Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lasting Impressions I

A couple of days ago I posted a question here on the blog and on Facebook asking,

What is the statement someone made to you about your body which left the most lasting impression?

I have gotten some very heartfelt responses to the question.  I'll post them here in the next few days.  Some of the statements were hurtful to the recipients.  Some were affirming and positive.  When I look for a common thread, what I notice is that the person who made the comment was expressing his or her judgment about the other person's body.  It may or may not have been True.  But the speaker apparently thought it was.  And the recipient took it as the Truth, thus the lasting impression.

Here's the first one.  (And thank you to the woman who shared this.  I believe we all heal a bit when we read about other's experiences and realize we weren't the only ones who hurt, who thought we were "less than", who took on what others told us.)
Oh, that one's easy.  (And it could explain a lot!)  When I was a young girl (8th/9th grade I'd say), I had a best friend who lived next door to me.  She was as shy as I was, but somehow she was "cuter" than I.  More people liked her, she had more friends than I did.  I used to try to "be" like her. 

I will always remember a comment my dad made to me one day.  He always believed in telling me "the truth" (his truth, but I sure didn't know that back then).  I remember the comment vividly - I even the room we were standing in.  Dad said, "Quit trying to act like Catharine.  You look silly.  She is sexy, and you are not."

Even today, I can't believe that he said that to me.  I'm sure he didn't intend to hurt me or make me feel small; it was simply his version of the truth.  He may have thought he was helping me 'find' my own niche and what was right for me.  Or perhaps he simply didn't
want to see me as sexy (I wasn't back then anyway, but that's beside the point).  All I know is that I was destroyed by that comment, for years.  I'm 49 years old today, and I STILL remember it vividly. I figured out along the way that it was his OPINION, but it still hurt. I felt like I could never compare, that my tall gangly body was not attractive.  (It didn't help when Catharine's mom said once around the same timeframe that I looked "stately".  Hello.... what pre-teen/young teen wants to look STATELY??!)

Yup, the "You're not sexy" comment made me pretty much decide that my body didn't measure up by any standards for a very long time. 

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