Beyond the Pages: The Thing About Insecurity Then Vs. Now For Me

Beyond the Pages is my way of sharing the things books make me think about and interact with and want to talk about shared experiences with people. Some of my best conversations have happened because of something that came up in a book. I’m pretty personal in my reviews but I’d like a way to not bog down my review with a huge paragraph of personal experience so this is my way to be able to share it. Some times it will be serious and sometimes just random and fun but I hope we can connect! PAST Beyond the Pages here!

 

 

The book that inspired this conversation:

Dumplin' cover

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
(Goodreads // Amazon )
Check out my review of Dumplin’

What It Is About:

Willowdean has always been the fat girl and she’s always been pretty okay with that despite the normal teenage insecurities. It’s never been a THING for her. Until she gets a job and crushes on one of her hot co-workers who totally ends up liking her back. And then insecurities and what people think get the best of Willowdean and makes her second guess herself and if Bo could really like her. So she decides to remind herself of how confident she is and enters a beauty pageant (that her mother is the coordinator of) — an act that sparks a little bit of a revolution when a couple of other girls, who are inspired by Willowdean’s bravery, to join with her despite them not looking like the usual beauty pageant contestant.

What It Got Me Thinking About:

insecurities for me as a young person vs. insecurities now

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There was so much to love and appreciate in Dumplin’ and so much it made me think about but the biggest thing I thought about while reading was High School Jamie and how insecure she was and then I thought a lot about insecurities in the lens of 30 Year Old Jamie. Julie Murphy really did a great job portraying those high school insecurities. Through Willowdean, who mostly loves and accepts her body how it is, we see this vulnerability that we have as young people when it comes to how we see ourselves because it’s mostly always through the filter of how the world sees us. We see how hard it becomes to be confident of the things you love/accept about yourself when it seems the world makes it so easy for those self-conscious feelings or insecurities attach themselves to you like a leech that drains your confidence. How it becomes easy to feel like you need to change because other people think you should. How it becomes easy to loathe yourself or to judge yourself harshly — for things you might have not ever noticed before.

When I think about High School Jamie (have you met her??) I think about how fraught she was about these insecurities. How it affected her. How she’d be wondering constantly if other people were thinking about these things about her or talking about them amongst themselves. There was constant vigilance to make sure these things were in check. I just think of how high school was just this time where I found new things to hate about myself that I might have previously loved or not even noticed about myself and how everyone else’s perception of me felt SO IMPORTANT.

Let’s take a moment to talk about some of High School Jamie’s biggest insecurities (definitely not all..but the ones that ruled my life the most):

  1. “Acne” — omg I didn’t even have acne (some breakouts, yes) but yet it felt like everyone around me had flawless Covergirl skin.
  2. My lack of boobs — Yeah, I kept waiting for those things to arrive and they never did. I was SO SO SO self conscious about this to a point of neurosis I think. I would back out of things like pool parties if I knew guys would be there because I was so insecure of the fact that I couldn’t even fill an A cup. I would feel ashamed listening to guys talk in classes about girls and boobs and how attractive they thought they were.
  3. My ears — so this one stems from childhood. My family used to joke about how big my ears are and how I looked like Dumbo. I literally NEVER wore my hair up in high school.
  4. my curly/frizzy hair — It seemed like everyone had shiny flat-ironed hair and as much as I tried to do that my hair never looked like that. (THANK GOD FOR BETTER HAIR TOOLS SINCE MY HIGH SCHOOL YEARS)
  5. how easily I would blush — oh god, if the teacher called on me my face would get bright red, if I was embarrassed it would get bright red. And I would fixate on it so much that it probably made my face even MORE red.

 

I think the thing High School Jamie would have assumed is that insecurities would go away as you get older. I’m 30 and I would hate to have to report to her that I still rarely wear my hair up outside of the apartment or that I still feel super self-conscious in a bathing suit because I can’t fill any top and look like a flat-chested little boy. Sure, I’ve grown out of some of these insecurities but some of them are still there or other new and different ones have cropped up.

But I would be happy to report to her that:

Some insecurities may still be there in some form but the way you handle them is so much different. I don’t let them run me and I just quite simply don’t care as much what other people think — it doesn’t make or break me. That was my issue as a high schoolerI let these things rule me because I wanted acceptance and love from other people more than I wanted to accept and love myself. I think at 30 I’ve come to accept things about myself, even though moments of insecurity can creep in, and in some cases my view has changed about them — like my curly hair; it’s just a part of who I am and I’ve come to embrace it in ways. I don’t find myself obsessing over my insecurities or letting them rule me. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

 

I think one of the things I’m learning about adulthood is that certain things that you experience as a young person don’t simply disappear as you get older…you just learn to deal with them differently/better and your tools for handling it are sharper. It could also be that you just simply run out of shits to give –you only have so much you can worry or care about and something has to give. ONLY A FINITE AMOUNT OF SHITS TO BE GIVEN.

 

 

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Tell me your thoughts about insecurities or anything related! If you are at a place that you can reflect about your insecurities from high school and are feeling brave….tell me what your biggest insecurities were! Also, do you feel like as an adult you’ve found insecurities to be different for you than when you were a teen?

 

P.S: Beyond the Pages – You Aren’t Good Enough The Way You Are // Beyond the Pages: Enjoying It For What It Is

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I love this post! Actually in High School I was a cheerleader but I was wracked with insecerties. Same as in college. I was a sorority girl but again I was deeply insecure. I am MORE secure now at 286 pounds than I ever was as a cheerleader or the prez of my sorority. I get a LOT of flack for my weight gain (I am working on losing weight to be healthy) but I am so much more secure in who I really am as a book nerd and an introvert.

    • Thanks for sharing! It is interesting when I look back at my high school life that it didn’t matter how many friends I had or if I had a boyfriend or whatever…it still couldn’t take away those insecurities. I think I always thought “I’ll be more confident if X happens or if I get x” but it never happened. And looking back now it’s a lesson I think I was starting to learn…that confidence and loving/accepting myself was always going to be an internal battle.

  2. “… certain things that you experience as a young person don’t simply disappear as you get older…you just learn to deal with them differently/better…” YES. THIS. I still get zits. I still have too-wide hips that are constantly bruised because I still don’t think about how wide they are when I’m trying to walk around things. I still can’t sing worth a damn. BUT. We eventually have to come to accept these things about our selves and just deal with them. That’s part of growing up!

    My insecurities as an adult tend to be more about things that I can actually change, that I *should* change, but that I haven’t changed yet for whatever reason. I think when you’re young, your body and your personality is still growing and so subconsciously you tend to worry more about those things — like you’re afraid you’ll be doomed to be an awkward teenager forever. As an adult, you eventually get used to that stuff that you can’t change about yourself (even if you still don’t like it), and you start to get insecure about all the things that you should be doing to be successful / make a mark on the world / just generally not fuck everything up like a complete idiot. (Well, I do anyway.) Now I’m insecure about things like how terrible I am at knitting or whether my boss thinks I spend too much time on Twitter instead of working (because I do).

    Anyway, cool discussion topic! And I love the Lady Gaga gif you used in this post. 🙂

  3. Brilliant post!

    “I let these things rule me because I wanted acceptance and love from other people more than I wanted to accept and love myself.” – So well put. This really struck a chord with me, because I know I spent far too much time as a teenager thinking it mattered what other people thought, or thinking other people had negative thoughts about me in the first place.

    If I’m completely honest it’s stuff I still struggle with now at 24. Not as badly as I used to because I’ve grown up a lot since then, but I still have a long way to go before I feel completely comfortable with myself. For me my biggest issue has always been my weight, and I know logically that’s something I could easily change. I could just do some exercise (I keep saying I’m going to) but I’m so ridiculously self-conscious about my body that the thought of going to the gym and exercising in front of other people makes me feel a bit sick. At the same time I know I’m never going to be slim; even if I was as fit as an Olympic athlete I wouldn’t be slim because that’s just now how my body is made, and when I was a teenager I wish I hadn’t allowed myself to put myself down all the time. I had terrible self-esteem, and it’s only in recent years that I’ve been able to look in the mirror and say ‘I look quite pretty today’.

    For me I think my relationship with my body is one that I’m still working out, but I think I like myself a lot more than I did when I was a teenager and that’s got to count for something.

    Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂

  4. Oh gosh, my biggest insecurity in high school was this feeling that I was somehow not as desirable as my friends. In high school, my closest friends all had boyfriends and I never did. I was too proud to admit it bothered me, but it really wasn’t very good for my shaky self-confidence. These days I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin (finally, thank goodness) and I’m relaxed about being single, but every now and again the insecurity still comes back.

    It’s less about needing to feel attractive though; now that most of my old classmates are getting engaged/married/having babies, I’m more insecure about the fact that I’m nowhere near that milestone. At the same time, I have a far clearer view of my life plans now that I can stop myself when I start comparing myself to others whose lives are on completely different paths! So I suppose my insecurities have actually gotten more existential, but I also have the tools to deal with it? I’m only 24 though, so I’m still learning! Great discussion topic! 😀

  5. I can relate to this post! When I was in high school, I was worried about how I didn’t know where I wanted to go after high school and what I wanted to do with my life. It seemed like everyone else around me at least knew what was their ideal college of choice. I was worried also about not being interested in things everyone else was and how to talk to others. I was really introverted back then.

  6. Omg Jamie I feel like I could have written this post myself! I felt the exact same ways in high school and sometimes even now. I have this weird thing about my jawline that I hate and so I NEVER wear my hair up. I used to really freak out about things I was sure people were thinking about me, when they were definitely never thinking of me at all. I’m thankful for the progress I’ve made in self confidence and assurity now thay I’m 23 but still feel those adolescent fears and anxieties creeping back in now and then.

    I loved Dumplin for the same reasons. It was great to see this character who portrayed confidence and awesomeness on the outside but was insecure and struggling on the inside, much like how I feel now.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post! It’s always so nice to connect with people who feel the same way 💜

  7. Oh my gosh – your insecurities in highschool were basically my insecurities. Except trade in the acne fears for being extremely pale. As in, when I’m getting my legs out, the world should put on their sunnies so they don’t get blinded. I lost most of those insecurities when I finished school, but they were replaced by others.

    But in the last year or so – especially since turning 30 this year – I’ve decided that I just don’t care what anyone else thinks. My hair looks like a birdsnest most of the time – who cares? I’m still ridiculously pale and do need a little bit of makeup to actually look alive; but sometimes I go out WITH NO MAKEUP – who cares? I figure everyone else is probably too worried about themselves to really be bothered with me that much.

    It’s nice being at an age and a stage in my life when I can go out, do whatever, and give little thought to what people might think about it.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post – it is really nice to see other on a similar wavelength.

  8. I also feel a bit self conscious about the fact that I severely lack in the boob department, but thank God for good bras that make it look like I have something there, haha. I think it’s more because all the guys around me always talked about how boobs make a woman attractive, but now I decided that my attractiveness is not defined by that anymore 🙂

    I also had problems with my skin. I used to scratch at my spots and that made wounds and scabs, especially on my forehead which is quite big – it made it stand out even more. I still don’t like to look at photo’s where I was in that period..

    I think you are so right. It’s not like we forget about those insecurities, but it’s that we learn how to deal with them in a more mature, positive way.

  9. I’m in my last year of high school atm, and honestly I feel like I’m already at the stage where I give absolutely no shits. It’s funny, I used to be extremely self-conscious of my larger-than-average boobs (opposite of you lmao) and of my height (I’m 5’1) and loads of other stuff back in freshman year, but probably the day I began 10th grade I realized that none of this stuff really matters; I’m most likely not going to see these people after a few years, so what’s the big deal? Though, some would say I have a bit of an ego (I like to call it confidence) which they say is just as bad as having low-self esteem. Oops. Amazing post btw!

  10. “I let these things rule me because I wanted acceptance and love from other people more than I wanted to accept and love myself.” So much THIS. This had been such a huge problem for me in high school. I let other people dictate how I felt about myself, and ugh, I’m *mostly* over that. I’m still really insecure, especially about my appearance. I don’t like how I look, not often, and it’s something I’ll be working on forever, accepting my body and my appearance. But I don’t let my low self-esteem rule me as much as it used to, but it’s still hard, and I think I will ALWAYS be working on loving myself and feeling confident with who I am and how I look. And I think that’s okay, because who I am now is definitely different from high school me. High school me was so insecure and quiet and shy, and I’m still all of those things, but in different ways and with different intensities. I just need to NOT let it make or break me, as I’ve done before.

    It’s really interesting thinking about who you were in high school versus now, and looking back and being able to recognize this stuff and knowing you’re in a better place than you were back then. This makes me even MORE excited to read Dumplin’. I have a good feeling I’ll love the book and be able to relate to Willowdean a lot. It’s always wonderful when you read a book that makes you think beyond the pages. Lovely post, girl, and thank you for sharing. 🙂