You probably haven’t been able to tell it, but this has been an especially hard week for me. Not only have I truly worked hard at my job, but I have been trying to co-exist with my PTSD. It has been…EXHAUSTING. The extra tiredness caused me to think a lot about who I am and how I see myself.
Some of my very first blog posts encouraged you to look in the mirror and asked the question, “Are you beautiful?” Inner beauty is one of the topics that I write about frequently because for a huge part of my life, I have felt ugly.
When Watermelons Grew
Rarely am I comfortable with my alabaster skin. It is rather pathetic that I have spent so much time fretting over something that I simply can’t change. Because of my inability to tan and because I was teased constantly as I grew up, I sought self-esteem boosting experiences to validate my existence and to tame my self-loathing.
One thing you learn when living in Texas is that the place gets awfully hot in the summer. When I was in high school, my mother decided to have a garden in the backyard. She built grow boxes and filled them with all kinds of yummy vegetables. Having grown up in farm country, gardening was quite easy for Mom. I wanted to know if I could grow more than a cactus and snake plants, so I decided to plant watermelons and cantaloupe against the back fence.
Every day I tended to the plants and they took off growing. I didn’t believe that I would really be able to grow a REAL vegetable, but with each passing day, I was more and more excited. After fighting off the heat from Hell, critters, pestilence and plagues (I exaggerate only slightly), I actually grew some beautiful watermelons and cantaloupes. Not only were they gorgeous, they are still the most juicy and sweet watermelons and cantaloupes I have ever eaten.
While everyone else my age was lounging by the pool and getting beautifully bronzed, I learned about gardening. It still didn’t seem like life was fair, but I tried to accept it.
Looking back at these pictures, I realize that just because I wasn’t a petite, tanned girl with a flowing mane of blonde hair, I wasn’t as ugly as Shrek. My hair was a flaming red and I wore size 11 junior jeans. Why did I think that I was fat?
Although I didn’t really cook much, I was already an accomplished seamstress and knew how to crochet, embroider, knit, needlepoint, hook rugs and grow watermelons. Why did I think I wasn’t talented?
Growing the watermelons and cantaloupes that year, helped my self-esteem to blossom…a little bit.
Now I am such a different person and yet, in many ways, I am exactly the same girl that is smiling back in these photographs. This week I accepted the fact that I am not and will never be exactly how I was two years ago, but no one else is either. We all change. We either progress or digress. We make choices. We live through experiences. We love. We laugh. We cry. All these experiences mold us into the person who stares back in the mirror.
I like that girl in the mirror…most of her. I realize that I still have a lot more watermelons and cantaloupes to grow. If that’s the case, I’m going to be in the heat and sun, so someone please pass me the SPF100. (rolling eyes)