Thursday, July 28, 2011

We never really leave high school

A woman I used to know back in the day posted a photo of me at age 16, eyebrows tweezed to the brink of oblivion, on Facebook. This woman was the friend of my older cousin, the one everyone said I looked like. Even when I was 13 and yearning over the supreme comfort and sophistication of older and beautiful teens like my cousin and her friend, knowing I would never be like them, even back then, this woman paid attention to me. She was 18 and she looked at me with her big kind brown eyes and pulled me into the fold of grown up camaraderie and bursts of laughter and I sat in their midst and pretended I belonged and I loved her with silent devotion.

We recently reconnected through Facebook. She has raised sons, and is newly a grandmother, and her eyes still hold that deep brown wistful sad sweet expression they always did, as if she understood the ones who didn't feel a part of things. I always suspected that even though she was simply stunning, with gleaming dark brown skin and a tremulous smile that always made me want to hug her, she didn't truly know she was a beauty. I can still see that in her photographs. There is something that flickers in her eyes, in her smile, that tells me she still doesn't know.

So here's what happened today. She put up this picture of me that she found in one of her albums, and someone, a man who used to be a boy a couple years older than I was, who was the cousin of the woman who posted the picture, and who I have not seen since we were teens, made this comment: "I used to be hopelessly in puppy love with this girl."

This boy never said a word to me, ever! I had never once noticed him noticing me.

And then I realized he must mean my cousin, the one I resembled, except that my cousin was lean and athletic and charismatic and I was chubby and awkward and shy. Yes, of course he meant her. Even though the picture was of me, I figured he was mistaking me for my cousin and so I wrote under his comment, "I think he means Maureen."

And my friend, the woman who posted the picture wrote this underneath.

"No. I know he means you."

It kind of made my day.


  1. Of course he meant you. How could you not know? Do you not see that girl? And do you not look at yourself everyday in the mirror? You remind me a lot of my favorite cousin. A beautiful woman, my age, she's absolutly stunning, she's kind, she's smart, she's bright, yet, she doesn't realize how beautiful she is. Compliments almost pain her. She admitted to me last year that she felt she didn't deserve them. She's been working on it in therapy. Good for her. Please, love your physical self, you are so beautiful. Isn't it time?
    Miss A

  2. Miss A, see, I was a fat girl and everyone around me was thin. It was impossible back then to think that someone would have a crush on me. This isn't self pity. It was just the way it felt. And take my friend. Absolutely beautiful woman. Doesn't know it. We humans are a mess. But thank you, dear friend.You are right. We have to love ourselves. We have to set the example.

  3. I know it's not self pity, and I completely get that it's a weight issue. My mom grew up as a chubby kid and a large woman,she like you suffered from it, so she made sure that I'd love myself no matter what size I was. And I have.
    I know we're larger than size, I used to suffer from anorexia until the age of 15 then I started gaining weight. It was a blessing, then it didn't stop, but I still love this large body more than the skinny emaciated and hungry body. This body loves and is generous. I find people of all sizes beautiful. It's really more in the way you carry yourself. And I know you to be full of grace and you dress so well in all your pictures. So yes, I'm sure countless boys had crushes on you and your amazing eyes. And I'm sure that you are one of those women who doesn't notice the men glaring at her. But they still are because you are just plain gorgeous (and I'm not being nice).
    You, me, my cousin, we have to claim our bodies back and accept them, society is being kinder to large women, we find more attractive clothes, less doors shutting in our faces. We need to be kinder to ourselves as well, Because one thing I know today, I'm going to be a big girl forever, I might as well love myself.
    Big hugs, love the picture, glad it made your day!

  4. Miss A, I learn from you. You're very wise. One of the things i instantly loved about my husband was the way he totally accepted himself. He was able to look within himself for how he feels about himself, whereas too many of us look to the world to tell us how to feel about ourselves. So I love what you say here. And I hear you, I really do. Bless you, dear one. And love.

  5. Okay, I sucked it up and put this post back up. For some reason i started feeling like a silly girl about it. But you know what, I am that sometimes.

  6. sweet!

    did you fb friend the shy boy???

  7. mouse, no i didn't. he's married and i'm married and i decided to just let it be a sweet thing of the past. keeping it simple.