When Watermelons Grew And Self-Esteem Blossomed

by Sherry Riter in Aging,Attitude,Change,Family,Self-Development  ,Sherry

Sherry in the front yard

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.

Sherry in the front yard2

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?

Sherry holding watermelon

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?

moms kitchen

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)

Sherry eating watermelon


The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Skip_D May 18, 2012 at 2:19 am

I like that girl too, & I very much like these pictures, recording your garden triumph. The watermelons look wonderful, & your expression of pure, unadulterated satisfaction & delight in those photos makes me smile with shared happiness.


2 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 2:20 am

Thank you very much, Skip. 🙂


3 andy May 18, 2012 at 2:35 am

How nice, how sincere. I am sorry it was a difficult week Sherry. Glad that Friday is here. Hope it is loaded with smiles for you.


4 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 2:37 am

Thank you, Andy. So far, Skip and you have both made me smile. I think that is a good start!


5 Wayne M Stahl May 18, 2012 at 2:45 am

When we are in our teens it seems that our self-esteem is at its most fragile state in our development as people. How it grows or doesn’t grow depends on those around us as much as how we see ourselves. Unfortunately for some of us it takes most of our lives to find and realize our self worth, give or take an experience or two or a hundred. Will there ever be a day when we can look in a mirror and tell ourselves that we are happy with everything we see there? Perhaps not, but isn’t that what makes life so interesting and enjoyable?
In the meantime the SPF 1,000,000 is in the mail …. 🙂


6 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 2:50 am

LMBO WAYNE! That is too funny! I haven’t reached the SPF 1,000,000, BUT i will let you know when I do! LMBO


7 mom May 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

You were always beautiful to mom. You have no makeup on in these pictures and you are naturally beautiful. These sure took me back. I miss my little girls.


8 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 4:10 am

Thanks Mom.


9 Susanne May 18, 2012 at 7:20 am

Good Morning Red,

I am the tall woman, who was the tall girl who wore size 11 -13 jeans. Unruly curly hair, but I did have a great tan. Little did anyone know that I was using pure Wesson oil when nothing else would work. I had to beamong the top 5 “tannest”. Granted I still have tan lines all year long, but that’s in my genes. My parents can will themselves tan…lol. Two little things, I’ll bet I have more wrinkles that you do. Okay, they are not quite wrinkles, but not quite fine lines either..lol. Secondly, no matter how bronze I was, I have rarely looked in the mirror and nodded with approval. I was never tan enough, my hair was too curly, my 5’10” frame should be have been thinner, I should have been prettier. It’s only recently in middle age that I look in the mirror with my advanced fine lines, long curly hair and size 8-10 jeans that I say, you look just fine for 52. I have learned to accept a compliment. I am finally coming to terms with who I am. Well…sort of. Am I jumping up and down screaming I am so glad that I don’t look like Heidi Klum? Ummm, well…not exactly. But, the mirror isn’t the same enemy that it was. I can’t grow a darn thing, I’m not a decorator, I can’t really cook, but I can clean and weed like a banchee. Due to my own condition, not diagnosed early on, I’ve lived a life full of failure that has effected every aspect of my life. But, I’m ready to take on plan F or G and probably even H and try to enjoy the back 9 of of life. You too are hanging in. Look at this great blog! You are now my favorite. Maybe, we should both go look in the mirror and give it a great big smile, just as a reminder. Have a fantastic Friday!


10 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 7:45 am


“Am I jumping up and down screaming I am so glad that I don’t look like Heidi Klum? Ummm, well…not exactly.”

LOL LOL LOL That made me laugh right out loud!

“Look at this great blog! You are now my favorite.”

Thank you soooooooooooooo much, Susanne!!! I feel very humbled and honored!

“we should both go look in the mirror and give it a great big smile”

Yeah, I think you are totally right. I’m going to do that right now…well, maybe in a minute or two. LOL

I hope you have a WONDERFUL FRIDAY!!!!! {{{{HUGSSSSS}}}}


11 Susanne May 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Hi. You are very welcome. It’s a compliment that you have earned. Oh and by the way, it’s nice to bump into a humble person. They are so far and few between in warm and fuzzy New England. ( choke, gag, gag )I’m glad that I could make someone laugh today. That’s always a good thing. A little sense of purpose…lol. Bye for now..


12 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm


LOL I have been to “warm and fuzzy New England,” so I know exactly what you are talking about – it was a culture shock for me.

Yes, you make me laugh often! THANK YOU!


13 Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) May 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Hey Red – WOW! Your hair was (is still?) SO red! What a beautiful young girl….yes, WHY did we think we were FAT at that age? I would love to have my 19 year old body back! LOL!
The teenage years can be so rough. And then we age and things get better, we feel better about ourselves….I am sorry you are struggling with your PSTD. A nice trip down memory lane, be kind to that girl inside!


14 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm


No, my hair is not THAT red any more. It was quite RED when I was a teenager. Let’s put it this way…You couldn’t miss me even in a large crowd of people. LOL LOL LOL

Thanks for your sweet comment. I’m taking it one day at a time, but that’s progression! It used to be one second at a time! I’m glad THAT is over!


15 Delinda May 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

You were a beautiful young girl. My cousin had curly red hair. My best friend had wavy red hair. I wanted red hair instead of the very dark brown. The world likes to tell lovely young women lies about beauty when we are in our most vulnerable years. On the other hand, have you noticed how many heroines in romance novels have hair some shade of red?


PS Where do you find SPF 100. I’ve actually burned using SPF 50


16 The Redhead Riter May 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

LOL Delinda!

I’ve never had anyone ask me about the sunblock with the intention of getting it!!! That was a nice change! So I find it with the baby stuff. They make Waterproof SPF100 for babies. The bottles are not as big as regular SPF because they are assuming it is for tiny bodies, but that was fine with me! I don’t stay outside that long in the scorching heat anyway. I think the last time I bought SPF100 it was at a drug store like CVS, Eckerds or RiteAid. The next time I find some, I will try to remember to let you know where I get it.

I have noticed that for the past several years, red hair has been more fashionable and that they can easily be found in books. I think to myself, “YAY!!!!!! It’s about time!” LOL


17 Amber Mae May 20, 2012 at 12:03 am

Beautiful Post Red, and P.S. You were and are beautiful, and I LOVE your porcelain skin and red hair.


18 The Redhead Riter May 20, 2012 at 12:37 am

Thank you very much, Amber Mae!


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