I know it’s in there. Somewhere between the serious Don’t-make-me-have-to-tell-you-again Mom voice and the soft little girl voice that still makes callers inquire, “is your mom or dad home?” when I answer the phone.
Maybe someone will love me then?
The girl in the Lands’ End catalog, Claire’s Jewelry Boutique and issue of Woman’s Day magazine wasn’t me. Not really. It was the pretend me. The girl I longed to be in my head but knew I wasn’t in my heart. The girl who could only emerge after an hour and a half of hair and make-up.
Then she was pretty.
Then she was valued.
At least for the moment.
It takes a lot to hide who you really are. A costume put on to be someone else. This girl was masterful at learning to be what others wanted her to be. It is the only way to survive.
Shhhh, don’t tell.
Afterwards it seemed she could forget or at least pretend it didn’t matter that she was really none of things people thought.
She wasn’t confident or beautiful.
Her life wasn’t perfect.
She wasn’t Daddy’s little girl or her Mother’s pride and joy.
She was broken.
She was damaged goods.