Every once in awhile I will get a message in my inbox asking who I am, usually because we have so many shared friends. It doesn’t happen every day and in most cases it is someone just wanting to make sure they are correct in assuming that I am indeed the person they knew as a child. A couple have had less couth, like the drunkbooker that found some of my childhood pics and thought they were hilarious because I look nothing the same and she pointed out how cute she had been even though she now looks very rough. Then there was the “man” that sent disgusting pictures that wanted to know if I had surgery and if he “could take a look”. Surgery can’t help sadness, and I am doctor phobic. Oddly, most nurses are. I would never have plastic surgery, Einstein. Unfortunately he was obviously in need of a lobotomy even though it would remove the few brain cells he has left, and she was in need of AA as well as an injection of confidence. They did not get answers. They got the boot to the asshat pile, or the block button for those that are unfamiliar with the asshat pile. People that behave that way are not worthy of my time. I am an odd duck. One could easily say I was an ugly duckling, but that is not entirely true. I enjoy seeing the cringe worthy pics of me as a child because it renews my fire to be better and do great things, not for revenge because I grew out of that phase later in life, but because I deserve great things. I think everyone that lived in total chaos sometimes questions their reality, but then I see that little girl and it renews my drive to use my voice to help others. I was always beautiful underneath, and at fifty plus years old I shine brighter now than ever. At least I never look back and feel sad that I am not as thin or beautiful I was. I am happy with who I am, not because I morphed into a beautiful swan, but more because I morphed into more of a confident duck. Outward beauty is not enough. Being an ugly duckling isn’t about being hard to look at. It is about having a lack of confidence, and sometimes that lack of confidence is due to hardships the child has no control over.
All women secretly love a story about the ugly duckling girl in school that got teased because she was overweight, had bed skin, came from a dysfunctional family or did not have many friends, that grows up to be gorgeous and successful and is able to exact revenge on those that hurt her. That is not me. The truth is, my classmates were unable to harm me because I was already in hell. I hardly remember a thing about any of them other than those that were extremely kind or extremely vile, and those were just a rare handful. I was dealing with too much already. When you look at my pictures, you may see a pudgy kid with an unkempt partially grown out pixie hair cut and a painfully shy smile. She was probably wearing hand me downs from her older cousins because shopping trips and “girl days” were unheard of. Girl power and female bonding were not to be had. I see a little girl who lost her main caregiver in second grade and spent way too much time taking care of herself. I see a little girl that always wanted long and beautiful princess hair who was forced to get a pixie cut because her mother could not be bothered to wash and brush it, much less teach her how to take care of herself. I see a little girl who trusted nobody with her heart, and ended up surrounded by people without one. I also see a fighter who never gave up and eventually did turn into a swan. Not a barbie doll, but I never have cared much for fake anything. Be careful of that person you make fun of because they are different, or do not stand up to your version of beauty. People do not transform naturally into something they were not capable of in the first place. Sometimes “ugly” is the outside version of what is happening in the big picture, and superficial “beauty” is just a mask. True beauty starts inside and radiates outward. I will never be ashamed of any part of my journey because many others who walked my path did not get to live long enough to tell their story, and enjoy being a swan or a butterfly. Their spark was smothered out before they were grown. A child that has no support or confidence will always be an ugly duckling on the outside and act like they are much less worthy than they are, but the weak can become strong one day with a little love and sunshine.
By blogging I was hoping for an outlet of sorts and if I could help others who may be feeling the same things or have gone through something similar as me, then that would be a bonus. I have gotten much more than that. Through my research for my various topics I have come across more evidence and proof that things were not exactly as I remembered them. They were actually way worse, in fact. I wish that had not been the case, but I always suspected it was because I am always second guessing myself and giving others the benefit of the doubt when I shouldn’t, to my own detriment. Ancient newspaper articles and stories from distant family that had knowledge of my upbringing have confirmed my memories. It has confirmed many things that I remembered when I was really way too young to have that capability. It confirmed that my distrust of organized religion came with a good reason, and not out of resentment. Some may prefer to keep their head buried in the sand, but I find power in the truth. Blogging, as well as my DNA research, has led me to many truths. I told my husband recently that although it feels wonderful to be vindicated on every front by uncovering the whole truth and having family willing to corroborate, it still doesn’t feel good to have been put in the situation in the first place. We can’t change the past though. All we can do from this point on is walk with our head held high, our crown on straight, and with peace in our heart. If I am more beautiful now at fifty plus than I was as a young child, it is for these reasons. Thanks to everyone that has kept me motivated, even if that was not the intent.