Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort we experience when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting ideas, beliefs or emotions. Of course we experience this kind of dissonance, to a greater or lesser degree, all the time but this week I encountered a perfect moment when I was on the phone with my beloved sister-sister and she was giving me a sound talking to, asking me if I could hear her when she told me I was beautiful. Of course I could HEAR her but I couldn't believe her. I have always felt confident that I was "beautiful inside" but outside...I always felt like a fraud. No matter how many cat calls or compliments or phone numbers or second takes or well meaning loved ones I was always more aware of the 'flaws'. Having grown up sandwiched between my beloved brother one:
and my beloved brother two:
I was convinced at an early age that I was nightmarishly, shave your ass and walk around backwards, homely. Of course this impression was reinforced by other prominent males in my life during the formative years. Eventually it became an established truth. As my friend questioned me, I pondered her opinion. The opinion of someone who has NEVER bullshitted me. I retracted my dysmorphic self image long enough to question its validity. I started to laugh. Maybe I don't know anything. Not even what I look like. This realization has left me somewhat baffled and greatly entertained. Life is a funny playground isn't it and sometimes we discover that the rules we imagined written in stone were never really rules at all.