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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Why I Am No Farrah Fawcett

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

This pearl of wisdom came from my mother when I was in my 20’s and struggling mightily with body image and self-acceptance.  We were in the car, going to or from an airport as I remember it, and I was venting my insecurities about my appearance and shame about my figure.  Mom was trying to reassure me, that I am, in fact, an attractive person.

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

This was the qualifier she felt the need to add, in case being told that I am an attractive person might blow my head up in delusions of grandeur; or, as the case may be, pin-up status.  Obviously I did not need to be told that I am no Farrah Fawcett—the tears and anxiety about my looks should have held the clue.  But my mom is of the real old-school; walk it off, tough it out, rise and shine, there’s no crying in baseball and, as my Dad was fond of saying, rarely has a thought cross her mind that doesn’t quickly hit her lips.

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

And truthfully, mom’s parenting strategy worked; I’m tough as nails.  Tenacious, persistent and indefatigable (by necessity, not preference); and like mom, my brain-tongue barrier is tenuous at best, especially when there is an elephant in the room.  I even made peace with my body, albeit later in life than I would have hoped, but better late than never, as mom would undoubtedly say.

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

Okay, so when Farrah was my age, she was posing in Playboy magazine and rolling around nude on canvasses covered with paint to create her “art”.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!  I really AM no Farrah Fawcett, let’s face it; although I did admire her beauty and spirit, may she rest in peace.

No, I am no Farrah Fawcett, so when I recently met an adorable boy-genius-dentist-plastic-surgeon, I immediately started complaining about the aging process rather than showing him my latest centerfold.  This bright, engaging, polite young man argued with me, not in the typical oh-don’t-worry-you-look-great-for-your-age way that whippersnappers often do, but rather in the logical everybody-ages-and-that’s-how-it-is-supposed-to-work-so-suck-it-up kind of way. 

But I am tenacious, persistent and indefatigable, as I mentioned, so I railed on a bit more about the unfairness of it all.  Wah-wah-wah.  As I persistently bitched, he started scrolling through his phone, which is a young person thing to do I guess (although he seemed so polite!) and honestly I’ll bet the first thing everybody does when they learn someone they met is a plastic surgeon is to start complaining about their looks (well, Farrah Fawcett would not have done that, but as we’ve established I am no Farrah Fawcett). Finally, after a minute or so he holds up his screen for me to see what he was searching for:


 Now, this is the first time I had ever encountered this person in my life and he literally knows nothing about me (well, except the fact that I will complain to perfect strangers), so he had no inkling of my troubled past with the former Charlie’s Angel.  He asked me then, quite seriously, “Do you know who this is?”  And of course I burst out laughing.


He then said, again quite seriously, “That is Farrah Fawcett.  She was married to The Six Million Dollar Man, you know.”  These kids today!  History buffs, I’m telling you!

He goes back to scrolling and shows me another picture—this time, the iconic bathing suit poster that every teenage boy in the 70’s (including my brother) had hanging on his wall.  I am enchanted that he thinks he’s somehow educating me; I saw this shot every damn day of my life when I was in elementary school.  But that is exactly what is about to happen—he is going to teach me something.

 “Do you see her?  That is what YOU look like.”

Um, what?  Say what, kid?  You obviously don’t understand that it has been confirmed that I am no Farrah Fawcett!!!!!

I could write something disingenuous here, like how I had forgotten my mom even said that until the moment he made the comparison, but no; I had not forgotten.  The sincerity with which the whippersnapper assured me that I look, to his eyes, like Farrah Fawcett (“That’s you all over!”) felt like a weird sort of full-circle homecoming thing.  My mom’s qualifier, meant as an obvious statement of fact and not a cruel jibe, had nevertheless stuck in my craw for oh these many moons (that’s something we older people say when we mean a long time). 

The kindness and generosity of not only this young man specifically but the universe in general was not lost on me.

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

Turns out, it’s a matter of opinion.  Of perception.  In the eye of the beholder.

The reason I am telling you about this, apart from obviously to brag about the fact that a guy practically young enough to be my son thinks I bear some small resemblance to a complete and total knockout, is to remind myself once more to watch what I say and watch what I think.  Because words are so damned powerful, and we cast a spell, whether deliberately or not, when we use them.  But also to remind you that you are being heard.

And not just by your children, not just by the people you are deliberately communicating with, not just by Alexa and Siri; you are being heard and answered by a vast and unfathomable consciousness that always knows the perfect answer to your queries.  Some call it God, or a "Higher Power", but I think those terms are too limiting and localized.  There is a sea of energy, an intelligence that connects us all and communicates with us constantly.

We see it demonstrated through things we call "coincidence" and "serendipity" and "synchronicity", but these are actually just reflections of our powerful thoughts and beliefs.  If you are being completely honest with yourself, you will have to admit that the self-fulfilling prophecy is not an occasional occurrence; it is a way of life for most everyone you know.  It's not magic; it's not voodoo; we act on what we think and believe and those actions bring fairly predictable results.

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

So what is the takeaway here?  First, with apologies to mom, if what you are about to say has zero constructive value

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

then please--just don't say it.  But because we cannot control others (only our REACTION to others, grrr, how annoying) PLEASE don't let other people dictate your moods, behaviors or ideas about yourself

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

and understand that the judgments and perceptions of others only have the power you do or do not give them. 

But when that sweet and sincere young man told me that to his perception, I am Farrah Fawcett "all over", it meant something more to me than one person's opinion.  It meant that somehow, someway, after all of those years of having that off-the-cuff remark

“I mean, you’re no Farrah Fawcett.”

stuck in my consciousness, somehow, someway...

I really did not believe it.  If I had really believed it, there is NO WAY in the universe I could have "randomly" encountered someone who, however unlikely it may seem, directly and specifically contradicted the idea.  It works this way for all of us, btw, so pay very close attention to the messages you are receiving.

They tell you the truth about what you believe (which you could change TODAY if necessary.)


So choose carefully, because only you can prevent forest fires* (of your consciousness).

*total 70s reference.  I tell you, I'm REALLY showing my age!




  1. Thank God(dess) you aren't walking around with that phony smile and doctored photos. Thank God you're real. Your mom sounds like a piece of work, though. My mom used the go over the moon with praise when I starved myself half to death technique. She thought I showed my superior will (learned from her) and ability to succeed in life by eating 500 calories a day. I believed her for way too long.

    1. I really struggled with my body too and self-denial was my way of life for many years. I have turned a corner on that and had been planning to write about the Farrah Fawcett comment BEFORE I encountered this young man. His (not so) coincidental comparison assured me that I am on the right path, however slowly I may be moving!

  2. I think one of my uncles had that Farrah poster hanging up years ago. Iconic.
    "...the judgments and perceptions of others only have the power you do or do not give them." My grandfather often said words to this effect. It's so true and so important when it comes to honing our perception of self. Great post, Kara.

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