Images of Self

The middle and early high school years were an awkward era for me. I was a tall, skinny, gawky, glasses wearing, freckle-faced girl with a bad, frizzy haircut. My clothes were from Filene’s Basement, Marshall’s, or Bamberger’s and were anything but trendy; Jordache jeans were financially out of the question.

I was teased and taunted by obnoxious boys on the school bus. In gym class, the cool girls made fun of the way I sprinted down the track and called me names. (Yes, bullies and “mean girls” have been around forever!) As a result of all of this, I became shy and introverted around classmates, and regularly prayed that teachers wouldn’t call on me to talk in class. I just wanted to be invisible. Or, like many other pre-teen or teenaged girls, I dreamed of being someone else.

I graduated college, started a job at IBM, and with my first paycheck slowly but surely turned into a junky.  Cosmetics and hair care products became my “drug of choice” to transform the ugly ducking.

Looking back over the past twenty-five years or so, I now can confess that I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to make my face and hair look like Stefanie Power’s, Jill St. John’s, Ann-Margret’s, Julia Roberts’, or Marcia Cross’. I’ve “invested” in a range of skincare products from Clinique, Lancome, Chanel, MD Forte, and SkinMedica to Dysport and Restylane. I’ve been indulging in monthly facials and microderm abrasions for over a decade. I’m a Sephora “Very Important Buyer” where I shop online and in stores regularly. And, as far as hair goes, I’ve comfortably settled into being a redhead (I’ve been a brunette and a blonde too) who uses high-end, sulfate free shampoos and conditioners (to preserve my color), and other hair care products.

I’m smart enough to know that – the same way that some people overeat to feed an emotional hurt – I’ve been coloring, concealing, priming, and putting on foundation to cover up mine.

Fortunately, I’ve learned along the way that all of this superficial stuff is meaningless at the end of the day. While many people focus on the wrapping paper of a present or on the cover of a book, it’s what’s inside the box or in the pages of the book that counts. I know the truth. Only tried and proven values, a loving family, supportive friends, a good education, the development of professional and business skills, and a strong desire to make our world a better place were able to transform an insecure girl into a confident, grounded, driven woman…

…a woman who always leaves the house with make up on!

3 thoughts on “Images of Self

  1. Haha! I love it. As a tall, not fat but big-boned, braces-wearing, curly haired, freckled-faced girl, I feel your “pain” and always thought (and knew!!) that you were/are beautiful outside and inside! …Let alone talented, smart, successful…and I can go on and on.

    Just let me know when to make you that appointment for permanent eyeliner. 😉

    Seriously though, I want to be just like you when I grow up.


  2. As one of the most authentic Jewish women I know- you rock the world for other evolving Jewish women..
    xox Shaindle


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