If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a behind-the-scenes reel Roxie posted recently that made me cringe more than they usually do. Seeing oneself in photos and video is weird. That’s fine. But this particular video was exceptionally unflattering. Often the “behind the scenes” footage includes some shots taken from behind me. There’s my actual behind.
I reviewed this video and immediately thought “oh god, it’s bubble butt.” Now, I better than anyone, know that angles, poses, lighting and where clothing cuts off makes all the difference in how short or wide a person looks. So I corrected my first thought, and said out loud “Man, that vest makes me look short.” Because lesson numero uno:
It’s never you, you are perfect. It’s the clothing, the angle, the pose, the light. Those are the problems.
I know this. But that first reaction-thought kept bugging me. Who’s voice did I hear? It wasn’t actually mine. You know who called me bubble butt? Simon, in 7th grade Home Ec. Seriously…. can you believe at almost 44 years old, I’m still hearing 7th grade Simon in my head?
Once I got to college, it turned out all sorts of people found me attractive. I was still hearing bubble butt when I looked in the mirror, but turns out NYC had much more complimentary things to say. I could replace his voice with any number of others’. Maybe 7th Grade Simon was just wrong.
He really was hurtful. Enough that he still sneaks up on me long after he’s forgotten about it. So 7th Grade Simon? What was his deal?
I thought about myself in 7th grade. I was terrified of the world, the other kids, school, my parents, The Future. Was 7th Grade Simon terrified too? Was he trying to show off or be cool or some accomplish some act of social hazing?
I’ll never know. But just considering that 7th Grade Simon was acting out of something other than meanness makes me feel better about the whole thing. Empathizing for him made his voice lose power, lose volume in my head.