Through A Glass, Brightly

November 29, 2010

My mother always told me that I was beautiful. “You are a beautiful, beautiful girl, sweetie,” she would say, and I would reply – with much eye-rolling and heavy sighing – “you’re my mother. You have to say that.”

I knew that I wasn’t beautiful, not in the way that princesses in fairy tales or fashion models or the older, made-up girls who worked the cosmetic counter at Eatons were beautiful. I was tall and awkward and gangly, which, yes, I know, is exactly the way that girls who go on to become fashion models and perfume-spritzers describe themselves, but I really was tall and awkward and gangly and also frizzy of hair – hair that I insisted, after seeing the movie Pretty In Pink, upon dyeing red, which did not help its texture – and prominent of nose and so I am not being coyly self-deprecating when I say that I believed, that I knew, that I was not beautiful. My mother wasn’t lying to me, but she was, I knew, viewing me through mother-colored glasses, which as we all know are constructed with tempered and tinted glass and glazed with sparkles and stardust. Of course she couldn’t see what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was looking at myself with clear and critical eyes. She was looking at me with love.

I spent years struggling to come to terms with my looks. I wanted to be beautiful, but I didn’t see beauty when I looked in the mirror, and so I costumed and primped and transformed myself relentlessly, one day playing the part of the poetry-scribbling goth (dark hair, Fleuvog boots, lots of eyeliner, dog-eared copy of l’Etranger), the other playing the part of the quirky outcast who really might be pretty behind her vintage rhinestone-encrusted frames (red hair, Goodwill sweater, antique brooches), yet another pretending to be an avant-garde performance artist who might or might not be rehearsing her one-woman dramatic reading of  Gender Trouble (white blond hair, catsuit, cowboy boots.) (Oh, dear lord. The catsuits. Can we all just pretend that 1990 never happened?) My mother would ask me why I kept hiding. “I’m not hiding,” I would say. “I’m expressing myself.” And I was. I was expressing myself in a thousand different ways that I hoped would draw attention to the parts of me that were interesting, and away from those parts that I thought were, if not ugly, then, at least, unbeautiful. If I was interesting enough, nobody would notice that I wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t make the world look at me through mother-colored glasses, but I could surround myself with mirrored glass and dry-ice fog and disco lights and it would, I figured, amount to more or less the same thing.

It never felt like the same thing.

***

When I was in twelfth grade, I experimented briefly with not costuming myself. I kept the red hair but grew out the asymmetrical cut and trimmed my bangs and pulled my hair back and wore preppy sweaters and jeans and not much make-up. I acquired a pair of penny loafers, and I wore them unironically. My dad, at the time, was having what used to be called a nervous breakdown, and my parents’ marriage was in crisis, and although they both assured me and my sister that we would be fine, that they loved each other very much and that they loved us very much and that we would be, really, fine, I worried. I worried constantly, and it seemed very, very important that whenever I walked out our front door I looked exactly as they saw me, through their mother- and father-colored glasses; that I looked like me, just me, unadorned. Why that translated, in my seventeen-year old mind, to Upper Canada Preppy – which is, of course, just another costume – I don’t really know, but it seemed to me that this was the look that concealed me least, the one that involved the fewest distracting elements, the one that left me little or nothing to hide behind. It seemed important that I do that, that I not hide. It seemed, somehow, to be key to our family remaining intact, that I comport myself as though I were as beautiful as my parents thought I was, that I actively reinforce their view of me, their view of us, that I assert their rightness about how much beauty lived in our home, about how much beauty lived in us and surrounded us, always.

For some reason, penny loafers and blunt-cut bangs seemed a reasonable way to accomplish that.

This is me, then:

I look at this now and I see what my parents saw and I think, of course I was beautiful. I don’t know that I was any more or less beautiful in the penny loafers and Aran sweaters than I was in the goth eyeliner or the Goodwill costumes – I have almost no photographs from my costume periods – but it doesn’t really matter: here, I felt exposed. I look at this picture and I think: the girl in that picture is beautiful. But I also think: the girl in that picture is terrified. Sure, it’s the picture of a girl whose family is crumbling, but it’s also the picture of a girl who’s trying to disappear into her sweater, the better to hide her face. And I just want to hug her, and tell her that she’s beautiful, no matter what she’s wearing. I want to tell her that she has nothing to hide. I want to tell her that it is going to be okay – no matter how difficult things get – and that she will carry herself beautifully through whatever life throws at her, and that, yes, sometimes a chunky sweater will make it all a little bit easier to bear, and so will high heels and lipstick, sometimes, but that no matter what happens, and no matter what she wears to get through it, she will be beautiful. She is beautiful.

I want to race back in time to say that to her, and I want to leap into the future to say it to Emilia, whenever she hits that moment of self-doubt, if she ever does. But I know that I would be, that I will be – were I to, when I do, say such things – accused of wearing mother-colored glasses, of not seeing things clearly. And to that I would say, I want to say, I will say: yes, yes, I am wearing glasses. Mother-colored, maybe. Love-colored, certainly. And I want them for you, too; I want you to look at yourself, to look at everything, always, as through a love-colored glass, brightly.


And then I’ll tell her that when the time comes, she really, really mustn’t wear that catsuit.

What would you tell your teenaged self about beauty, given the chance? Would you tell her – him? – to stop worrying and love that nose? That someday, she’ll be thankful for that thick hair? That it wasn’t just you, that acid-wash jeans made everyone look like a dork? What will you tell your daughter, or, for that matter, your son? What do you look like when you look at yourself through love-colored glasses – or, what would you look like, if you dared put them on? Leave a comment and I’ll select one of you, randomly, (yes, Canadians too) to receive The Beauty Of Different, which is an amazing, gorgeous, soul-lifting book by my friend Karen, who lives the art of looking at the world, and at people, through love-colored glasses better than almost anyone I know.

****

Thanks so much, you guys, for the lovely, soul-lifting comments. The winner of Karen’s book is Johanna; the rest of you, I highly recommend that you put it on your holiday wish list.


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    { 107 comments }

    Annika November 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    My teenage self was actually pretty confident and happy. I would tell her that she’s doing great, but to stop comparing herself to her best friend.

    Marinka November 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    My parents were teenagers when I was born, and I’m pretty sure that they knew next to nothing about parenting, much less parenting a daughter (self-esteem! weight! beauty!) in the Soviet Union. But whatever they did, they did exactly right, because I always thought that I was beautiful. Yes, I am one of the few women in the world who thinks that she is better looking than she actually is.

    So I’d skip the looks discussion with my teenage self. And tell her instead to get her pennies together and get some Apple stock.
    :)
    .-= Marinka´s last blog ..I’m Right- You’re Wrong! =-.

    Catherine December 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    @Marinka, sensible advice ;)

    daysgoby November 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I went through high school quietly hiding. I wan’t shy, exactly, (or at least I put up a good front) but I remember just wishing I could blend into my locker and just not have anyone LOOK at me for awhile.

    I saw my high school yearbook about six years ago – holy god, I was LOVELY.

    I’m not sure how I could phrase it so my teen-age self would listen, but I know I’m going to tell my daughter (and tell her and TELL HER) that her impression of herself can colour the whole world.
    .-= daysgoby´s last blog ..halloween leftovers =-.

    Catherine December 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    @daysgoby, it’s that, the listening thing. my parents told me constantly that I was beautiful, but I didn’t believe them. the question is, I suppose – how to get them to LISTEN?
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..More Reasons Why You Should Care That It’s World Aids Day =-.

    KP November 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I would tell my teenage self that, really – REALLY – she wasn’t fat.

    Procrastamom November 29, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    @KP, Me too! I used to think that I was soooo much bigger than the “pretty girls” because I was a size 10 and they were probably 4′s…what I wouldn’t give to have that waist back now and fit into a size 10.

    MichelleRenee November 29, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I would love to go back and tell my 16 year old self to just stop with all the BITCHY.

    Face the fact that you are 4’11 and move the hell on. There is no growth spurt coming, EVER.

    Also, you are cute. When people tell you that, they are not calling you SHORT, they are for real, telling you they think you are cute.

    Thank you for this trip down memory lane!
    .-= MichelleRenee´s last blog ..Snuggle together for warmth =-.

    Catherine December 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    @MichelleRenee, also: all the tall girls are envying that pixie-ish girl. Envying her HARD.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..More Reasons Why You Should Care That It’s World Aids Day =-.

    stacey November 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    i would tell her (me) to enjoy the scenery. I was so afraid (of what I am not sure now) that all I wanted to do was get through…to what…now I don’t even know. I would tell her, forget the braces, and the nose comments and the skinny jokes, that in a few years it won’t even matter anymore (and it doesn’t).

    Johanna November 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Dear 17 year old me:
    STOP HATING YOUR BODY. It is a remarkable thing. A beautiful thing. A strong and powerful thing. Your curves? They are beautiful. Your long legs and arms? Them too. Your nose? Enjoy what it looks like now, because you’re gonna break it in a few years. Love it. Get used to it. You are beautiful. Those people that tell you you’re ugly every day at school? The ones who call you names and say you’re a giraffe, a freak, ugly, a weirdo… THEY’RE WRONG. THEY’RE IDIOTS. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW.
    .-= Johanna´s last blog ..The Long Long Run =-.

    Angella November 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I would tell my teenage self to (pluck her eyebrows, and) stop raging against her build, already. Being a toothpick isn’t where it’s at.
    .-= Angella´s last blog ..Action Packed =-.

    Her Bad Mother November 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Oh, my god, YES with the plucking of the eyebrows. SERIOUSLY.

    Her Bad Mother November 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    (Seriously, those brows in that picture? I *shaved* the inner edges when I though they got too unibrow-y. Also, because I thought that eyebrows being further apart = smaller looking nose. And then I DARKENED THEM IN (because they were naturally lighter than what you see in the pic). EYEBROWS: UR DOING THEM WRONG.

    Angella November 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    @Her Bad Mother, Haaaaa.

    (I, um, shaved between mine too. Oh, man.)

    Wendy November 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I would tell my teenage self that even if she felt like she looked awful, she was only making it worse by pretending not to care. Things like caring about her clothes or brushing her hair or taking better care of her skin would have made all the difference, both then and now.

    falwyn November 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Okay, you totally made me cry.

    Things I would tell my teenage self (besides most of what you just said): That you are not as fat as you think, and even if you were, who really cares? You are braver than you think, and you don’t have to live in fear. It will be okay.
    .-= falwyn´s last blog ..magic elves 2009- part 3 – Christmas Eve =-.

    bekala November 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I’m really glad my mom had those mother-glasses, but oh, was she wrong about my bangs. I should have grown them out a lot sooner.

    Catherine December 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    @bekala, I still have my bangs. I’m hard to move on that one.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..More Reasons Why You Should Care That It’s World Aids Day =-.

    Jenn November 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I would tell my teenaged self to stop obessing over weight and looks and worrying about what all the other kids thought of me. I wish I could be as thin as I was back then and I REALLY wish I could go back to highschool knowing what I do now.

    I think I will make sure that my daughter knows that all the other girls feel exactly like her and that they should all love themselves for who they are, not what they think others want them to be.

    Jen November 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I would tell myself that I was pretty cute – but learn to love exercising! That cute could go out the window with the freshman 15 or 30 or college 50. My mom didn’t have those “mother-glasses” she squashed my self-esteem when she could and I rebelled by thinking I was cute.

    MFA Mama November 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I’d tell my teenaged self to pluck her damn eyebrows, and that she is NOT fat. Not even a little bit. I’d tell her the size will come but her breasts will never be this perfectly-shaped again, and to enjoy them. And maybe to stop center-parting her hair…

    Her Bad Mother November 29, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    As I said to Angella above: YES OH MY GOD PLUCK THOSE EYEBROWS.

    Cyndi November 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Wow, what a fabulous post! In addition to all the fantastic advice already posted, I would say that ‘you are what you think’ and that her image of herself now will follow her through the rest of her life … so now is the time to change those negative thoughts.

    mom101 November 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I’d tell my teenage self that no, a size 0-2 ass is not a big ass.

    Seriously, self. Stuff it with the ass complaints.

    Catherine November 29, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    @mom101, god, yes. THAT.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Through A Glass- Brightly =-.

    zchamu November 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I don’t know what I’d say to my teenage self. I was sort of an ugly duckling, I think. I never liked makeup or hair. Actually, I did, but I had no time for it and had no idea how to do it right. I always thought I looked nice until I saw myself in the mirror beside someone else. Then I’d run.

    But I do have a point, and here it actually is. When you said this, above, about your mother:

    “She was looking at me with love.”

    It made me think. And then I stored that line away for 15 years from now when my daughter needs it. Because really, whose eyes matter except those who see you through the lens of love?

    Redneck Mommy November 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I would like to tell my teenaged self that gluing your bangs straight up, paper thin, like your own personal hair wall is not as cool as you’d think it is. Especially when combined with aqua green eyeshadow.

    I’d like to tell my teenaged DAUGHTER to lay off the thick blue eyeliner because she looks like Tammy Faye Baker, but so far, I’m refraining. But oh, I’m tempted.

    (Don’t want the book, but wanted to chime in.)

    Survivor November 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I would tell my teenage self that hiding my pain with drugs will just prolong the healing process and lead to the eventual break down of my family unit. Definitely not worth it. But I was selfish and I was hurting and I felt alone. And that is not to say that my mother didn’t try to reach out to me – she did, daily. I just didn’t want to listen. I thought I was dealing with things the best way – by pretending nothing was wrong. I wish every single day that I could turn back time and tell myself that I wasn’t the only one suffering in the world and that NOT giving up actually makes you feel 100 times better than any drug on the market.

    Stefanie November 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I would tell my teenaged self that your mother isn’t lying, you are beautiful, and when you stop obsessing over your every imperfection and learn to love yourself and really believe what your mother says, you will find a wonderful man who ALSO believes that and will continue to think you are beautiful even after you’re covered in stretch marks and are 20 pounds heavier than you were when you thought you were fat. In fact, he’ll think those stretch marks and that 20 pounds makes you even more beautiful. But the most important thing is that you’ll believe that too.

    Kathleen November 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I think I’d point out that the 80′s will pass and THEN her hair will be bigger than she ever hoped for.

    I feel like I should have a deeper answer, but I’m going to be mulling this one over for a bit. How to convince your children…..that’s one I’m sort of terrified to think about.

    Tasha November 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Oh yes, the eyebrows, dear GOD, the eyebrows. And also? That is not a muffin top. Just wait, after three kids, you WILL see muffin top. I would tell myself to ENJOY being young and carefree. Experience life. Suck it allllll out. Because once the kiddos come, they suck it all for you. :)

    MamaJoy November 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I think I’d tell her that one day her hair will be beautiful and controllable, and that curly brown hair rocks, so lay off the chemical straighteners and cheap hair dye. And to get rid of the cardigans, there’s no need to hide yourself in them, you’re not fat. Fat comes after having three children, but guess what? I freaking rock it!

    WestendMom November 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I would tell my teenage self that you are stronger than you know, more gifted than you can believe and that you have a whole huge life that will be so much bigger than this place and this angst filled moment. I would say that your boobs are fan- feaken-tastic, your legs go on for days and your smile can light up a room. But for the love of god, pluck those hairy caterpillars, and lose the bangs, it makes you look as though a small woodland creature is resting on your forehead.

    monstergirlee November 29, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I would tell myself that in the grand scheme of things, if the way you dress isn’t exactly like everyone else – who cares. Dress the way YOU want.
    Oh, and embrace your height! 6′ tall is wonderful!

    Amber November 29, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I would tell my teenaged self that you don’t have to “settle” for a boyfriend that doesn’t treat you like he should just because you are a little overweight. You will find someone who loves you for exactly who you are, you deserve better than you are getting with that boy.

    Angela@beggingtheanswer November 29, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    @Amber, Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! I’d tell myself it’s not ok to settle for a broken relationship, out of fear there will never be another one. There will be other boyfriends. There will even be a wonderful husband. I promise.
    .-= Angela@beggingtheanswer´s last blog ..Dear Sir and Madame- You Are No Longer Welcome In This Fine Establishment =-.

    Siobhan Wolf November 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I would tell my teenage self, and I will tell my daughters (and have already started with the oldest one) that expressing who you are, whether that fits into the family mold or society mold or any mold, IS beautiful and you wear it well.

    Jena November 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I, too, went through costuming phases, pointing to anything but my less than super model-ish looks. I would love to be able to tell that girl that she really IS beautiful, that inner beauty matters more, individuality is worth more than a head full of long silky hair and that you really don’t know what “fat” is.

    Thankfully, my teenage daughter has a healthy level of confidence. I have instilled in her a knowledge that she can walk her own path and at the same time lead others and have more beauty than any cover girl out there.

    Christina November 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I would say that being shorter and chunkier than “average” is beautiful! Who needs another tall and thin blonde beauty postered everywhere?

    Teresa November 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I would tell my teenage self to eat my vegetables! It’s hard to go from eating whatever you want to watching everything you eat. I wish I had learned to make healthier choices earlier in life!

    Paperfairies November 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I would tell my teen-aged self to stop hating that big butt which was the cause of so much angst and self-flagellation. It will one day be an asset. I would also tell her to cut back on the bad puns. ;)

    Ironic Mom November 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    A beautiful self. I would tell my teen self what my sister told me (and what I tell my junior high students): that the people who are “popular” in junior high are usually not that popular in high school and even less interesting after graduation.

    hello haha narf November 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    i always rolled my eyes and told mom that she HAD to say nice things about me because she was my mom, but secretly i believed her. only thing i would tell my teenage self would be to let mom know that you believed her, that she was doing a damn fine job at being my mom.

    karen November 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    i would tell her it will get much worse before it gets better but that it will get so much better.

    ahdra November 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Have you seen this???

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6wJl37N9C0&feature=player_embedded

    Listen, I know we all want our kids to have a healthy self-esteem, but pretty is just one small part. And I suspect we all have to come to a belief in our own beauty on our own terms. (Though, the heartfelt views of a mother are always valuable–eventhough it takes us awhile to realize it.)

    But, BUT, I think the greater gifts lie in NOT having a mass-marketed appeal and being sometimes “forced” to focus on the things that are truly beautiful…kindness, compassion, wisdom, grace, mercy, wit, intellect, etc.

    My four year old (Ethiopian by birth) daughter is told every single day by at least one stranger that she is so, so pretty. I’m not trying to be a prig, but it worries me. I don’t want her get stuck in the “pretty” rut.

    The question I am more interested in is how do you help your daughter to realize her value does not rest in whatever transient definition of beauty reigns at the time?

    I asked Santa for Karen’s book, by the way…I can’t wait to read it!

    Catherine November 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    @ahdra, I absolutely want my children want to value, highly, qualities other than appearance. That’s another post right there. But I also want to acknowledge that beauty *is* something that we pay attention to, in all corners of life, and for my children to grow up understanding that beauty *doesn’t* exclusively reside in whatever ‘transient definition of beauty’ (demonstrated by Photoshopped models and well-lit and surgically-altered actresses) is promoted by popular culture. I want to encourage them to see the beauty in their uniqueness. I want them to look at themselves, as I said, through love-colored glasses.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Through A Glass- Brightly =-.

    Iris November 30, 2010 at 3:10 am

    @ahdra, I have similar concerns. People have said my 4 YO adopted daughter is beautiful constantly, from the time she was a baby. Of course I think she is beautiful too, but I also tell her she is very funny, smart, a good dancer, a good singer, kind and caring. I read an article on this subject in an adoption magazine and the author-parent objected to people complimenting her daughter; it seemed like a subtle way of pointing out how different and “exotic” she looked. I want my daughter to love herself and see herself as beautiful, but I wish strangers would not stop to gush over her. I hope she will always be as confident, sassy, funny and brave as she is today.

    I would tell my teenage self to stop being so scared. Stop hiding in baggy clothes because you are in no way fat. Stop comparing yourself to women in magazines or the popular girls. Stop trying not to be noticed. Stop hiding in your room being depressed and lonely. In a few short years you will know you are beautiful and desirable and have the best time of your life. You will have dates, boyfriends and boys who are friends. Have as much fun as you can now. Make some good memories that you can look back on when life as an adult becomes painful or tedious. And as Hemingway said, “Save a few orgasms for when you’re older.”

    Lisa November 29, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I have a pic like that. I remember my dad taking it and how uncomfortable I felt while he was doing it because I felt so ugly. I plan to show that pic to my daughter and tell her that story. Or story first, picture second.

    Lisa November 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Funny about the hiding thing. In that pic recently, of you holding your kids, the first thing that struck me was how I couldn’t really see you behind the glasses and the hair.

    Catherine November 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    @Lisa, I still hide. I totally still hide. I’m more reflective about my appearance, and more accepting, but I still struggle with photographs.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Through A Glass- Brightly =-.

    AnnGeeDee November 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I would tell my teenage self that in a few years I wouldn’t even be talking to the people I was so worried about impressing. I hope my children understand that their worth does NOT depend on someone else’s definition of beautiful, but on their own.

    Angela@beggingtheanswer November 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I’d tell myself that Mom is right. My small breasts are perfectly beautiful just the way they are.

    On a less serious note, I’d also tell myself that I don’t need to be blonde. Really. It’s ok. Also, perms and big bangs will never achieve what you want them to achieve.
    .-= Angela@beggingtheanswer´s last blog ..Dear Sir and Madame- You Are No Longer Welcome In This Fine Establishment =-.

    eliza November 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Theres a lot of things that i would tell my teenage self, like “you hate your c boobs, but your best friend hates her a boobs just as much” or “that too long curly hair? its gorgeous” the big one though? “eat something, because hunny, your not fooling anyone ‘forgetting’ your lunch everyday and your gorgeous because you sailed right past the awkward body phase and have the curves of a pin up girl. Your 5’5″ and 130 and thats perfectly 100% ok.”
    I think i’ll strive to tell my future teenage daughter that shes beautiful just as much as my mother did, but also to very frankly tell her why. and if i ever catch her ‘forgetting’ her lunch every day, well we’ll just sit down and have a good cry. and then i’ll pack her lunch until she moves out.

    Carrie November 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I would tell myself that someday, people would wear glasses to look cool. And that the “cool” kids actually thought I was a pretty awesome person :)
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..That one special thing… =-.

    Jessica November 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Dear Teenage Jessica,
    Run fast, run far. You’ll be just fine. Nerds rule.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Life List 36- See the Northern Lights =-.

    Zoeyjane November 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I would mention that all of the compartmentalizing I did of my appearance – the soft thighs, the rounded face, the barely-there eyebrows that ever-arch in surprise, even in depression – was upon the negatives, and that there are, by far, more positive facets than those few above. Mostly, I would say that just because I didn’t have someone looking at me through ‘mother-coloured glasses’ doesn’t mean I wasn’t worthy of it.
    .-= Zoeyjane´s last blog ..This is not what poverty in Vancouver looks like =-.

    Jeannine Q November 29, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    My teenage self spent entirely too much time being angry. I would love to go back and tell her to simmer down.
    .-= Jeannine Q´s last blog ..What brings me joy =-.

    Amy November 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    My teenage self was pretty happy and confident and had a funky sense of style. But I was still overly concerned with how I looked to others. I would tell myself to lighten up and do things because *I* wanted to. I think if I had started doing that when I was a teenager is wouldn’t be so hard now.

    kathleen November 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    i would tell myself that my beauty was clearer than acne, bigger than my big nose- so much larger than all the places i felt small and ugly. i still want to tell myself that most days.

    Trish November 29, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I would tell my teenage self that I ‘like you just the way you are’. Get rid of the boyfriend who liked to undermine you with cutting comments and fits of anger. Leave him behind and be the girl you are meant to be – now that’s beautiful!

    Dana Udall-Weiner November 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I would tell my teenage self to just slow down and breathe. And I would tell her that she doesn’t have to be beautiful and together and polished and perfect. That cellulite was (and is) okay. I would tell her that, once she gets off the hamster wheel of seeking approval from others and feeling petrified of being found out as a fraud, life is so much better.

    I wrote a post called My Very Own Dakota Fanning, which describes how I feel when people tell my daughter that she’s pretty or cute. Such a double edged sword, compliments are, as others have commented too.

    I have such tenderness for my teenage self now. Only wish that could have existed earlier.

    Sarah November 29, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I would tell my teenage self that soon it will become clear that wearing grandpa clothes from the St Vinny’s might ward the boys off, but not all of them, and sometimes that’s not the best tactic. Then I would tell myself to stop looking for a reason to hate my parents.

    Shannon November 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    The first one isn’t necessarily THE one. Follow your heart.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Things Im thankful for =-.

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