Growing up I always identified with the story of the ugly duckling. I grew up never really knowing the meaning of the word “beautiful”. Until one day my mom mentioned that our relatives were comparing me to my older cousin and that while she might be prettier, I was smarter.
Since that day I’ve had a tenuous relationship with my self-image. It didn’t help either that my lovely, thick, straight hair suddenly turned coarse and curly. Or that my mom insisted I put on foundation and lipstick at the ripe old age of 11 because I needed more color in my “dead face”. She often told me that while my features were out of place now, she could tell I would grow into a great beauty someday.
The funny thing is, I never thought I wasn’t beautiful, until she pointed it out to me. I grew up dreaming one day I would be that swan. I was just an ugly duckling waiting to transform. A caterpillar whose fuzzy body hid a brilliant butterfly. A bud that would blossom into a flower. An enchanted beast whose true form was a handsome prince. I think you get the picture (and I’ve run out of analogies).