formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Know It...

Last night I held my normally full-of-herself child as she cried, distraught over the fact that she suddenly decided she was ugly. When prompted, she told me through sniffles and tears that no one had said or done anything to her to make her think it... she'd just been looking in the mirror and decided it for herself.

Sigh. Big, sad sigh. I took her face in my hands and I assured her that she is indeed beautiful... that she has skin and hair others only dream of... that she has a smile that lights up the room and eyes like melted chocolate. I told her this is an awkward age for most girls, though she is far less awkward than many (which is so very true) and certainly far less awkward than I was at her age (all knees and elbows and stringy hair, still waiting to grow into my nose). I told her that so many people tell me how beautiful she is -- even my friend Todd, who never, ever lies, doesn't especially like kids, and refuses to acknowledge that even babies are cute.

Then I reminded my little girl that even though she is indeed pretty on the outside, what's most important is what's inside. I told her that if she keeps her heart and mind open and her spirit generous; if she cares for people without judgment; if she allows herself to be ruled by compassion and love instead of criticism and fear; and if she's confident in herself and and believes she's capable of amazing things, she will be even more beautiful than she is right now.

She left my embrace smiling her sunlit smile. She felt better. She kissed me, thanked me, and told me she loved me. Then she went off to watch Hannah Montana.

I sat for a while, a little piece of my heart broken. I know she has to hurt sometimes in order for her to appreciate the times when things are wonderful. I know it. I know there will be more hurts, real and imagined... there will be more hugs and assurances... there will be more lapses in confidence... and even more hugs and assurances. I can't stop any of it. I wouldn't if I could, as I know it's part of life. All the same, I'm steeling my heart for the breaks to come.

But we'll make it through... both of us... my beautiful girl and me. I know it.

35 comments:

Mama Wheaton said...

You will make it through it and you both will be more beautiful, inside and out, for the taking of the journey.

Jenners said...

I've said it before but I'll say it again, you are a great mom. It must have been heart-breaking to hear that from her.. but you said all the right things. But perhaps watching Hannah Montana is not a good thing to do...though I personally think Miley Cyrus isn't all that. I mean, so much of what we get about what is attractive is from watching these stupid celebrities who have full-time teams to make them look great -- and who get paid to look good. I mean, if I was paid millions and had help, I'm sure I would look better too. I so went to the time in my life when I just hated myself and how I looked ... but I always liked WHO I was and that is what she seems to know. Your girl is beautiful! You tell her I said so!

Soda and Candy said...

You can tell her that the internet thinks she's beautiful!!! How many posts have you put up pics of her and everyone says how gorgeo she is?!

Not that it helps, seeing as she's sailing into the waters of teenagerdom... Ah well, maybe you will be like my mum and let her get contacts when she hits 16. I never thought of myself as cute until I got contacts.

blognut said...

It always breaks a little piece of your heart, doesn't it? I've had this conversation with my oldest daughter 10 times. My other daughter has never questioned herself out loud (she is SO not my kid). I wish I could tell you that these conversations get easier; they really don't. When your beautiful little girl is hurting, for whatever reason, it's going to hurt you like heck, because you're a good mom. Hugs to Ryan from me - she IS beautiful - how could she not be? xo

Heather said...

I can't imagine the pain that must come from seeing your child hurt. The closest thing I've felt is the heart-wrenching feeling that comes from knowing someone's made fun of or been mean to my little brother. (I've very protective.)
You tell Ryan that she is absolutely, 100% beautiful, inside and out. That kid has so much going for her. She's kind, compassionate, smart, funny and so much more - not to mention that gorgeous smile and those big brown eyes. Anyone that says any different is clearly jealous. :)
And - she has a terrific mom, just to top it all off!

Summer said...

Oh my! That totally hurts my heart!

You handled it amazingly well though. What an incredible mom you are!

Moomby said...

very sweet post! you have a wonderful (and beautiful) young lady you get to raise!

Anonymous said...

This is always hard, I still go thru this with my girl sometimes.
I'll tell her she's beautiful and she says " you're my mom, you have to say that". (sigh) If they could only see thru our eyes.
Your Ryan is so beautiful, she reminds me of Heather at that age in some of the pics.
You handled that perfectly.

Heather's M

jill said...

this does break a mommy's heart but you gave her such a strong lifeline to hold on to. beautifully done, mom!

i think you are both beautiful....inside and out. =D

Protege said...

I think we all have gone through this. Very few of us are completely perfect and considered true beauties.

I remember how difficult it was, as I was an emigrant in my teens, very awkward and plain in comparison to the Swedish girls, all cool blonds with perfect skin and perfect smiles.;))
And Ryan is truly such an exotic beauty, one day she will realize it herself. Until then, she is so lucky to have you to guide her in the right direction.
Even adults need reassurance of their worth from time to time; children need it even more.

Lovely post as always Diane.

Sam_I_am said...

I don't remember when the self-loathe started for me. I know in 1st grade, I got teased because I had big front teeth and the kids told me that I looked like a beaver and I had a mole on the back of my neck and I remember this little asshole named Jonathan (who is the same boy who started calling me Beaver) would poke it with a pencil. That was nothing until I got glasses in 3rd grade and then started getting fat the following summer. That self-loathe followed for years and still rears it's ugly head every once in a while. The difference between me and Ryan though, my mom told me to stop being silly or that she didn't want to hear it or that if I'd just lose weight, I'd be "so pretty." Ryan's mom takes her face in her hands and reassures her that she is beautiful, no matter what. Good job, Diane :-)

mo.stoneskin said...

You sound a great mum and she is very blessed.

Reminds me of my own insecurities as a kid.

Ronda's Rants said...

She is so beautiful...it's hard to see how she could ever feel like she was ugly!
I think we always feel it's only us that have ever felt that way...I think you handled it exactly the right way!

Heather, aka Jake's Mommy said...

It's just so hard to be a young girl for everyone. Ryan is such a beautiful girl and it's sad to think that our never satisfied with looks world is preaching perfection. Diane, you gave her the perfect words. You are a great mommma.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

It would be useful to know what concept of beauty gorgeous Ryan is comparing herself with?

They and we have the poker straight longhaired blonde, blue eyed, plastic and silicone enhanced Hollywood/LA ideal of beauty pushed upon us by the media - There are lots of beauties in this world, and Ryan is very much one of them, as say we all, Diane...

Sadly, her concerns are very much part of life, but there are such good examples of authentic beauty, like Ryan's out there, maybe she also needs to see more of those, and less of those airbrushed starlets, who are terribly photogenic only with the help of a good stylist or artist - Kate Moss is one of those in my opinion, while I happen to think that the J-Lo's and Halle Berry's are the real beauties of our planet...

Dove have created a number of examples of the photoshop parody of beauty - Aimed at building self esteem among women... Here is one of them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2gD80jv5ZQ

Hope it's helpful, D - You are a beautiful mom, bytheway... xox

Stu Pidasso said...

"How cruelly these tiny fingers grip my heart." Quote from Hugh G. White III

"Let your hurt be my hurt too." Sting

I'm empathizing with you, Diane. We will all get through it one day at a time, but when your child hurts the kind of hurt we can't put a band-aid on, that is the hardest to endure.

Michelle said...

Just keep on telling her.

xxx

Blu said...

what a nice Mum you are..real beauty is so special, she radiates a warm happy feeling in the pictures!

Tabitha in Bliss said...

Diane, I so can relate to this. No matter how much confidence I've help to build in my princess she still has had that moment. For a mom it does indeed hurt. You're an awesome mom and you'll know what to say when another incident comes.

Please tell your little one that I think she's simply outstanding both inward and out.

blueviolet said...

You couldn't have answered that situation in a better way. You're such an amazing mother, really, you are.

Lee said...

Nicely handled.

dianne said...

You are such a wonderful, caring Mum and the things you have told Ryan are so true, the beauty within is whats important...and her beautiful face is a bonus...

I went through this with my own daughter when she had self doubt,gosh I'm pleased those teen years have passed.
She was and still is beautiful both physically and in spirit, she still comes to me for advice and I seek hers, she is a wife and mum herself now and I still give her cuddles...she is my best friend.

You will both be OK, for you have that special bond and friendship and if she inherits all of your lovely qualities she will be just fine. ♡

Sometimes Sophia said...

Ryan's at such a tough age... when girls can be so cruel to each other. Sounds like you are doing an outstanding job helping her form a healthy perspective. She is beautiful and wonderfully unique. At Ryan's age the pack mentality is so prevalent - sadly - and damaging to those who don't fit the mold. Tell her to be strong and true to herself. You must be such a comfort to her, but I'm sorry you're hurting, too.

Michelle said...

She is gorgeous inside and out!!

And she has you to always remind her of that!!

Great post Diane!!

sherri said...

I remember being in junior high and i was a flat-chested TINY late bloomer with frizzy red hair, white skin and freckles. I HATED the way I looked and shed many a tear over my appearance.

My kinky red hair set me apart from everyone else. I wanted to have straight brown or blonde hair, dark skin, long legs,etc. like all the other girls. I hated being "different".

Then in high school, Big AL sees me and thinks, "Wow, she doesn't look like everyone else. I love that curly red hair and freckles." My looks caught his eye.
Who knew?

I did feel beautiful at home around my wonderful parents and always around him. Because I knew HE thought I was whether or not I agreed.

Your little darlin' has all the physical attributes I've always desired along with other wonderful qualities. Hard to appreciate them when you're young but Oh, beautiful Ryan, open your eyes honey, you are stunning and one day you will look back on this time and laugh because you will see your beauty. We already do.

hebba said...

How is it that whenever I read one of your posts, I laugh and cry and I'm heartbroken and hopeful and ecstatically happy that the world still has good people in it? You are a good mom. You have a good kid.

HLiza said...

It's the topic of the current age, huh? My daughter Iqa kept asking me why she has more facial hair, why she has big mole at the corner of her lips..she thinks they all make her ugly when nobody said so. I had to retell her many times that I had the same problems too when I was her age..(but the hair thing is from her dad!)..yet she will come and express the same thing again..

Lisa said...

somehow i missed this beautiful post dear diane.
us and our daughters......sigh.......what a beautiful, messy, complicated and yet somehow straightforward relationship it is.
The way we respond to them, and to their pain and hurts becasue we KNOW that pain too.
I have raised my daughter to almost 22 years old and we are closer than i ever dreamed possible but i hurt for her, love for her, laugh and cry for her because its what real mothers do Diane
Its just what we do.
i would SO love to have a coffee with you, share a laugh, read your aura xx

Helene (the Artist Formerly Known as Kate) said...

wow you handled that well. Just thinking about it makes me well up with tears... I think its such a tribute to your relationship that she can and does talk to you about it like that... sobbing etc

Maithri said...

Oh man... Was just taking a break from packing...which really is overrated btw... to catch up on some Diane love...

What an AMAZING team you make...

Two beautiful women, journeying together, protecting the tender places in each others hearts, clothing the days in laughter and kindnesses.

Daring to live wide eyed and open hearted through the wild seasons of love...

Honoured to know you, to call you sister and friend,

So much love, M

boneman said...

Well, dang it. My daughter tossed that bit of bombshell at my ex and I once, but, being as we were exes for so long, the return answer was unusually unfocused.
She came at it from the beauty is in the inside and i came at it from the we're all not beautiful at all.
(an unusual way to say we're all beautiful to someone0
And, she bought neither of us.

Dang!
I hate the beautiful paople concept and I love Rydell's take on it (even if I do misspell his name)
I'll post his painting at my post when I leave here, though I'll have to look him up again (which is probably a good thing so I can post his name correctly spelled, eh?)

hautepocket said...

Keep telling her. It may not seem like it all the time, but someday--after a lifetime of hearing those words from you--she will believe it. And she will remember it on her toughest days. You're a great mom. Hugs.

LMN said...

Aaahh, that gave me goosebumps. Yes, it's true. We all suffer little heartbreaks (and some big) now and then, over ourselves, over others, over the injustices and perceived injustices in the world. What a beautiful girl she IS, and what a good mama she has. The sooner we ALL learn that what matters, what truly only matters is on the INSIDE of us and others, how much better this world would be!! Too bad not every parent teaches their child this in such a wonderful and thoughtful way.

Mama Kat said...

Yes! Thanks for linking this, you said some awesome and TRUE things to her. Sometimes I can't tell if Maile is joking or not...but even so I don't know why she's even thinking like that to make a joke out of it. Does that make sense?

You're so right though. They have to experience this stuff to really appreciate the good. Still. It's hard.

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