Written by Angela Barnes

Voices

Coming as I am

In 2013, Angela Barnes wrote about being ugly and proud of it. She revisited the piece recently for research purposes and realised that, while she’d bared her soul, she hadn’t bared her face.

Angela Barnes

Angela wearing makeup.

I am taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe this year. It is called Come As You Are, and is loosely about coming to terms with who you are, accepting your flaws, laughing about them and getting on with it.

While writing the show, I revisited a piece I wrote for The Guardian. The piece was about how the media bombards us with images of perfection that leave most of us feeling inadequate, and how people who consider themselves to be less than attractive are treated.

After two years, I plucked up the courage to look below the line, where the trolls live.

Now, I know that you should never do this, but I felt enough time had passed to give me distance. Plus, I had a show to write and thought I might unearth some gold.

Surprisingly, I didn’t find it too upsetting. The obvious trolls were obviously trolling, and the rest fell mainly into two categories:

Those who felt able to identify with what I was saying. This was a huge relief, of course and I received some messages from people that were properly moving.

Those incensed that I wasn’t ‘ugly’ enough to write about being ugly, and felt that I was attention seeking or “fishing for compliments”. There were lots in this group. Some of them quite vile.

Aside from the vileness though, there was a problem. You see, they were judging me without ever having seen the real me. So I decided to face my fears head on.

I made this video.

Tickets for Angela Barnes’ Edinburgh show are available here.

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Written by Angela Barnes

Angela Barnes is an award-winning standup comedian. She is sometimes on TV and the radio and is often in a comedy club near you. @AngelaBarnes