Beauty runs in my family, my mother’s mother was a beauty, my mother was a beauty, my aunt was a beauty (though I doubt she knew it), my dad had the whole Nicholas Cage meets James Dean look going on, both my brothers were also endowed with good looks and both my daughters are stunners but me… let’s just say I have always felt like the odd one out. I don’t suppose it helped that my nick name at home was ugly.
When I cried and told my mum I felt ugly I was read The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson it gave me hope , however, by the time I was 18 I hated that story… it was a lie! It gave nothing but false hope and disappointment.
My ugliness had become an underlying low grade rejection of self. I tried, oh how I tried to make myself beautiful. The first time I tried to use makeup my best friend’s mother laughed at my application of it, which just made me feel more powerless against my ugly.
Then one day I overheard my dad describing me as having buck teeth and skinny Bambi legs, thus cementing that ugly image of myself and launching a life time obsession into making myself beautiful especially for men.
I tortured my face for decades, I used so much pimple cream at one stage I gave myself acid burns. I made a paste out of salt and water left in on my face till it dried and gave myself salt burns, I tried clearing up a pimple with bleach and you guessed it, I applied so much I gave myself yet another burn. I used straight bleach on my teeth, I still remember the pain of that soaking into my teeth. I have permed my hair, dyed my hair, teased it and even ironed my hair, plucked my eyebrows out of existence and heat curled my lashes. I have spent thousands on makeup, moisturisers, toners, cleansers and mascaras all to make myself beautiful and more attractive to and for men.
I can hear you thinking, but we’ve all done that. However my motivation was coming from a fear of ugliness and within that, was a fear of rejection and a fear of not being good enough and a fear of being abused. I believed nobody was ever going to be nice to me or love me if I was ugly. Somehow as a 9 year old I equated being ugly as the reason my mother didn’t like me and dad belittled me, girls at school bullied me, and the reason I was sexually abused; being ugly eventually became the reason why I allowed men to use and abuse me.
One day, my then, 15 year old, tall, blonde, blue eyed and extremely attractive daughter and I were in a shopping centre having a conversation about the sneers she was continually receiving from complete strangers. As I could relate to these people; I explained that her beauty and confidence made them feel inadequate in some way and that it wasn’t a sneer of disgust but rather a tisk of wishing; wishing they looked like her. I was horrified when she said ‘no mum they are just ugly’. I responded with ‘True beauty comes from the inside. You can be beautiful on the outside but with an ugly personality which will make a person totally unattractive.’ I might add here I was totally proud of my parenting in that moment right up until she said: ‘yes mum but so does ugly… true ugly come from inside and jealous people are practising their ugly.’ And whist I was reeling from that profoundness she added ‘ and ugly people with beautiful on the inside will always be loved… truly ugly people will not.’ I was left speechless I felt like I had been slapped on the wrist by the Dalai Lama.
It is ten years since that conversation and I ponder it often especially in relation to my ugliness and how for decades I had been denying that I felt ugly, denying I felt inadequate, denying I was jealous, denying I was sad, so, so, sad I was not beautiful like my mum, denying the low grade self-rejection and self-hatred even denying that I needed a man to make me feel beautiful.
I have also pondered my daughter’s statement in relation to others and what I have found is: that whether it is our physical appearance, our mental ability, our disability or our self-esteem, we all have our own ugly to do battle with. As spiritual beings we have free will and we have the right to choose to remain in our ugly and our fear or we can decide to find our beautiful and love ourselves.
About the Author: Wendy Schmidt
I am a 53 year old mum, grandma and primary school teacher from Adelaide. I am also the leader of a meditation group called Divine Echoes and my passions include the metaphysical and the personally transformational. My two most favourite words in the world are grandma and Nameste
Photo Image Via: http://latashart.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/expositie-bij-goed-in-arnhem/ (No copyright infringement intended.)