It was around this time that we—Tiffany, my brother and I—learned that I was the smart one and Tiffany was the pretty one. She is pretty; I have all of the opposite features, so I must be ugly. It became a fact in our minds, no doubt whatsoever. Over time, it infected my entire personality; it consumed my thoughts; it controlled my life. I would often think of my future, and how it was going to be. It made me sad. While other little girls were probably day dreaming about who they were going to marry, or what kind of house they would live in, I was not. I was sure that no one would ever marry me. I didn’t even think I would have a boyfriend when I got older; I would wonder what happens to girls like me … ugly girls. Before I learned that I was ugly, I actually didn’t know any “ugly” girls; I thought everyone was so beautiful.
What happens to ugly women, I feared? What do women, who don’t marry, actually end up like? What kind of life do they have? I was not only sad, I was scared.
Being the ugly one hurt, but I was too embarrassed to let people know that I was hurting. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, fearing that more people might confirm it out loud, or my ugliness will become apparent to the few who hadn’t noticed yet. There I was, this sad, embarrassed, guilty little girl who has to act like every thing’s all right; when, in fact, I wanted to die. I knew I was going to heaven, and looks don’t matter there, just spirit, and I knew I had a beautiful spirit.
My brother would draw pictures of my nose and show them to me; like it’s not bad enough that I have to look at it every day in the mirror! If the sun shone through the window on my face, he would point to my shadow to show me what an ugly profile I had. And finally, we used to play this game that my mother taught us where we would draw a picture on each other’s back using just our fingertip. The other had to guess what it was a drawing of. When my mom taught us the game, she would draw hearts, flowers, four-leaf clovers; you know, pretty, happy things. I remember this one time when we were on a long car ride with my parents. My brother and I were in the back seat playing this game. It was my brothers’ turn to draw and, of course, go ahead, you can guess: Yes, he drew my nose. I knew what it was immediately, even before he finished, but I couldn’t say it. Isn’t that fucked up! I was so mortified that I lay there quiet while he kept on drawing it over and over again saying, “Come on, it’s easy,” and then he’d draw it real slow trying to get me to feel the outline. You know, it’s about thirty years later and I remember praying while he kept drawing. I was praying that he would change his mind and draw something else, anything else, my brother is an artist, he could draw anything in the world and he had to draw that! So finally, he yells out, “It’s your nose!” and he drew it again slowly, describing it as he drew it. “I can’t believe you didn’t guess that one!”
I didn’t say a word. Remember, I acted like it didn’t bother me. I felt sick inside and so humiliated. We had just spent what felt like an eternity on the one thing I hated so much, that I couldn’t even talk about. That’s right, that’s why I didn’t guess. I’d rather lose the silly game than just say “my nose.” How crazy is that? I don’t know if I was delusional or if it was a result of the BDD or both, but for some reason, I guess I was so sick back then, I thought if I didn’t talk about it, ever, something would change. I knew my appearance wouldn’t change, but maybe if I didn’t say the word, no one would see it. I knew if I said it, if ever I said the words, “my nose” I would bring attention to it, which was the worst thing that could happen, in my world. Wow, looking back, I was a very sick little girl. Here’s my brother drawing a picture of my nose over and over again on my back and I am unable to guess because I had conditioned myself not to say these two little words, “my nose!” It’s not even a case where not saying it will keep the attention away. The attention is already on it. He had drawn “my nose.” If I had said it, he wouldn’t have had to keep on drawing it. It would have ended the misery much quicker. But physically, I was unable to say those two little words. I can even remember how I felt. Just thinking back, recalling the humiliation—my heart was beating loudly in my ears; my face was flushed and burning, and again, my stomach was queasy. This pain affected all of my body systems, I, literally, would rather have been punched or kicked. The pain would stay in just one area, and go away much quicker. This ruined my entire trip.
I could never be mad at him though; I loved him. I thought he was the greatest and wanted to be just like him. I mean one side of my brain is thinking, “You mean little fucker, you knew how I felt about my nose, you knew I hated it and the way I looked; my God, it’s you who caused me to hate myself ” But then the adult in me knows that he was just a little boy, nine years old, and had no idea how bad he was hurting me. How could he? I never told him. Many people, including therapists, psychiatrists and family members would tell me that that’s normal. Once again, they’d say, “that’s what big brothers do, they tease their little sisters.” But it wasn’t teasing; he was never laughing, he was “telling me like it is.” There was no silliness or making fun. When we were little, we were so close. We played together all the time. I adored him. But as I got older, I felt he became embarrassed of me, and embarrassed for me, because he loved me so much. He wanted to make sure that when I entered the “real” world, I would know who I really was, what “category” I was going to fit into—ironically in a caring sympathetic way. Unfortunately there was no way of letting me know this without hurting my feelings.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Biographies & Memoirs / Self-Help
Rating – R
More details about the book