I remember as a child feeling different. I wore glasses which was not as common in the 50’s as it is now. I was called 4 eyes and made to feel
different. I was an insecure child and sucked my thumb until I was twelve. Food became a coping mechanism and I grew up a chubby child. I couldn’t wear regular clothes but had to buy the chubby sizes. That continued into adulthood with extra-large, queen size, women’s sizes etc.
As a chubby child in that era, I was unusual. That was before the current ‘child obesity’ problem now common in the US. I was called fat or ‘mo fat’ which was a play on my last name of Moffat. With two strikes against me, I grew up trying to blend in to the woodwork and be invisible. I always walked with my head down sticking close to the walls of the school hallways to stay out of everyone’s way. Once at a high school costume dance, I remember two popular football heroes asking me to dance. I was so excited to get to dance not realizing until later they were ‘dirty dancing’ with me to make fun of me. The ‘popular’ girls made sure to tell me what was going on and ruined my innocent excitement at getting to dance with someone. I remembered that for many years. It colored my life for a long time.
I remember watching women on tv, mothers, characters in shows and models and actresses and seeing how different I was from them all. I remember how I always felt I was ‘on the outside looking in’ at how everyone else went through life and wishing I could fit in. This continued in various ways for most of my life. After I had my second child, I remember telling myself that now I must be a ‘woman’ since I now had two children even though I didn’t fit the norm. I remember a time I was outside watering my front yard after I was married. Some guy drove by and yelled ‘hubba hubba’ and sped by. I thought, ‘In my own front yard?’
I was so beaten down I never learned how to accept a compliment or realize I had any value. As a professional cake decorator, it took many years before I realized that what I could do was actually a talent instead of just a learned skill. I also had a gift for singing and got many compliments as a teenager. I loved to sing and decided to take lessons. Life got in the way, marriage, children and years passed. I started taking voice lessons again from our community college and asked if I sang well enough to take lessons. Who does that? I went back to finish my bachelor’s degree at the age of 38. It took awhile but it was very satisfying to receive some affirmation for my singing, some acceptance and accolades that perhaps I had something special. It greatly helped my self-esteem.
I suppose there are more dysfunctional families than ‘normal’. whatever that is. so growing up is probably difficult for most people in one way or another. It’s too bad that it took me to my 50’s before I felt that I ‘fit my skin’ and was more comfortable with who I turned out to be. Here’s hoping you figured it out much sooner than I did!