I'm now officially 56 years old. I don't use makeup. My everyday wardrobe is made up of jeans and knit tops or t-shirts. My hair is usually dragged back into a ponytail or a little bun-thingy. Dear Hubby tells me I'm beautiful and that's all that matters to me.
So...when, as I walked in to Fred Meyer to do my grocery shopping yesterday, was I ever taken aback when a gentleman stopped in his tracks as he was walking out, looked me over, and whistled at me. It was one of those check-over-my-shoulder-to-see-if-he-means-ME moments. Well, I guess so because I was the only person standing there. As I walked in thru the doors I laughed and told the greeter who'd witnessed it all, "He must've had too much New Years's cheer last nite!" But then, halfway thru my wanderings up and down the aisles another gentleman pushing his cart said, "Mmmmmm-mmmmmm!" as he walked past me. This was getting freaky! Were both of them drunk or hungover or what?!?
I have never been blessed with a big ego. I have never considered myself even remotely pretty. So moments like those stop me in my tracks. You all know how camera-shy I am, how I hate having my picture taken. My family will be hard-pressed to find many of them when I die. No need to do a photo collage of my life at my funeral, that's for sure.
It's funny that, no matter how good our adult life turns out to be, the things that are said or done to us in our early childhood are forever etched in our mind. No matter how far down you dig, somehow a little bit of it remains and keeps us off balance. I was told all thru my younger years how ugly I was, how fat..."solid as the Rock of Gibraltar", my dad used to say as he'd horse-bite my knee with a hard pinch. I rarely look in mirrors even to this day...enough to comb my hair and look presentable and that's about it. Cameras freeze me...I can NOT act natural or smile for real. I've grown comfortable in my own skin as I've gotten older, but compliments such as the ones those two gentlemen gave me make me feel panicky and vulnerable. The first thing that comes to my mind is, "They're making fun of me!" How silly.
Oh well. I don't even know why I wrote about this. Maybe to make someone else out there who feels the way I do know there are plenty of us out there. The Ugly Ducklings who will never be able to accept that in someone else's eyes, maybe they really have turned into a Swan.