Last week something was said to me and it hurt my feelings.
I pride myself for being hard and as tough as nails – or at least, I am pretty darn good at letting people think that I am.
Remember the story about the ugly duckling? As an adult, I can look back on my childhood and confidently say that I went from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan (although I would never actually use the word beautiful). There was nothing special about me. I was a tomboy, a gymnast for 9 years. I liked being outside, barefoot, and looking for adventure in the words. Getting chiggers was an every other week occurrence. But, boy I loved having that pink calamine lotion dotted all over me. Although I hated the itch!
As I grew up, I was oddly shaped. Being a gymnast meant I was flat chested with broad shoulders and thick thighs. This is not what every pre-teen wants as she embarks on her teenage and high school years. My hair was curly and frizzy. I didn’t know how to tame it so it was always slicked back in a pony tail. I had humongous teeth that protruded from my mouth. Yup, I was bugs bunny in the flesh. This was the beginning of brace-face. I had braces from 1st to 3rd grade, 6th to 8th grade and finally 9th to 11th grade. Turns out the reason we couldn’t get perfect alignment of my teeth was because of my jaw. Go figure. Finally, to add sprinkles to this entire mess, that nose of mine… YIKES! I won’t even go there.
So, excuse me when I say that I am so thankful to emerge from my childhood alive. Here I am, a swan. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. It took work and dedication. I workout 5-6 days a week. Sometimes 7 days – but I have to remind myself not to overdo it. I eat healthy – for the most part – and take care of my skin and hair. I even take daily vitamins. I might have had some cosmetic surgeries, but I did it for me. Not for anyone else. I have learned to love myself. I not only look better but I feel better than I did when I was in my 20s.
And mentally, I am in a better place in my life. Or at least I was.
People are mean.
I hear from people on almost a weekly basis how “so-and-so said this about you” and “they couldn’t believe you showed up wearing that.” What, a t-shirt and shorts? To a baseball game? Really? What am I supposed to wear? A sweatshirt and sweatpants? Me and someone else can wear the same thing to the gym but then I am told what I am wearing is inappropriate. Some women think I want their husbands. I promise – I don’t. I am friendly and nice to everyone. To be honest, I’m a friggin’ goofball. Some women won’t even try and get to know me. I would be naïve if I said I didn’t know why. But it makes me sad. Almost angry even.
So, there are days when I am just down in the dumps. Days when I don’t want to deal with people. Because, people suck. If I would have known that ugly duckling would have to work so hard just to be considered the outcast swan… I would have warned her ahead of time. I would have warned her that life doesn’t get easier. That, as an adult, you will actually find yourself sitting at home, with your 14-year old’s arm around you, while you cry.
So today, on a day I need it the most, like Dory says, Remember, “Just Keep Swimming.”