My Pale Skin – Atelophobia

Was not sure if I would write today, because I’m not letting myself feel nice consistently. Here’s what I’ve looked like this morning:

“Weather is nice this morning. Fall is coming. I feel pretty good…”

      “Might as well not feel good because it’s transient. Don’t get used to the refreshing fall air, temperatures are going to rise again. Not that it really matters, you won’t be able to stay positive regardless of the weather.”

“I feel pretty comfortable right now…”

      “Yeah, you feel comfortable, but you’re just going to crash in your bed and not be able to wake up, and then you’re going to feel like shit.”

“I feel really angry right now and I’m working myself up.”

       *crying, imagining myself yelling at the person who made me angry, getting even angrier.*

“I feel okay now. Crying is good.”

Okay, hopefully I’ve adequately put my morning in a cute little nutshell. Before my anger episode, I came upon something that positively affected me. To combat my negative feelings as they attack or creep up on me, I’ve lately been trying to identify, piece by piece, the seed from which the depressive episodes stem. Not seed—germ. Pathogen. Parasite. This new word I’ve learned today, “Atelophobia.”

Atelophobia is the fear of imperfection, the fear of never being good enough. The overarching symptom, naturally, is low self-esteem. And low self-esteem has all sorts of symptoms within itself.

I found this word because I have very pale skin, and do a lot of googling about makeup foundation that truly passes the pale/ghost test. Any fair skinned makeup lovers know that the lightest shades of many foundations will be a few shades noticeably too dark for us. So we have to do a little extra research.

This morning I ended up on a blog called My Pale Skin by a woman named Em. She actually has a really wonderfully done video called “You Look Disgusting,” which my boyfriend’s sister had posted a few months ago. I was exploring the blog a bit when I saw the thumbnail for a post You might also like called “The Fear of Never Being Good Enough.”

The intro resonated as expected: “Do you ever have one of those days where you wish and long for the ground to swallow you up, where you look in the mirror and over analyze your entire face, body and mind… Do you open your blog in the hope of finding some inspiration and stare at the blank page for what seems like hours on end?”

Yes! And I already know I’m not alone, because I’ve spent plenty of time on the Internet.

But the third paragraph intrigued me: “If you suffer from Atelophobia, low self esteem or one of many other issues, there are times where you just want to sit in a dark room by yourself, hug a teddy bear and block out the outside world. I’ve no shame in admitting that I have many of these evenings and have spent many days wishing time away so I can sleep again and not have to face people.”

As a matter of fact, on almost a daily basis when I’m around people, I do look forward to going to sleep. And hugging a teddy bear. I honestly do have to hug a big teddy bear named Bruno to help me fall asleep, ask my boyfriend. Oh, and I’d obviously like to be in a dark room as well, since I’m always thinking, “I hate sunlight, I hate sunlight, make it go away.”

But of course it was Em’s mentioning of “Atelophobia” that intrigued me the most, since I was unfamiliar with it. I immediately looked up the definition and found comfort in it. Why? Because I was able to assign a word to the source of so many of my depressive spells. Sure, I knew about my issues with imperfection and never being good enough, but to find the official language to describe the swamp I’m sinking into was a bit relieving.

I’m not necessarily trying to cure myself, just to understand. For whatever mystical reason, words solidify our understanding. They can hurt like hell, but sometimes (most especially if they’re big & intellectual enough) they can help.


6 thoughts on “My Pale Skin – Atelophobia

  1. Thanks for bringing this up. Hope your episodes get less frequent. It’s a horrible feeling, feeling like you’re imperfect. I have these feelings a lot too. Hope your research goes well and your mornings get easier xx


  2. Good word, never heard of it before. Enjoyed reading your post- hope you feel better soon. I don’t know if you can get it in the states but I remember there was something in the news a while back about one of the girls in Girls Aloud (a British girlband) releasing a make up range especially for people with really pale skin (she’s a classic super pale redhead). I think it was called Dainty Doll. Anyway, hope you feel better soon and thanks for the new word


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