International Lifestyle Magazine Issue 51 - Page 120

beautiful Words: Eileen Bennett You used to be beautiful. You used to have strawberry-blonde curls framing your chubby face. You used to have peaches and cream pink skin and eyes that were so blue and clear that they seemed to see far beyond the years you had lived. You used to remind people of a cherub. You used to be happy and confident and funny. You used to be a bright shining star at the center of a blonde, blue-eyed, curly-headed perfect universe. Your teacher told your parents that you were squinting at the blackboard. You got thick glasses. Nobody noticed how blue your eyes were after that. Your hair changed from tumbling curls to unmanageable frizz. The strawberry-blonde took on a non-descript mousy-red tone. Stuff happened. Day by day, bit by almost imperceptibly bit, the perfection slowly vanished until even the memory was so faded that you believed you must have dreamed it. By the time you were twelve, well-meaning adults were suggesting that you wear a roll-on to hide your flabby pre-pubescent belly. Even the kinder ones, the adults who told you it was just ‘puppy fat’, succeeded in underlining your burgeoning and inevitable faith in your own plainness. You grew to be a shy and awkward young adult. You were socially inept. You created a façade of bravado. You came across as too pushy, too cocky and smug. You never interacted from a place of truth. You had forgotten by then that such a place existed. Even if you had not forgotten, you would have been too terrified to explore it. By thirty you had managed to shape yourself into a reasonably acceptable human being. You seemed to be fully functioning and relatively normal in all you did. You had children of your own and did your best to keep them secure and confident in their own perfection. You did your best to vaccinate them against soul-destroying self-doubt. You did your very best. Then there was nobody else to look after and it was your time again. Your hair was grey and your skin was wrinkled but old photographs showed you that you were never plain and you were never fat. Your eyes had lost their open innocence but they were still as blue. The lie you had been living for so long dissolved and you discovered that she was still there. The once-perfect child, open-hearted and trusting, had waited a lifetime for you to come back. And you recognized that you are, and always have been, beautiful.