Since I’ve briefly touched on the anxiety and related problems I’ve been having lately, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that I’m not the most confident, sure-of-myself person in the world. I can definitely feel insecure about myself, and I often turn to books to comfort myself. The problem is: what do I do when books are the things making me feel kind of bad about myself? Because, though I hate to admit that the less-good things in books can have such an affect on me, books can make me feel more insecure than I might otherwise feel.
This topic came about when I was rereading the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series last month. It was definitely a comfort reread for me, immersing myself in a series that I knew was fun and fluffy for me. And, for about 95% of my reread, it was (and 4% of that was probably the fourth book, where the protagonist was suffering with anxiety of her own and it hit a little too close to home) – it was that one, little thing that still managed to make me feel quite bad about myself in a way that I really don’t normally: it made me feel insecure about my feet.
I know, I know, that’s a really odd thing to feel insecure about, especially for me. I can feel insecure about just about anything else body-wise, but I’ve always been happy with my feet. I have large feet – I typically wear 9s and 10s in US women’s size, which is much larger than most of my friends and family – I wear the size as my taller friends, and at 5″4, I’m definitely not one of the taller girls in my group of friends. That makes me feel kind of proud of myself for an unknown reason; but, mainly I love my feet because I know, no matter what size I am, I’ll pretty much always wear the same size shoes, whether I’m a size 0 or 20 (I mean, I’m sure there’ll be some difference, but nearly as much as you would have with a pair of jeans). So, I love shoe shopping way more than clothes shopping because it just makes me feel so much less insecure.
So, it really, really sucks when the Secrets series makes me feel insecure about something that normally never bothers me. You see, the protagonist wears size 9 (which means her feet are probably a little smaller because I’m sure she would have made a bigger deal of it if she wore size 10 sometimes), and whenever she refers to her feet, she’s always complaining about them, calling them “hoofers,” “hooves,” and other names with negative connotations. Whenever I read that, it makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with my feet, even though I know there’s not. I can’t control the size of my feet (unless I bind them, I guess, which is obviously not a good idea), so why should I worry about it? And, for the most part, I don’t.
For some reason, though, seeing a protagonist complain about it so much makes me feel bad. And that gets me thinking about similar cases – like, how much it must suck to have brown hair or brown eyes because protagonists seem to complain about that color the most, always calling the color dull and boring and the like.
We already live in a society that seems to want to make us feel bad about ourselves in at least one way – so, why do our beloved books have to do that as well? Maybe the author thought including it would make the protagonist seem more relatable, less flawless, but it just makes me feel worse about myself rather than better about the character whose story I’m reading.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who can feel bad about stupid, little things because of the books I read!