This is part 2 of a post about the book About Face.
I said I would follow up with my story about "what I see in the mirror," but I've got to tell you- this was a rough one. I wrote two totally separate versions; one nice, one angry. I choose to post the nice one, with a few angry jabs stuffed in. Here goes;
Who is this freaky chick?*
I can't remember a time that I looked
in the mirror and I did not like what I see.
Sure, there was the gangling teeth stage,
the teenage zit phase (which has not ended by the way and I am almost
40 for cripes sake), and the post modeling days when I cruised around
in a black baseball hat and baggy clothes in an effort to keep all
eyes OFF of me so I didn't have to live up to everyone's beauty
But all in all, I've never wanted to
change anything about myself.
I am well aware there are way more beautiful
women in the world; those beaming with perfectly
exotic expressions, and sex appeal leaking out of their pores…but I
have never wanted to be someone else.
My nose is kinda crooked, and its
getting bigger with age. We joke my dad that he has a “bulb” at
the end of his nose, just like his mother, and now I see mine growing
slowly but surely. It makes me proud to know, a part of him is now
part of me.
My facial structure is from my mom. I
remember when she came to Paris with me and my agent took one look at
her and said “I see where she gets her high cheekbones from!” My
mom was grinning from ear to ear. We still joke about it, and when
she brings it up kiddingly I say “yeah, yeah….its all because of
My height and big feet are from my
Grandma, the one that walked a bit hunched over, but held her head
up high, and didn't take any shit. She lived in the ghetto of
Milwaukee, the only white women among many black families, who
accepted her as one of their own. She was a firecracker, independent
as hell, as she walked the blocks to the bus daily, and never, ever
got mugged (sure, they tried, but she held on to her pocketbook and
told them to get lost). And the tough little punks ran from the
little old lady, with a glare that could knock you sideways. I'd like
to think I also got my spunk from her.
My features are now passed on to my
children. A “mini-me” daughter and my blue-eyed-boy that is going
to give me an ulcer when his hormones kick in. They both were lucky
enough to inherit two very distinct features from my husband –
dimples and flat feet, the true sign of a Blessington.
When I ask my parents what I was like
as a child, they smile and say “you were happy-go-lucky.”
I love that saying, perhaps because I
believe it fits me to this day, and now I see the same quality in my
children which makes me so very proud.
What more could you ask for than to be
happy-go-lucky? A free spirit, born to roam, totally immune to
cultural expectations. Free to just be who you were meant to be
without looking back, without questioning, and without the imaginary
stress the masses carry from day to day.
Perhaps the best part of this quality
is that one doesn't care much about how others view them. Not in a
crass, selfish way, but in a realistic world view way.
Truth be told, I did spend the bulk of
my twenties ashamed of my beauty.
With beauty comes attention.
With attention comes envy.
With envy comes hurt.
With hurt comes shame.
Who is this sad skinny chick?*
I was shamed for my beauty, made to
feel as if I was somehow selfish for it (actually I should say I was
told point blank I was selfish over and over and over and over until
I started to believe it). I spent some time convinced it was true, until I got smart. This ploy is always just a front to
accommodate the nay-sayers insecurities.
So here I sit, approaching 40 years of
age, still that happy-go-lucky girl that my parents admired, doing
nothing more than looking forward to what the next 40 will bring,
paying no mind to the the signs of aging that will continue to creep
across my face and body, because if I have learned anything at all, I
have learned that you can not get the time back.
Who is this happy, cool chick?*
You live with the memories you create,
the destiny you chase, and the legacy you leave.
And I, for one am enjoying the ride.
Freaky chick is me in NY, perhaps during the one and only photo shoot I enjoyed. Wearing a wig was so fun!
Sad, skinny chick is me in gay Parie' way back when. My mom found these images last weekend, they make me sad because I remember it like it was yesterday.
Happy, cool chick is me, now, 39 and feeling fine!