My mother opened our front door and ushered in our next door neighbors. They came bearing gifts for my little newborn sister.
Lila, who was pregnant herself, and her Cuban mother-in-law, Mama Yamazalez, settled on the couch and accepted ice tea. Of course, Mom brought out the baby and passed her around so that both could see her.
|image by kozzi|
When it was Mama's turn, she looked my sister over very carefully and then said to Mom, "Oh she so beautiful. She will grow to be swan. Look at her nice long neck." Glancing at me, she said, "Not like you. You neck short!" (I know she was Cuban, but somehow I hear her words in my brain with an Asian accent.)
Seriously? Really? She just marked me for life. Now I am ugly duckling ...
I was 12 and a half when this traumatic visit occurred.
A couple years later, I was struggling to do the 500 yard dash at high school. My phys ed teacher (I mercifully cannot remember her name) yelled out to me, "Jerri! You run like an elephant!"
Totally uncalled for.
Now, I'm an ugly duckling who became an elephant.
Talk about scarred for life!
I look back and feel sorry for the teen-aged me. I felt awkward and clumsy. I felt chubby even though I only wore a size 7.
I wish I could tell her, "Don't listen to those silly women. What do they know? They couldn't see grace and beauty if it bit them in the face."
Unfortunately, I still hear their voices in my head all these years later! I guess I always will.
Please only use uplifting words when talking to others. You don't realize how damaging words can be.
In the words of the immortal Thumper (from the movie "Bambi"): "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
Today, I'm linking up at the Writer's Workshop. I wrote on prompt #5: Share something mean someone said to you once, why has it stuck with you after all these years?
If you'd like to link up, visit Mama Kat's blog, Mama's Losin' It.