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Thursday, 24 September 2009


By Lyn Burnstine of The Lynamber Times

When I look at young girls - on TV, on the street, my own granddaughters, and my friends’ granddaughters – I think how beautiful they are. Even the ones who are not classically beautiful have that dewy, firm freshness that only youth can bestow.

When my sister and I talk about that, we always end up saying that we wish we had known then what we know now - that we were lovely just by virtue of being young girls.

We were gawky teenagers and unsure of ourselves socially. I shot up taller than most of the boys; she was bony thin and was taunted with “skinny, skinny wrinkle-face” when a preteen. It was not desirable in the post-Depression forties to be skinny or to be a red-head as she was; it would be many years before the days of wide-spread attempts to emulate both model thinness and red hair.

And, of course, like most teens, we had pimples. And I had thick, thick glasses that shrunk my eyes to about the size of raisins.

But we were young and healthy and firm. She had gorgeous hair and a cute tush. I had a great smile and nicely-shaped collarbone and shoulders. We had firm, strong arms and beautiful, graceful hands.

Because I thought our adolescent insecurity had something to do with our parents praising us mainly for scholarship and talents and not telling us we were pretty (although I don’t honestly remember whether that’s true), I constantly told my own children that they were beautiful.

Well, guess what! Each girl thought the other was beautiful and not she herself and my son, who was and still is stunningly handsome, doesn’t know he is. I suppose that’s better than being vain and narcissistic.

The pendulum swung a bit too far in the other direction briefly, when my granddaughter was in a beauty pageant. At one point, her mother was moved to explode at her, “Marikje, you are getting way too shallow and way too blond!” Both fell into fits of giggling, and balance began to return to the household.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Lyn, you are so right about our self perceptions when we're young. I had really bad acne and that's all I saw. I felt ugly. Looking back at photos I can see that I had a prettiness that just wasn't visible to me then. Not that I was a beauty, but I wouldn't have stopped clocks either.

The insecurity of youth is so painful. I recently read that the cute cheerleader types that were so envied had the same insecurity that we ugly ducklings possessed.

When we are so self absorbed that we focus on our imperfections instead of our beautiful attributes we suffer from low self esteem. Wise parents do as you did and tell their children they are beautiful. Low self esteem can, sadly, last a life time.

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