Ugly Duckling

Published July 20, 2013 by jessicalynndunning

This is not a mom post in the strictest sense, but it is generally related to being a mother. I know lots of mothers who struggle with body image issues (me included) and lots of women who don’t think of themselves as particularly attractive. I am one of those women, one of those mothers.

I was a cute little girl, but God help me I was an ugly tween/teenager, with all of the awkward stages and gaunt faces and knobby elbows and knees that came along with it. My face was too bony, my nose was too big, and my breasts were too small. I didn’t have the body or face or hair that I wanted, the being that fit into the mold of perfect beauty that I had in my head.

I have carried that opinion of myself ever since…an ugly duckling who never turned into a beautiful swan.

But today, something happened.

I had spent the day at the zoo with my family, and we were taking pictures all day, and when we went through the pictures I kept noticing something different an I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Something was different about me, not matching up with the self-image I carry around deep inside where no one can see.

And after I finished looking at the pictures, I headed into the bedroom to get something, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirrored closet doors, and that something different was nagging at me again, so I stepped over to the mirror and looked closely at myself.

Looking closely at my reflection is something I’ve avoided for quite some time. Since I “knew” I was ugly, I didn’t really see any reason to focus on more than getting my hair into a ponytail and making sure my face and teeth were clean of a morning.

But today, I really looked.

I set aside my fifteen years of self-image issues. And looked at my reflection objectively, as I would if I were looking at someone else. And I was absolutely astonished to find that some time in the last five years, my “ugly duckling” self had finally morphed into that beautiful swan.

I stared hard at my face in the mirror and couldn’t believe what I saw. That awkward, bad skinned, bony faced, gigantic nosed teenager was gone…replaced by a moderately attractive looking 25 year old woman. How amazing!

What I had seen that was different in those photos today was a face that wasn’t smiling through the pain of ugliness. I was truly happy to be at the zoo with my husband, my little girl, an my family, and thus forgot to feel self conscious and awkward, and it showed in the photographs. I looked beautiful. I look beautiful. I am beautiful.

I’m not perfect. I need to get in shape and lose some weight (although I did hit my pre-pregnancy weight the other day…yay!), but my face, my general shape, my self…I’m a beautiful person.

How many of our “flaws” are seen through false lenses of judgement? How much of our “ugliness” is in our own head?

Today, set aside your set judgement of yourself and look at your reflection like its a stranger. What surprises will you find? I found a beautiful woman where I expected to find an ugly girl. I know you’ll also like what you see.

Changing our self image to a realistic one can only help us, and our daughters. If their mothers can recognize their own beauty, our daughters will be more likely to be able to recognize their own.

A Beautiful Mother

P.S. Someone at work told me I was absolutely ravishing the other day, and I thought he was making fun of me. Is it too late to feel gratified by the compliment? 😉


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4 comments on “Ugly Duckling

  • Nothing new to me. I always have thought of you as beautiful. Glad you are changing that “image” in your head. Say it to yourself every day ~ ‘I am beautiful’. Never allow your brain to say different, cause it’s just NOT true. Besides your outer beauty, you also have what I think is even more important ~ a great, loving and caring and sincere personality. Love you Jessica.

  • It’s only since three days I came to realize people actually might think I’m pretty. It was a bit stunning to think that. I’m not used to seeing myself as a pretty person. But pictures in which you obviously enjoy your time are always the best ones!
    Now let’s all go tell ourselves we’re pretty, because we deserve it goddamit.

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