Updated: May 15, 2019
My mother was an exception. In a nation of short-statured East Indian women, she was a giraffe. She towered over women and some men too. Every photograph of her growing up showed a lanky, stooped-over sullen looking girl.
She grew into her good looks and began to own them at some point, either that or she faked it well. She didn't talk about things like that. We never had the kind of sharing relationship that I would ever know what really went on inside her head.
When I was about 16 or so, I was standing in front of the mirror in our blue upstairs bathroom (yes, it was pretty cool in the seventies!). Looking back, I guess it was an evening when I realized that I was a woman, not a point your finger at “she’s gorgeous”, but certainly acceptable. My mother, who perhaps was still uncertain of her own looks, stopped as she passed by and reminded me that good looks could be taken away in an instant. Pow!
That comment stuck with me for decades, and never again did I pause in front of a mirror and stop even for one second to admire how I turned out. I loved fashion and always did it on a budget because I was never certain that I deserved to look good.
My mother eventually lived to show-off her shapely figure in halter tops and long legs in short shorts. When puberty hit me, she probably thought that I’d outgrow my petite size, but I never grew past my small stature of 5ft 2in. She told me that I would grow breasts when I turned 16, and that legs were supposed to only meet at high thigh, knees, and ankles. She did not appreciate the fact that I held to other values not associated with how a person looks.
She did not live to see my small breasts cut open to cure the tumor growing inside, the petite frame that I am able to maintain at over 60, and the legs that have carried me through 21 half-marathons.
She did not understand that the way we look has nothing to do with what is in our hearts, and that pretty people can also be wonderful, wise, wealthy and happy.
She missed out on me.
This post was previously featured on the BogHer.com network in 2016.
Gail Williamson writes at Found and Bliss about the mystery and magic encountered each day. At https://foundandbliss.blogspot.com , she shares inspirational words from the side streets of life, words that encourage and make you ponder. Gail has spent a career in fostering mindfulness and self-improvement and is now devoting her time to writing full-time. She fuels her pursuit of life-long learning with good conversation, great coffee and red wine, deep reading, yoga, making jewelry and hopes that you will join her for the ride. We are all connected! Keep looking. When you find it, make it better ©. You can find Gail at Found and Bliss on FB, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.