Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beautiful Swan to Ugly Duckling

You know the story of how the ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan. But have you ever considered that it's not always possible to feel like a beautiful swan all the time?

I use the analogy of the ugly duckling and the beautiful swan as a metaphor for how I feel during prep, at the show, and then post-contest. I've written about the post-contest blues several times, and it seems that no matter how many times I compete, I experience them every year. This year is no exception, despite my best efforts.

It's been about 4 weeks since the Maryland show, and in that time, my tan has faded, my roots are clearly visible, my arm hair is growing back in, I've popped off all my acrylic nails, and I've put on a few pounds. While all of those things are perfectly normal and expected, it sort of feels like reverting from the beautiful swan back into the ugly duckling. I'm not calling myself "ugly," so don't get all worried - it's merely a metaphor. It's just that when I'm on stage, I feel like the most beautiful, proud woman in the world. Then after the show, when it's time to go back to real life, the glamour fades and reality sets in.

How I feel when reality sets in.
I don't need the trappings of the beauty industry (hair, nails, makeup, tan) to love myself, but I do feel more beautiful when I'm all groomed and polished to a high sheen. Every year I have difficulty settling back into my everyday normal without feeling lost and a bit sad.

I've been feeling out of sorts the past few weeks, which is why I haven't been blogging much. I simply didn't feel like it. For the first 2-3 weeks after the show, my emotions were all over the board! I'd go from happy and smiling to sad and crying in the time span of a half hour. Poor J didn't know what the heck was going on with me! He reacted in typical guy fashion: he tried to hide. And when Ms Kari Grumpypants cornered him, he'd crack a lame joke to try to get me to laugh. Poor guy. I kept telling him to just give me hugs and don't even attempt to understand and analyze the female mind.

Now that more time has passed, I'm feeling balanced and sane, in control of my emotions and actions once again. (Phew!) I'm following a structured training and diet program and am slowly losing some of the water retention gained from the plethora of cookies and M&M's I'd been shoveling into my (very unhappy, very angry with my actions) body. I'm on my way to feeling like the beautiful swan again.

Competitors: Do you get the post-contest blues? How do you feel? How do you handle it?


  1. It's not post contest, but it's post pregnancy. When I was pregnant I felt so beautiful and round for the best reason. Now I'm just a pudgy frump. It's hard wrapping my head around this "ugly duckling"ness.
    I'm sure you still look beautiful with roots/tanless etc..

  2. Sounds exactly like me, but I definitely didn't look as awesome as you did at your contest! Love to read your blog. Thanks for the congrats on my engagement, btw.

    1. I felt exactly the same! I knew its the post show blues, but that didn't help! I hated the way I looked post show with all the water gain. And I thought everyone hated me. Although I told myself that is not true and I'm just going thru a bad time of feeling like ugly duckling... I'm getting back on track. Have a better control on my eating and feeling better about myself! And I know I can look the way I want when I want, so things are getting better one day at a time. Keep up Kari you are amazing :)

  3. Get up and get back on track. I think we all have those moments wether competing or not. We seem happy one moment and like crying the next. Honestly I think that is what seperates up from the men.....all of our estrogen. While I hate you are going through that at some point we just want to know we are not alone, and you definately are NOT. Decide today is the day it all changes and start living like it has wether it has or not. Take care, Crystal

  4. You just described my feelings this past 10 days since my comp. It's hard to explain to non competitors but yes, going from swan to ugly duckling is *exactly* the right metaphor! Thank you Kari!

  5. Thanks for this post. I am getting ready on doing my first comp and hear about the post comp blues. At least I know what to expect and not feel cray cray. Love your blog btw!

  6. This describes the PCB to a T! Great anaolgy. I wish I had a way to over come it. I've not done a show for 3 years and still look at my show pics and wonder what happened.

  7. Kari the beauty you have inside radiates out of you even if you have shovelled in many cookies and M&Ms! The trappings of the beauty industry are quite high, that is for sure!

  8. wow this is great insight into a Figure Girls mental and emotional challenges. thank you for posting it.