Topknots and Parachute Pants
I have always struggled with body image and self worth. The two together, I mean. Separately, those things are easy, but when you start to link them, problems emerge. I should have negative body image. I am overweight - that immediately predisposes me to all types of medical nonsense. My negative body image should propel me to suppress my gluttony, and hopefully improve my body image and life expectancy.
No, the problems begin when your body image and self worth meet and start to think they're one another. These two are an extremely bad influence on each other. They're co-dependent and self-destructive; they're the Sid and Nancy of personality traits (all I know of Sid and Nancy, I learned from that episode of The Simpsons).
Once they're confused for one another, they start to satisfy themselves: "Oh, I'm fat so I'm worthless", "Oh, I'm worthless, so what does it matter how fat I am?". And so the spiral descends. I don't want to dwell on this too much because I risk repeating myself, and I feel like this is simple.
Unfortunately, unlinking these thoughts from each other isn't - I've felt like my appearance informs my worth for most of my adult life. It causes trust issues (why on earth would they value me; I'm vile), over-eating, depression, low self esteem, and probably a load of other undesirable personality traits. These are the things that really do alienate people, and that alienation feeds back into you in a glorious loop, from which it's very difficult to escape.
Fortunately, however, last year I found something of a foothold in all of this. A friend (who probably isn't even aware of the impact) bought me a pair of parachute pants for my 30th birthday. This is a garment on which I've always held an outwardly negative opinion. Mostly because the people who wear them seem so sure of themselves. They don't give a shit what people think. As I write, I realise I'm over-thinking all of this. The fact that someone, whom I admire and respect, deemed me worthy of parachute pants made me question the reliability of my view of myself. I now wear these parachute pants with pride and confidence, like I don't even consider what people are saying (and if they're saying something negative, I get to call them a hater. This is like a dream!)
A symptom of my diminished self esteem is the length of my hair. Longer equals lower. Lately my hair is the longest it's been in years, because I deem myself unworthy of a visit to the barber. What's the point in polishing a turd?
I always wear a hat. The other day I absent-mindedly removed it, and someone noticed my ridiculous hair, and complimented it. Another friend I deeply admire and respect. Someone else suggested it's long enough for a topknot. The topknot is another reviled style choice; the parachute pants of the hair world. These people (what do you mean "these people"?!) so full of themselves–so arrogant–that they wear this ridiculous hairstyle without a single consideration for what people think. This is exactly the sort of hairstyle you should wear. A hairstyle that says "fuck you, I do what I want". Everything you do should say this.
So here I am, sitting on my sofa in my parachute pants and my new topknot. Trying to remind myself that the way I look has no bearing on my value as a person, a husband, a father, a friend. The way I look is the way I look, and the only impact that needs to have on my self-worth is a positive one or none at all. At a job interview; dress for the position you want. In life, dress for the confidence you want. I guess. God that reads like a douchebag wrote it. Wait. Am I a douchebag? Parachute pants, topknot. Oh no. Oh god no.