dawny posted these old pics she found on flickr of us. (that pic is me & nikki, tho, not me & dawny.) i am absolutely shocked at how bad i look in them. i was ghastly white, overweight(er), had really bad skin.. my poor 18-year-old self was just a mess.
now, i realize i'm no model or anything now either, but i certainly have improved.
sadly, because this is a public and google-able forum, i can't be just flowing and honest about this. but i'm thinking about it and want to get it out, in some form.
basically, lately i've been getting compliments - a "you're gorgeous" here or a phone number request there. from a construction worker on young circle, i can laugh and say, "thank you, sir!" but in mixed company, it makes me a bit embarassed. old issues, i suppose.
seeing these pictures, i remember how hard growing up was on my self-esteem. due to the natural whitish hue of my pre-florida skin, i was tagged with the nicknames "whitey" and "ghost" in school. i remember my sisters and their friends making jokes about my weight and how i heartbreakingly never got the jokes until it was too late. i remember in 8th grade or so, the boy who i had had a crush on since the 2nd grade (and who would eventually become my first boyfriend), told me one day, "you know, whitey, you wouldn't be so ugly if it weren't for your teeth." [my teeth are now less imperfect, after having braces to move my canines down to the general area where teeth are supposed to be. this is only after breaking down to my mother about the above comment some time later.] i remember constantly having to answer questions about my pretty sister's romantic status and feeling quite invisible, or something worse, while doing so.
i guess it's just occured to me that it seems very unfair that something you can't help either gets you treated badly or gets you treated well; it makes you feel invisible or it makes you feel special. it's unfair that people with the best insides are looked over in favor of people with more pleasing outsides. and while i'm sure we all appreciate compliments and being told we're attractive (after hearing "ugly" one too many times as a kid, having it refuted, however confounding, is somehow satisfying), i can't help my knee-jerk reaction of worrying that someone in earshot is left feeling overlooked, when none of us deserve to be.