On Being Ugly

Hey there! My name's Cameron Lowe, and I'm about to throw myself under a bus. This is me:

Ugh, I know, right? Jeez, what a loser.
Ugh, I know, right? Jeez, what a loser.

Right! I'm four hundred pounds. Sometimes it's a lot less depending on the year I'm having, sometimes it's more, but it usually winds up being around that mark. I used to be six foot even, now I'm five eight. I have glasses thicker than just about anyone you'll ever meet, and I can't use contacts or get eye surgery due to the unique nature of my severe astigmatism and eye problems, leaving me a really handsome motherfucker, especially combined with my Mr. Potatohead face.

Let's go over some things you're not seeing in this picture. FIrst, you can kinda tell that my head is tilted forward. That's due to ankylosing spondylitis, a disease that has left my back with an unnatural curve. Not only does it help make me even fuglier, but I get the joy of living my life permanently staring at chest level, which leaves me, already the fattest hunchback of Notre Dame you've ever met, looking like even more of a creeper.

Also on top of that head is a knob of bone and flesh, a leftover from skull surgery as an infant. There's a half-foot long scar running down my head, hidden by my one and only good feature - my hair (and yes, it's all natural - rawr). I have scale-like crusting all along the insides of my legs due to a pelvic injury I suffered about a year and a half ago. My toenails are regularly not clipped because I can't reach them, and there sure as hell isn't much going on below the belt. Sorry, long-time fans. I hate to disappoint you on that end.

I was bullied about all this and more for years. Not easygoing teasing either. I mean, full-on me sitting naked in a locker room crying with a fractured rib from the beating I just took from bullies because I couldn't fight back kind of bullying. Me screaming for help from other guys when I was getting the shit kicked out of me the next week kind of bullying. The kind of bullying that maybe sends you into a lifelong spiral of near-depression and a self-loathing I'll never recover from. That kind of bullying.

Yeah. I don't much like myself. And that's just for the physical reasons.

Why bring all this up? Why the holy hell would I make myself a target like this?

Well... because I want people to be better. And because of this:

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Now look. I completely agree Cate Blanchett is a stunningly talented woman and incredibly beautiful. But calling out her husband like this is frankly an astonishingly petty move, especially from someone from whom I'd expect anything but comments like this. It's vindictive. It's a low blow. If this guy looks like a statistics teacher, what do I look like? What does any person considered to be ugly look like?

There are a lot of reasons to dislike a person. You want to dislike me because I'm an asshole, buddy, I agree with you a thousand percent. But this guy has done literally nothing to deserve this. Maybe he's a great guy. Maybe he's the nicest dude on the planet. Maybe he's just someone Cate Blanchett enjoys spending her days with, and her him. Or maybe they don't need a reason at all to be in love and married. Maybe that's their life, and maybe the surface-level bullshit you're judging him on doesn't actually matter.

This bugs me. This really bugs me. I've been single now for ten years. Ten freaking years. I've had a few dates here and there but that's about it. And why? It's not because women perceive me as ugly. There are loads of fantastic women out there who judge a man based on his character and strength, not his looks, and I greatly look forward to falling deeply, stupidly in love with one of them someday. I'm single because, quite honestly, I don't see myself in any good light. Part of that is personal - I am a bundle of stunted human emotions wrapped up in a bunch of life failures - but at least half of that is from the way I've perceived myself since the earliest days of my bullying. I am an ugly man. And while I can't really go back and give myself the confidence I need to even approach a normal relationship, I can at least try to stand up for a stranger (even if he'll never read this or care). And I can say this - we can be better than this.

Thanks for reading.

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