help when she needs it (things like cutting meat with a knife, that you need two hands for), which i think is a thing of beauty- she understands herself so fully, and then she is mature enough to know when to ask for help.
there are good people in the world, LW, and im very sorry you dont know that.
rsBella September 20, 2011, 9:41 pm
I wrote my comment prior to reading yours! It seems like we have similar situations of encouragement to share 🙂
katie September 20, 2011, 11:16 pm
yes definitely! it is lucky that CP didn’t have such an effect on both of our friends.. i have seen people with severe CP, and it looks so painful.
I can remember the first time I asked my friend what had caused her funny arm- it took me about three years of being very close to her, and i was so happy how open, honest, and un-embarrassed she was about it.
CP is just something these people have, its a part of who they are, it doesn’t mean thats ALL they are.
Painted_lady September 20, 2011, 11:31 pm
Yes! My friend who’s the nude model with CP is amazing about being open and unembarrassed. She’d crack those jokes, and her term of choice for CP was “gimp,” so she was up-front from the beginning about how she wanted to be acknowledged. It made me so okay with just asking, “Hey, do you want me to carry your bags across campus for you?” or “Can I push you to the elevator?” We had this joke on hot days that we had a deal that I could sit in her lap when we went across campus on the condition that I did the propelling of the chair. She’s got a pretty severe condition, but that girl tries everything, including a stage combat class. If it hurts, she stops, but shy of that, she’s completely fearless.
katie September 21, 2011, 12:21 am
wow- if thats not an example of taking life by the horns, i dont know what is. thats absolutely amazing.
rsBella September 20, 2011, 9:39 pm
I find this letter rather familar in a sense. My brother’s girlfriend is about 5’3″, a size 12, and has a mild case of CP. You can barely tell except she walks with a very tiny limp and her right forearm and hand are very, very small and she can’t feel or use either. She is very lucky that the disease didn’t impact her more seriously.
My brother loves her little arm. He calls it ET, and occasionally talks about it like it has a mind of it’s own. It’s their own private joke and a kind of intimacy based on true acceptance of each other. They’ve been together ten years and have built a life together that works great for them. As they say, there’s a pot for every lid, LW, and you’re getting in your own way to finding yours.
Painted_lady September 20, 2011, 11:20 pm
I love the nickname for her little arm. I have a friend with CP who named her wheelchair “Cheetarah” from Thundercats and would poke fun – in a good-natured way – at people who didn’t know how to handle her disability. Like, “Dude, I can’t roll the damn chair AND open the door all at once. Some help please?” She also moonlights as a nude model and has zero problem getting laid. I want to be just like her when I grow up.
rsBella September 21, 2011, 6:28 am
Love it! That’s such a great story…
bittergaymark September 20, 2011, 10:01 pm
I actually REALLY feel for the LW here. I don’t know what to tell her. But I don’t think that attitude alone is her problem. It’s a part of it, yes. But if you all really think that just slapping a smile and a bit of make up on her face is going to make everybody gloss over a missing hand…well, I think you are all dreaming. Hey, I’d like to live in such a perfect world — that said, I very much doubt it will EVER exist. I can tell you all one thing, though — it certainly doesn’t exist now. People. Are. Shallow.
Hell, I can’t tell you how many times I was told I was “too tall” to date. And I’m barely 6’4. It’s maddening. After a while, it can understandably make one very bitter. I can only imagine how I would feel about dealing with a missing limb.
I very much doubt she started out bitter. So, tell me, were people just clamoring to date her way back when? No? I don’t wonder why… And it has nothing to do with her attitude. And I know all of you are just waiting to rip me a new one here, but let me ask you all the very tough question? Have YOU ever dated somebody with a physical challenge? I haven’t. Truthfully, I’ve never turned any one down for this reason either — I’ve never been approached. That said, I’ve also NEVER approached anybody with such an issue either. Does that make me a horrible person? Probably not. But to discount all of the LW’s troubles as an offshoot of her just having a poor self image strikes me as more than a wee bit condescending…
You know what? I have watched gorgeous acquaintances of both sexes with seriously crappy attitudes and, moreover, utterly vile bitchy personalities get laid in spades… Not only that people date them, marry them, and constantly, constantly put up with their shit. I mean, seriously. This whole blame the victim mentality that this is all just because she has a bad attitude is hilarious… It’s like how Oprah was always constantly telling people that money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s well meaning, but moronic nonetheless…
But, yeah. I definitely would change therapists.
Painted_lady September 20, 2011, 11:14 pm
Totally feel you on the “too tall to date” thing. I’m a six foot tall lady, and I’ve had a couple of guys I dated ask me not to wear heels. Obviously, since you date dudes as well, the same issue applies. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to encounter three different men in my life who were not just men I was attracted to, but LOVED that I was tall. And only one (Painted_dude) was taller than me. One was actually very, very short, and I was really young, so that actually gave me a lot of confidence at a really young age that there are people out there who will find you attractive, nO matter what you got on the outside.
I think some of the tones on here are a little harsh, yeah. It’s not helpful to call someone names or eviscerate them verbally when self-esteem is the issue. Maybe a wake-up call is what she needs, and hopefully she can read through all the frustration and irritation to the good intentions at heart. And I agree with you that she has every right to be bitter and angry and pissed off that she’s lonely – I can’t imagine what things have been said or done to her. She has good reason, but my point that I hope I got across is that ultimately, the anger and cynicism don’t help her. She’s got the deck stacked against her in a lot of ways that she had no choice in, but the thing that she can choose is what she does with what she’s been given. She can stay pissed at the world – with good reason, probably – or she can choose to be the girl who’s having more fun than anyone else around. And being that girl is in her power. Is there definitely someone out there for her? Maybe not. But that answer is a “no way” if she doesn’t choose a better path for herself. And if she gets to the end of her life still single, which would she rather be? The angry one raging against what a raw deal she got, or the one who didn’t let anything, most especially herself, stop her? I’d choose the second path every time.
katie September 20, 2011, 11:19 pm
yes- she is essentailly letting her problems be all her life is about. as I said above, a disability or a disease a part of someone, its not something that you can just ignore, but its not all that there is to a person.
its really no different then having any number of defining characteristics…
having brown hair is a part of who I am, but it is definitely not ALL that I am.
bittergaymark September 20, 2011, 11:41 pm
Again, though… To equate not having a hand with having brown hair is really almost bordering on obnoxious… Rather like me telling my bald friend how lucky he is because he doesn’t have to blow money on haircuts…
Even Wendy with her remark about how “imperfect” her body is is a wee bit insensitive. She only was asked to recently do a photo shoot a la Joan Holloway (due to her physical similarity) who is arguably one of the most sexy fictional characters out there… I mean, the plain fact is that our society is obsessed with beauty. Obsessed! Look at the media. The advertising. The shows on TV. Lately it’s all just bland vapid pretty little things trying desperately to act and failing, but nobody cares because they are hot to drool over… Look at how most of the “serious” news anchors run around in come fuck me pumps… Too get down on the LW for being annoyed by her situation is not only unrealistic, but mean spirited in that so many of you are all simply telling her its all her fault…
Frankly, that’s simply all too much b.s. for me to stomach…
katie September 21, 2011, 12:29 am
honestly, to me, not having a hand is no different then having brown hair. like i said above, one of my best friends has mild CP and basically the whole right side of her body is a little deformed, and it really has never been a “thing”. me and my friends help her out when she needs to do something that requires two hands (she cant really use her right hand), and thats it. she helps me out when I need help with things, so really, its no different then any other friendship I have.
I am definitely not trying to be insensitive or anything, but I guess i just honestly dont care that much if my friends have full use of all their limbs, or, in the case of the LW, that she had both hands. I just dont care- its not even on my radar.
I can definitely agree with our society’s obsession with beauty, but all I can counter that with is the fact that our society is also very focused on including everyone and letting people know that they are ok the way that they are. Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, though it failed pretty badly, was good in theory. There are tons of support groups and foundations that are geared towards people like the LW. I think that speaking in generalities, we are obsessed with beauty, but if you got down to the actual people, you would find many many more people who would love to befriend this LW- if she was a better person on the inside.
bittergaymark September 21, 2011, 12:47 am
Newsflash: The world is NOT you and if you REALLY think that everybody else is as enlightened as you — well, may I suggest you simply go and cut off one of your own hands? That way you can prove to both me and yourself how it is no different than having brown hair… PS: For starters it’s shockingly easy to dye one’s hair. Growing a new hand? Not so much.
katie September 21, 2011, 12:55 am
well, maybe she should go out and find some people that are as “enlightened” as me…
all im trying to say is that there are good people in the world that wont just take her on her looks, because, newsflash: the world is not represented by popular media, either.
Britannia September 21, 2011, 1:52 am
“Popular media” is a phrase that means that it is media framed by the masses’ interests. To say that it does NOT represent the majority is very incorrect.
katie September 21, 2011, 1:55 am
majority, sure, but still not everyone.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 11:39 am
Popular media is telling the masses what is popular…I don’t think it is a direct reflection on society as a whole…in fact it can’t be…because not everyone even watches “popular media”.
And if by popular media you mean TMZ everyone knows that shit is trash.
lets_be_honest September 21, 2011, 11:41 am
Ahhhhh, thank you Budj.
lets_be_honest September 21, 2011, 11:00 am
You make some really kind, and intelligent points as well. Don’t let the neg-hounds get to you. Seems pretty hypocrital for a commenter to say they can relate because they are too tall, but you can’t relate because brown hair isn’t a big deal.
bittergaymark September 22, 2011, 1:47 pm
Um, Lets_Be_Honest, I was in no way equating my tallness with NOT having a hand. THAT is a huge difference that perhaps you are unable to grasp. Instead, I was stating that I often get passed over by guys simply because they think I am too tall, I can only imagine how many times one might get passed over for missing a limb… And that as annoyed as I get, it is NOTHING compared to how frustrating it must be for the LW.
lets_be_honest September 22, 2011, 1:59 pm
And I don’t think kate was saying her brown hair is the same as missing a hand. Just a word of advice for your future, I know of no one that would dismiss someone for being too tall, especially a man. Maybe that was their nice way of passing you over because you have a bad attitude, one you seem to pride yourself on hence your choice in a name. Keep the personal insults to yourself. Unable to grasp the difference between a hand a hair color or height? Where did I say that? I was simply pointing out how hypocritical it was for you to say you have issues with getting men because you are tall but when kate said she has issues because of brown hair, you jumped down her throat implying she thought hair color and a missing hand are the same thing. Stop putting words in people’s mouths. We all get your schtick already. Its old. Try positivity for once. Or better yet, just ignore my comments so I can enjoy this forum.
bittergaymark September 22, 2011, 2:05 pm
You know what, I would ignore your posts if you weren’t constantly attacking me, Miss Alleged Positivity. Maybe you should give it a rest.
bittergaymark September 22, 2011, 7:49 pm
PS — Um, Kate actually later clarified that she does indeed feel they are the same thing. Here’s a quote: “Honestly, to me, not having a hand is no different than having brown hair…” She said it — not me, So do please stop accusing me of putting words in other people’s mouths.
TaraMonster September 21, 2011, 1:23 am
Oy. Maybe you ARE right, BGM.
This is like people saying they don’t “see” race. My boyfriend and I get that all the time, but we just look at each other and laugh. Of course they see it, they just think pretending not to notice an obvious difference makes them open minded or something. And they may very well be kind hearted and non judgmental people, but acting like you’re so blind to differences that they’re not even a blip on your radar is at best naive and at worst condescending, it’s well intentioned, but not well thought out.
Katie, you don’t notice your friend’s disability bc you’re around her all the time. Same thing with my friend with half a leg. If she was a stranger in the grocery store you would surely notice it. You might not judge her, but you’d notice.
Britannia September 21, 2011, 1:51 am
Tara, you hit the nail on the head. It’s our biological imperative to notice differences, and we simply cannot not notice such things as black skin or a missing hand when first meeting people. Yes of course it would be “more enlightened” to not notice anything about anyone’s appearance… but then again, I don’t want to be near someone like that if, say, the zombie apocalypse were to occur.
To say that you don’t notice others’ appearance and subconsciously judge them for it is, to put it simply, a load of BS.
katie September 21, 2011, 2:00 am
notice it, sure. ask about it, ok. have long in depth discussions about things like disabilities and race- sure, ive participated in all of it. its not like i’m saying i’m actively ignoring life around me in the name of being “politically correct.” what i am saying is that there are people on this earth that wont take one look at the LW and think, oh she is missing a hand. she has nothing to add to my life. i would rather pass her by.
there are people that will say that, which is sad, but thats life. all im saying is that there are good people out there- and good men, who will date this LW if she becomes a little more happy in herself.
katie September 21, 2011, 2:16 am
sorry, LW, I meant women who will date you
Caroline September 21, 2011, 1:51 am
It is hard, when you have a disability. I’m deaf, have been since birth – but wear a cochlear implant. It’s hard for me, because I always feel just a little left out. I cannot keep up with conversations in groups bigger than 3, really. I can’t hear that well on the phone, so I worry about what I’m going to do when I have a job. I worry about what I’ll do when I have children. I won’t be able to hear them cry at night and that breaks my heart. I don’t anybody is saying that a disability is EASY. On the contrary, I think people here understand it can be difficult, even if they do not have first hand-knowledge of it. But the thing is, that’s LIFE. I’m only 21. I have maybe 60 more years left to live. If I give up now, if I let myself be consumed by misery and wallow every single fucking day of my life, then I won’t HAVE a life. I will have wasted my life, and I don’t want that. On top of that, I am bigger as well so I am self-conscious about my weight. I am self-conscious about the way I sound as well. I know people will wonder about my “accent” when they meet me. I have accepted that it will happen. Does that mean I want that? Hell no. But it will happen. If people ask me about it, then I will gladly answer any questions they have. But I prefer to live my life the way I want to – a full, happy, enjoyable life. I prefer to not let this define who I am, because I think it is an easy excuse to blame others and the rest of the world. Sure, the LW has been given a rough card, but she has to make the best of it that she can.
Caroline September 21, 2011, 1:55 am
Also, I forgot to add – I think it is really important to not take your disability seriously. I mean, if it’s a terminal illness of course that’s serious, but I can “poke fun” at myself. I have a tendency, when people say something, to COMPLETELY mishear what the say, often with hilarious results. For example, my boyfriend will say something like, “So what’d you think of dinner?” and I’ll hear….”Oh, those frisky critters.” Or something like that, usually when I’m a little distracted. I don’t get embarrassed – I laugh about it. In fact, we were thinking about starting some sort of blog to record those moments. 🙂
twiglet October 24, 2011, 7:08 pm
what!!!! Not having a hand the same as the wrong hair colour? Good grief you are tempting whatever deity it is that nicks peoples’ limbs in the night,(there is one in some mad religion, probably)
personally just the thought of losing a hand is a cold-sweat nightmare for me, and would be for most people.Whereas, if I woke up with brown, green, purple or glow-in- the- dark hair, I’d be narked, but ermmm, there’s dye, and wigs……and I don’t think all these tales of people who are oh so much better than the LW at coping with their disabilities will help.When you have a problem, does hearing about how much better EVERYONE else in your situation is at dealing with it help you much?
bittergaymark October 27, 2011, 2:51 am
Yeah, rereading this thread simply astounds me. That’s all that needs to be said. But many of the comments simply blow me away… This is perhaps the most misguided thread ever on here…
TaraMonster September 20, 2011, 11:04 pm
Normally I find your snark well placed in a sea of nodding heads, but I actually think attitude is the LW’s problem. I don’t think anyone is saying “No one looks at your missing hand when you’re wearing makeup!” I think it’s fairly obvious the LW got a raw deal. She wrote in for advice on how to improve a bad situation, not for validation that not having a right hand is tough and confirmation that the world is evil.
The fact of the matter is this is the only deal she’s got, she’s in charge of changing what she is capable of changing, and if she wants to spend all her time saying that the world is a hellhole that’s 100% full of assholes, then that’s the world she’s going to continue to live in. And this is the problem. The LW has seen the nasty sides of people more than others, but there ARE good people in the world. Happiness doesn’t fall into your lap and nobody is going to give it to you with a little bow on it. LW is going to have to work harder for it, which sucks, but is the long and short of it.
Britannia September 21, 2011, 1:54 am
BGM, I agree with you (surprising as always, LOL). This girl of course did not start out bitter, and it is understandable why she is. However, if she ever wants to find happiness in this world, she needs to decide to be happy despite having been dealt a shitty lot. I hope that she changes therapists, and has a paradigm shift.
CatsMeow September 21, 2011, 10:42 am
I totally see what you’re saying, BGM. I hope that the LW doesn’t think that changing her appearance (hair, clothes, makeup) will automatically make her more attractive to potential mates. However, I do think that a lot of the suggestions she was given by Wendy and others are things that will make her feel better about herself…. And that’s where she needs to start. Right now, the way she sees the world is through a filter of negativity, and she made VERY black-and-white statements (like ALL men in bars are drug addicts, and ALL able-bodied people in relationships with those that are differently abled are fetishists) that are logical fallacise and contribute to her bitterness. It’s also a symptom of depression, as well as placing blame on others when SHE is in charge of her own happiness.
lets_be_honest September 21, 2011, 11:03 am
A great reminder CatsMeow…only YOU are in charge of your own happiness.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 11:45 am
That is exactly the point. You can only control what others perceive of you to a point…so you do your best to make yourself happy and put your best foot forward with the public.
The only point anyone is trying to make here is that the LW’s current attitude is a self-defeating self-fulfilling prophecy…we are not saying her disability is a non-issue period.
bittergaymark September 21, 2011, 11:52 am
I guess. But I think it’s decidedly odd how few people showed any trace of compassion in their responses to this letter. Everybody was all just like — “Ew, stop complaining! No wonder you are all alone!” Meanwhile, people constantly write in here with incredibly vapid, jawdroppingly insipid “problems” and “so-called” dilemmas and the support is usually overwhelming… Yet here we have what is arguably the first REAL problem in a long, long time and everybody is just biting the LW’s head off and telling her to get over it.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 12:03 pm
I definitely agree it’s crazy how the tides sway…I hope I didn’t come across as cold or compassionless (the shirt joke was tongue in cheek)…I just want to make sure that the point of “happiness comes from within” isn’t lost in some of the negativity.
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 11:24 am
I agree with you. I think that saying “I have friends with disabilities and I don’t even notice” is completely besides the point. I can’t tell you the number of times when i’ve been in a room where people were making fun of someone with really bad social skills, being like “what is WRONG with this guy, he’s such a weirdo, he creeps me out”, etc., and I say, “actually, my brother has asperger’s, and based on what ive seen and what i know, it might be that” and then they shut up. And they apologize, sincerely, saying, “I’m very sorry, that was not cool, I didn’t know.” But if i wasn’t there? No one would have felt bad. If I went around telling someone with asperger’s that people don’t care, because I don’t care, I’d be totally wrong. Of course I don’t care. Of course people with friends who have specific disabilities don’t care or notice anymore or think anything of it. Most people, if they got to know individuals with specific disabilities, would not longer care/notice/think. But we can’t have a friend with everything, and when we don’t, we care, or at least we notice.
That’s the point. Everyone is sensitive to things when it affects someone they know. and most people stop/feel bad once it gets personal. People make fun of deaf people’s accents until someone says “actually, my mom is deaf and that is how she speaks” and everyone shuts up, sincerely feeling bad. And same with Chrones, or Cancer, and on. And it doesn’t necessarily make everyone bad people, because there is simply too much crap in the world to be careful about everything. Someone sneezes, and someone asks, “what, you got the HIV?” Really not funny if someone answers, “no, but my best friend does.” But it wouldn’t be nearly as douchy if the answer was, “you know it, and I got it from your mom.” (I tend not to get these jokes anyway, but whatever). LW is not wrong in that it is the people will make fun, just not usually TO the person, because that’s just too far. But its not like she’s stupid and doesn’t know its happening.
(Now you might be saying, my friends don’t make jokes like those, and I don’t think they’re funny. But there is something, something not pc that you do think is funny, as long as there’s no one around to offend.)
But I also agree that the comments to improve LW’s attitude are not bad, nor impractical. All of those changes will help. They won’t fix but they will help.
Adaas September 21, 2011, 1:40 am
Wow, LW. Just…..wow. Let me just say this: you are NOT the only one with problems, and there are issues out there far worse than yours. I have a chronic illness that gives me what you might call a “perfect body.” The price I pay? Constant stomach pain and internal bleeding, increased risk for cancer and being malnourished…needing to run to the bathroom dozens of times a day and oh…crapping my pants randomly if I’m not able to get there fast enough. But you know what? I do what I can to conquer the illness. I don’t let it rule my life. I JOKE about all the bathroom stuff, because if I wasn’t laughing at it…then I’d be like you. So full of self-pity that it REEKS from my every pore.
Change your attitude.
Britannia September 21, 2011, 1:48 am
This isn’t a “I have it worse” contest.
Adaas September 21, 2011, 2:28 am
I didn’t say it was. I was simply pointing out that there are other problems, and not to let them rule your life. I know many people with other issues, but as I don’t personally experience their problems I figured using myself as an example was best.
Adaas September 21, 2011, 2:54 am
I totally didn’t mean to come off that way, that kind of thing is definitely annoying!
Caroline September 21, 2011, 2:05 am
I don’t think this is really constructive for the LW. This will just make her feel defensive, or worse, guilty. I say worse because if she feels guilty, that just may make her feel worse about herself and continue the downward spiral. Like it or not, she wrote in for advice, not for you to tell her how much worse other people have it.
Adaas September 21, 2011, 2:30 am
I see your point in a way, but when I was first diagnosed and asked people for advice (not an advice columnist but people I knew) some of the most helpful advice I received were reminders that it could be worse….nobody likes to hear that at first, but once you’ve adjusted to your problems enough, you need to snap out of living in a constant pity party and try to have a fulfilling life despite whatever the problem may be. Sometimes, others reminding you of this is the only way you’ll snap out of it.
Caroline September 21, 2011, 10:47 am
Yeah I know what you mean. When I have a bad day and I’m wallowing, I’ll try to think of other people who have it worse off and that usually snaps me out of my funk!
Adaas September 21, 2011, 2:55 am
Reading my original comment, I did come across a bit more harsh than I’d intended. People who wallow in self-pity really rub me the wrong way, but life clearly isn’t easy for the LW and she needs encouragement.
Caroline September 21, 2011, 2:10 am
LW – if you’re reading this, I would like to offer a suggestion. Something that may help, I hope. I want you to think of something that you are thankful for. You must have something positive in your life, and I want you to focus on that. There must be something good in your life; at least I hope there is.
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 12:04 pm
I would suggest to everyone to re-read LW’s letter, having gotten everything off our chests yesterday regarding her attitude. When you re-read it today, (at least to me) it read totally differently.
It didn’t seem like LW was saying “dressing nicely” = “dressing slutty”, it seemed that her therapist basically implied that she should dress slutty, because that was the only way she’d attract a ‘fella’ (or a fella-tress); that dressing sharply with good accessories and a good tailor wouldn’t be enough to compensate for the LW’s deficiencies. Which made her angry/bummed her out, rightfully so.
It didn’t seem like LW was saying all people in bars are alcoholics. It seems like she doesn’t want hang out in bars, nor does she want to date an alcoholic, nor does she want to have to meet a guy in a bar by picking him up. I agree this is the hardest one to spin, but i’m going to give her the benefit of bad-wording on this one. A lot of people who are depressed and lonely state that they don’t want to have to meet people in bars, because its tough to sift through the drunken chaft. That’s also fair.
And then she states that she’s disappointed because it seems guys just want to date women with perfect bodies. If she hadn’t thrown in the “porn star” thing, we’d have been a lot more sympathetic. I certainly feel that way, that men only want perfect bodies, even though i know its not true. Because guys (people generally) in bars DO tend to want people with good bodies. I mean, who wouldn’t, if the only point is to go to together bed that night? And people in bars looking to get lucky are really not very “progressive” regarding disabilities and she doesn’t want to be anybody’s “did it for the story” which is fair.
Regarding the sexuality issue, I’m not really getting very strong “I’m a lesbian/bisexual” vibes. Maybe she really is. But it kind of sounds like she just gave up on guys and hoped women would be better, because she doesn’t want to be alone. But even if she is a bisexual, all the same stuff above applies.
Then the next part of the letter is just utter dispair. If you feel hopeless, like no one can love you, of course you’re going to be skeptical that people can love others like you. And there are TONS of fetish stuff on the internet. Happy normal people don’t put up lots and lots of websites showing off their totally normative relationships, they just you know, live a happy little life. It is a non-issue to them, so they’re not especially vocal. But fetishists are much more likely to, and to be really loud about it. So she sees all the fetish crap, feels like no one can love her and questions if anyone could ever love her or someone like her without being one of the fetishists. Not a crime, not even all that surprising. I do that, and I’m not disabled. (see my post above) She isn’t disparaging all relationships between disabled and non-disabled as fetish-relationships; she’s wondering how she can find one, because she really really wants one like that. (basically “I hear they exist, but everything i see seems to be “Fetishy” and i don’t want that”)
So reading the letter as saying “I’m missing my right hand and i’m overweight and I feel really bad about myself. my therapist basically told me to dress like a slut and go to bars, which i don’t want to do, but even if I did/when I do, it doesn’t work because drunken guys (and girls) in bars only want slender girls with two hands. This all makes me sad and feel like giving up. I don’t want a relationship based on fetishes, which through my research clearly do exist, and while I know its possible that people have happy relationships between disabled and non-disabled partners, Ive never seen one and feel like its impossible. I’m so lonely I’m thinking of hiring someone just to give me human comfort. I feel so sad and alone and hopeless. Please help.”
If you read it like that, you’d give different advice, or at least frame it differently. The second day totally changed my opinion of the LW, and i think she deserves both responses. Let’s try reading it this way, and giving her advice.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 12:10 pm
You took so much of the tone out of the letter…of course when you read it like that it sounds reasonable…but how it was written speaks a lot imo….hopefully a DW update can confirm – for the record I also hope you are right.
CatsMeow September 21, 2011, 1:42 pm
I’m with you, 6NB. I think many of us were pretty harsh, and “tough love” isn’t always the best way to motivate someone to change. But I still think that the ONE thing that needs to change for this LW is the way she perceives herself and others. I fully acknowledge that it might be harder for her to find dates than it is for other people. But one of the things I’ve noticed about ANY LW on this site that has trouble finding dates is that the advice is always similar. And much of what Wendy and the rest of us say is along the lines of “Learn to love yourself first.” It’s cliche, but I think it’s true.
amber September 22, 2011, 1:48 pm
I thought about this letter some more and while I can see your point I still think that the reason people said what they did were some of her assumptions about people. Which I’m sure are based on her experiences. However, not everyone who goes to a bar is a drug addict (not saying she has to meet someone there) and not everyone who wants to be her SO is doing it because of a fetish. Also not only ‘perfect’ people have SOs and have sex. Once again I’m sure she is saying this from bad experiences. It’s easy to get jaded when you get called names, are made fun of, have a sucky lot in life, etc. But, it is hard to have a SO who is always negative. I think that is what the majority of DW readers were trying to get across to the LW. Many people had great examples. I think what some people may gloss over with those examples is that they have terrible days were they feel like crap, people treat them like crap, etc. And no one is telling her not to discredit those feelings. But, to try and do things to make herself feel better and learn to value herself and know that what those people say and how they treat her are not a reflection of her worth. And there will be people who see the good things she sees in herself and DW readers don’t want her to let her assumptions get in the way of relationships with those people. If you don’t love yourself and value yourself it is going to be hard for anyone else to love or value you, whether or not you have a disability, are disfigured or are ‘perfect’.
AKchic September 21, 2011, 2:17 pm
Sweetie – you can stop blaming others for your lack of sex. It’s not them. I’m 5’3 and I wear anywhere from a size 10 to a size 16 depending on the brand of clothing. I’m a 34G in bra size and fluctuate between 165 and 190 every month. My hips are still a 38. My waist is a 36 (never did have much of a waist).
Why? Car accident left me with permanent damage and I’m on pain killers constantly. So, I gained a lot of weight. I’m talking: I was 125lbs after 3 kids when I got into my car accident. I was also born with scoliosis in my lower back (which has only gotten worse after four kids). I’m also bipolar.
I’m no beauty. Average looks at best (I look like my grandpa). With all of my problems, I still manage to catch guys (and women) without dressing slutty, without drinking (at bars or not), and still have fun.
Your problems? You are too hooked up on your appearance, your “disabilities” (they can be advantages at times), your problems, your virginity, and negativity. Your depressive state has thrown you into a loop/spiral that you aren’t allowing yourself out of. I don’t know if you are still stuck there because it’s comfortable or what.
Obviously, you don’t like your therapist much. Maybe you should look for a different one. I don’t know if you prefer women because you think it would be easier to have a sexual encounter with one, or if you are truly attracted to them. I think you need to figure that out first. You need to get happier before you can have a sexual encounter. If you are unhappy, sex won’t make you happy. It will be more depressing and might make you spiral out of control.
cecille October 6, 2011, 3:09 pm
hello. i have a congenital defect (left foot). i looked and looked to no avail hoping i can meet people that have the same condition. i searched for images but it’s not amongst them too. i’m searching for answers….
regarding your problem: i’m worse than you are but i am happily married, got two kids and just started a blog. it’s about the physically challenged.
would love to keep in touch with you and know you more. let’s talk defects if you like. 😉
realtalk October 12, 2011, 2:58 am
Dear A Very Lost Soul,
I don’t know that anyone has said this yet, because inevitably the first bunches of responses were people bashing you and your attitude, but it seems like you are in a really rough situation.
Having a disability and trying to date thoughtful, understanding and desirable individuals seems very difficult. I don’t know what that is like, but baby I’ve definitely been around the block and can understand feeling like things don’t get better.
Uhhhg, that feeling, when your whole life everyone and everything around you convinces you that you arent good enough for the status quo.
It’s not easy at all to be empowered and build up confidence. It takes a very long time and incredibly hard work to change the way we think of ourselves.
As for your situation, I do somewhat agree with most of the people who have posted. Attitude is important, confidence says so much about a person. It may be a challenge, but its the only option you’ve got- look at your life and realize who you are and appreciate that person.
Fixing up some time around your schedule to do some things that feed your body and soul can be a good start.
Joining a gym and/or working out a few times a week can help mental health and physical health.
Volunteering, joining clubs, taking different classes/workshops/skillshare courses etc are all really nice ways to meet people and learn a different perspective of the world.
Dating culture is a bunch of crap, I feel you on that. Take a walk down the magazine aisle at the grocery store and notice how many different types of women are marginalized in society.
To change some of your reading habits maybe take a look at Bitch magazine or Bust to gain some different insight on body image and media.
Women with disabilities are definitely an ostracised demographic, and a lot of people DONT understand that sexuality is still important no matter what your physical situation. I’ve had conversations with plenty of friends who are sex therapists, sex workers, and individuals with disabilities. All of them have agreed that hiring a sex worker to meet physical needs is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s actually very very popular in most places in Europe.
Sometimes just having that company is nice. Until you figure out everything else you need to, theres no reason to deprive yourself of good clean fun. Get yourself a nice hired partner who has had experience with people with disabilities and explore your body! Also, dont be afraid to do that on your own either!
Thats it from me, please forgive all of my typos! I really hope that you got a chance to read this and trust that you can have the love you are looking for.
P.s – ditch your therapist.
SassyGirl January 30, 2012, 12:20 pm
Dear a very lost soul,
I understand the bitter situation you have there, but don’t be so discouraged by your birth defect. I was born with an imperfect face myself, a situation which they call with medical term Cavernous Haemangioma, and it caused me to have an asymetrical upper lips….I haven’t dated anyone ever since….now I’m 27 years old virgin, and still no guys ever ask me out for a date or so, eventhough I have a bunch of guy friends….some of them are even very close with me, til a state of hurting because most of the time I fell in love with them, but they didn’t see me in that way. They just take me as their best friend or sister, (I mean who will ever want or dream to have a ugly face girlfriend or daughter in law) and it’s torturous, believe me… But I have lived my imperfect life up till now, I have a lot a lot of good friends and people who love me, support me, and I love them too….everything just goes normal like anyone else except in love and sex, but I’m happy and contended. It’s not that I don’t feel the need to be loved and love, I want to, so bad! But I have learnt to accept myself, struggle hard, and keep on believing. I believe that love will eventually find its way to you and me, just we don’t know exactly when it will happen….Keep looking…Keep believing…. There will be a guy out there in this more than 7 billions world population that will accept you and love you for the way you are….
Lucky you don’t have facial defect, so you even have bigger chance than me to get a guy to love you….. *hug*
I don’t say that it’s easy, but all you have to do is learn to accept and respect yourself, try your best to hone your god-given-talent, make lots and lots of self improvement on personality and character….learn to be thankful…. Life is never fair, but it’s not a mistake to be born with physical defects….