Posted by: namesconnie | February 21, 2012

He Said I Was Pretty

When I was a little girl

A man behind a counter

Looked down and said

“What a pretty little girl”

I smiled back at him.

 

When I was playing with my toys

I started chanting “I’m pretty, I’m pretty”

I felt all cheerful inside.

 

Mom saw me doing that and said, “Don’t be saying you are pretty like that, besides pretty doesn’t cut it with me, now clean up your toys.”

“But Mommy, that man at the store said I was pretty, so I am pretty.”

“You are no prettier than the other little girls. Besides that man probably just said that to be polite. You are not “that pretty” so please quit saying that.”

 

I know my mom meant well. She didn’t want me to be all stuck up and conceited or vain.

But as I am aging now and look back at my photos of youth, if only I was allowed to believe as a little girl that I actually was pretty, maybe I wouldn’t have had such a hard time in the mirror all those years and even today.

 

No matter who said I was pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, or that I looked great, I never believed it. I always thought people just said things like that to be polite.

 

I forgive you mom for not knowing what was going on in my mind that day. I forgive you for not knowing that your comments had me always feeling that I was not that pretty. And today, as I look at my aging face in the mirror, I hope if I live another life that I will believe what that man said behind the counter of “What a pretty little girl” and get to enjoy my youth not feeling so “un-pretty”.

– Connie Webb

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Responses

  1. I know your Mom meant well, but you shouldn’t have been made to feel less than what you are. I’m sorry you had to experience this Connie, but glad you did forgive your Mom. It was so well written, that felt like crying for you as a little girl and how it’s followed you into adulthood. Try to turn those thoughts around for the best, it’s never too late!

  2. You are a great example to me Connie by ending the essay talking about forgiveness. I identified with the negative effects that mom’s can have on their daughters. I went through that myself. I believe that self-esteem has to be nurtured by others when we are kids. We are lucky that now we can address how we feel about ourselves and find the self-esteem we need without other people’s approval. I went without make-up for awhile recently when I was having allergies to all the make-up products and got to feel very comfortable without it. I’m grateful that I can adapt and change my idea of what feels right for me.

    • It is good when we can find that self-esteem later in life. Too bad we didn’t have it years back, but nice when we can acquire it from within and be okay with who we are no matter what “others” think. Take care. Thanks for your kind responses. Sincerely, Connie


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