Notions of Beauty, or Why I Hate Seinfeld

I’ve never been traditionally beautiful. Even when I was a fit seventeen-year-old, walking an hour a day with a backpack full of books and a high metabolism, I wasn’t. I’ve got some major eye issues — which my poor boy has unfortunately inherited with a side-order of extra crap that is recessive in me and I never knew about. I’ve had glasses since I was a toddler and my left eye tends to wander, especially when I’m tired. My sole criterion for a good photo of me when I was younger was, “Are both my eyes pointed the same direction?”

If my curly hair wasn’t frizzy, that was a bonus.

This was basically me.

This was basically me.

Still, one of the benefits of getting older — at least for me — is that I’ve grown more comfortable in my skin. I’m no longer the fit seventeen-year-old that I was, but I’ve at least figured out which way to stand to get that bloody left eye to cooperate, and found a hair product that tames the frizz.

But there’s a health issue that’s recently cropped up for me. One that’s made me as self-conscious about my appearance as I was when I was a pimply teenager.

When I was in my early 20s I was diagnosed with nodules on my thyroid. They were small and benign, and the specialist said that he wouldn’t do anything to treat them until I was done having kids. I was meant to get them scanned every couple of years, but with one thing and another I kind of lost track of it. For over a decade. (Oops…)

Then, last year, I went to a friend’s birthday party. He was running around with his new camera, and snapped a few pictures of me. When I saw them, I was quietly horrified. Sure, the Eye was behaving and my hair was okay, but what the hell was going on with my throat?!

Turns out that, in the last decade, those nodules have been slowly growing. Now the biggest of them is over 3cm long, and it’s got a bunch of smaller friends. The end result is that I have a visible goitre. It’s been increasingly noticeable in photos over the last year or two, and now I’m aware of it, it’s all I can see. (It’s even in my profile pic on this blog, which makes me want to set everything on fire.)

And, dear glob, I hate it. Because books and fashion magazines tell us that women are meant to have swan-like necks. And because, not long before I got the original diagnosis, I saw an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine went to see a person with a goitre and oh god, cue the laugh track.

Because physical deformity is funny, yo.

I’ve got a friend who’s a Seinfeld nut, and he assures me that the source of the show’s humour was in the characters’ inappropriate, awful reactions when presented with things that were abnormal. And that may be true, but it doesn’t really help me be comfortable with my “abnormality”. (And since I hate pranks and laughing at others’ expense, that’s why I will always and forever hate that show. Sorry, Mikey.)

Anyway, I got a referral to a specialist back in December, and am waiting impatiently for my appointment. Because now I’m not planning more children. And maybe it’s just because I’ve become more aware of my throat over the past three months, but I can feel the pressure when I swallow now. It’s like having something stuck in my throat. Not cool, body! So it’s definitely time to treat this sucker.

Apparently my choices are radioactive iodine treatment or surgery. I’m barracking* for the first option, because I’m hopeful I’ll get superpowers. And the idea of deliberately letting someone cut my throat makes me want to run screaming.

* Barrack (Australian English) v:to shout boisterously for or against a player or team; root** or jeer.

**Root (Australian and NZ English) v: a replacement for the f-bomb. Eg “you’re rooted” or “let’s root”.

I feel like I should end this post with a well-constructed argument about how people should be careful when making fun of something that another person can have or be. And there is something to that. But the truth is that I’m terrified about posting this in the first place — especially since I almost never post personal things on the intertubes — so a well-constructed argument is beyond me. So instead I will end with a cat giving a high five.

Superpowers, ahoy!

High five

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