Something like that… it just sticks with you.

2 08 2010

Something happened to me about 21 years ago that definitely had a profound impact on me.  It may seem like nothing, but it was huge and to this day I can be immediately sucked back in time and feel the exact feelings just as intensely.

Before one of our local malls was completely renovated it was a dark mall.  Dark hallways…  just dark.  Except one place.  Outside the DEB store, it was all lit up and bright.  I was probably 11 or 12.  Back then it was ok at that age to walk around the mall alone.  Mom and I always checked in with each other like every half hour at one store or another.  But I was walking down the hall and coming towards me was a girl about my age and she kept looking at me.  I didn’t like her.  She didn’t look nice.  She was NOT attractive and she looked just as unimpressed with me and she would not stop looking at me.  I wanted her to stop.  I would avert my eyes and as soon as I looked back there she was looking at me.  I was getting angry.  As much as I knew I shouldn’t think it I just kept thinking, “She is so ugly.”  

Moments later, as I was almost to the DEB store a horrible feeling came over me.  I felt as though I’d been socked right in the stomach by a big strong burly man.  How I remained upright still baffles me.  Because I was standing there.  Stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the busy mall as I stared at the girl.   The girl with my hair and my eyes and my clothes and glasses.   It was a mirror.  A mirror that cast the illusion of being a wholly separate group of people.  A mirror that reflected me as other people see me.   And I was horrified.   I found the closest bathroom and cried until it was time to meet my mom.  I don’t have any recollection of what I told her made me cry, but I do remember being too ashamed to tell her the truth.  In fact, I’ve told no one.  Until now.

Don’t get me wrong, I had boyfriends in high school and college and after college.  I’ve had relationships with wonderful men and some not so wonderful men, and I’m happily married now to the best of the very best of them all, so I know I’m not hideous, and I must have gotten better with age…  like a fine wine…  but that day, and that moment.  It sticks with me.  It was such a shock to my system that I don’t know if I’ll ever forget it. 

To this day when I’m questioning how I look or if I’m attractive to my husband or anyone else for that matter, I flash back to that day.  Even just fleetingly and picture that ugly girl in the mall.  And how I didn’t like her.  I wonder about her sometimes.  Is she still a part of me?  Is she still here?  And has she come to terms with that day?  I know I haven’t, so I’m guessing she hasn’t either.   She was looking at me with just as much disgust as I was looking at her.  I’d like to go back to that day and reach out that girl and let her know that she was going to turn out ok.  So she wouldn’t have to think about it, still now, 21 years later.

Trying to break free of reflections of the past…  Hamlet’s Mistress



2 responses

6 08 2010

This just tears me up to read. I know all too well how much pain you have to carry around to be that disgusted with yourself. It's a hell of a demon to battle, and though it rears its ugly head from time to time (usually when I'm horrified by an unexpected picture of myself) I manage to keep its mouth sewn shut for the most part. Clearly you're not that girl anymore because it is powerful and brave to put this out there. Thank you for that!

6 08 2010

Thank you. It was good to actually tell someone.

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