I was not the most attractive middle schooler. True story. My situation did not improve once I entered high school, but then of course I got to mix in two heaping scoops of awkward, a dash of too tall, one gorgeous, popular older sister, and the disastrous result was helpless, hopeless Rachel. Ta da! My family has joked that rather than having an awkward phase I had an awkward decade. Gems, every last one of them.
When I began sophomore year my self esteem was in the toilet and I didn't see how it could possibly get any better. I knew that I needed to do something to pull myself out of the doldrums, so I simply opened my eyes. I started looking around and ended up making a very astute observation - ugly people get married too! Hallelujah! One day I was sitting in 10th grade Chemistry class and I realized that while I probably couldn't get anyone based on my looks, maybe if I had an awesome personality I could con someone into marrying me eventually. (editors note - I know this is crazy and a uh, TMI to the extreme. Remember, this is for Devon's benefit). I thought it was such a novel idea to have someone like me for me, rather than what I could outwardly provide.
That day in Chem I decided that I wanted my future self to be funny. Funny could eventually be attractive enough for someone to overlook whatever was going on from the neck up. I started studying what would make people laugh. Honestly. I was very scientific about my approach because I was literally planning a total personality overhaul. If I was going to be this new person for the rest of my life I wanted to be sure that I became someone I liked!
I like myself now and I definitely don't feel the same way I did back then (PS - this is NOT a post fishing for compliments, thankyouverymuch). I wish I could spend a day with anyone who reads this dumb blog so you could really know me. I promise, all my studying paid off and I'm way funnier in person.
I wrote this post because from time to time Devon will say, "I'm so grateful for that decision you made in Chemistry class". I am too. It was born from a place of horrific self esteem, desperation at the perceived circumstance, and being bullied. I am very lucky in how it has turned out for me, just the amazing ability to like myself, but I recognize that this is not the case for everyone who has experienced bullying or who gets down on themselves. We have to teach our children to love themselves and to always look for the beauty in others. Everyone has something to contribute - let's find out what it is.
Oh, what a wonderful world it would be.
(New Years resolution #114 - no more soul bearing!)