My daughter is beautiful. She gives very little thought to her appearance. She’s not high maintenance or vain, she’s just…smart and beautiful.
She has the classic California look. Long silky blonde hair, big blue eyes, high cheekbones, a petite and balanced figure. She doesn’t fear dressing rooms nor does she spend hours in front of the mirror. She doesn’t give her appearance excessive thought or attention. She moves through life with the confidence and healthy attitude that I never had at her age.
And still don’t have.
Maybe it was having three older sisters who constantly critiqued themselves and everyone else’s appearance. Maybe it was the teasing I endured as a kid. Or maybe it was just garden variety adolescent self-consciousness.
Whatever it was, whatever it is, I’ve never lost it. I’ve only learned to live with it.
I was a late bloomer and the absence of breasts and hips filled me with angst and envy as I entered my teens. I was thin and awkward looking. My stomach was round when it should have been flat. I had a big nose. My butt was disproportionate to the rest of my body. I had frizzy hair. I had arms like ET.
I was a female Ichabod Crane! There was no hope for me!
Or so I thought.
There were people in middle school who were happy to confirm my worst fears. On my first day of seventh grade, I remember a Southern boy whispering a bit too loudly to his friend, “She ain’t go no bosoms.” There were the girls that mocked my hippie braids and ponchoes and made me feel all wrong, the high school guy who said the absolute wrong thing when he affectionately referred to my breasts as pre-adolescent nubs.
In eighth grade, blackheads and a few pimples invaded my peaches and cream skin and freaked me out. I stopped looking people in the eye when I was talking to them, afraid that if they looked at me straight on, they might notice how ugly I was and turn to stone.
Or notice my blackheads. Whatever.
It was all bad. And as you’ve already guessed, all blown completely out of proportion.
Never mind that there were boys that liked me. Never mind that adults constantly commented on the beauty of my naturally curly hair. Never mind that in reality, I was probably average in the looks department. I felt like an ugly girl.
But in some ways, this worked to my advantage. Because I was SURE no one would ever be attracted to me based on my looks, I focused on developing my sense of humor and my smarts.
So what if I wasn’t pretty! I was funny and I had something to say.
Well, MANY things to say.
I still do.
So I’m here, not writing the carefully crafted prose that earns me a living by day, but the quick, from-the-heart imperfect stories I want to tell.
There are things to be said and shared, and this is my place and my first post. I’ll be writing more about body image and love and self-love and parenting and middle age in the days, weeks, months ahead.
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.