I wish my hair was darker, brown, wavy. I wish my skin was tanned and I had only a few freckles. I am ugly. I hate the way I look. I hate myself.
Do you hate every thing about yourself?
I hate everything except, except, except..... my feelings. I like my feelings. I think my friends like me for my feelings. They are just pretending that they like my looks.
You are actually beautiful. People often tell me - even complete strangers - how they love your hair and wish they had hair your colour, how much they would have to pay at the salon to look like you. You are beautiful.
I don't believe you.
. . . . .
This is a conversation from this morning with my just-turned-nine-year-old daughter. It fills me with a helpless despair. This young girl so beautiful & unique who wants to look like the beauty she sees around her - her dark haired cousin, her blond curly haired best friend, perhaps the images of Taylor Swift she sees on album covers - rather than the beauty looking back at her in the mirror. A fragile self-image. A fragile age.
I love that she recognizes that what is inside - "her feelings" - are valuable, acceptable, lovable. Her inner self will not be subject to criticism. She is funny, feisty, smart and sweet.
Should she ever begin to switch those sentiments - inner loathing mixed with vanity - I suppose we would be faced with something more challenging than her dissatisfaction with her looks. But I wish she could see her beauty inside and out. I wish she did not spend a single moment despairing about her freckles or reddish hair, her blue-grey eyes, her fantastic dimple. If I continue to tell her every single day that she is gorgeous will she ever start to believe it??
Has she ever been told otherwise??