Side by side
I began this post a few days ago, but due to a system bug, instead of saving, it deleted! I was incredibly upset, as it was not a terribly easy post to write, and I debated whether or not to try and go throughout it again. In the end, the content got the better of me, and I decided to rewrite it. As I have mentioned before, I do not have that many photos of my mom wearing some of the older vintage pieces, so it always feels special to see them side-by-side. The exception, is this dress. I cannot stand how I look in this dress! I feel pasty and matronly in it, and posses NONE of the sparkle my mom had wearing it. That being said, she probably weighed all of 90lbs. in that photo, was crazily tan, and perfectly coifed…Seeing her in this dress brought up some unexpected feelings. I started to remember what it felt like to grow up with a beautiful mom, when you felt so unattractive.
Some children have awkward phases that last a few years. My awkward phase was from 6-16. I am not being melodramatic or fishing for compliments. I am very aware of how I looked. (I have added a pic below for reference) Sometime after that photo, I went through a very dark time. My mom was in the final stages of a horrible addiction, and I was often alone and starved for attention. I began to compulsively pull out all of my eyebrows and eyelashes. This is a disorder called “Trichotillomania” It is classified as an impulse control disorder with a peak onset of around 9-13 years old. The disorder is thought to be triggered by depression and stress. Willfully making myself look unattractive did not help much with my self-esteem. I did not even realize until I scanned this picture to post it, that at some point when I was young, I had actually scratched the word “ugly” into the photo. Seeing that broke my heart.
After my mother gained her sobriety, life did change, but I was still stuck in my self-loathing phase. I truly could not stand how I looked. I never got to ask my mother what she thought of that time, I do know however, that believe it or not, she always considered herself an ugly duckling. She did not like the way she looked as a child or teenager. Even in her darkest times, I knew my mother loved me, she never made me feel less than, but she didn’t need to, I did that all by myself. Why are girls so hard on themselves? Is it just girls? All I want is for my daughters to love themselves, and to feel good in their own skin. I was so scared when I found out I was having a daughter, so scared because I know how hard it can be to be a girl, to be a woman.
Today, I am far happier in my own skin. I am proud of the woman I am. Do I wish I had dewy, radiant skin? Rock hard legs? Toned arms….? (You get the picture.) The answer is OF COURSE!!! But the irony is, I had all of that as a young girl, and I was miserable. Now I am happy, a little softer, and less radiant, but happy. It is my job to try as hard as I can to help my girls be happy in their own skin. It will not always be easy, but I promise I will do everything I can.