I’ve been thinking about this topic for quite a while.
I watched my mother go from a woman who seemed self confident and generally satisfied with life, to a woman who—in my opinion—has crawled inside of herself, has lost her self esteem and looks at the world through gray-tinted glasses. This is a view from the outside, so I can only think my impression of her when she was younger was exaggerated, because how can a person do a 180 quite like that?
My perception is that her self confidence was not based on a sense of value that came from within, but from others’ reactions to her and feelings about her.
Let me ‘splain.
She was very attractive when she was younger. She loved male attention; thrived on it, I think. And she always looked young for her age and loved it when people told her she didn’t look old enough to have a daughter my age (of course, she also became a mother at nineteen, so when I was nineteen, she was only thirty-eight).
One day I was talking with her on the phone—this was probably ten years ago now—and she was upset about something that had happened in the little health food store she clerked at. A man came in—I think she said he was fiftyish—anyway, she asked if she could help him and he ignored her, turning instead to her younger female counterpart. Then the guy proceeded to flirt with “the other woman.”
My mother has brought this up in conversation several times, and I mark it one of the incidents that precipitated her “slide.”
The store episode happened not long after her partner of at least ten years left her for his previous wife. So it was like a body slam and then a kick.
I have watched my mother’s fall with a lot of sadness and a bit of apprehension. There go I?
My daughter and I saw a new dentist yesterday. We walked in and the dentist and his wife were standing at the counter and asked if people often mistook the two of us for sisters. It’s nice, I’m not saying it isn’t, but I think of my mother and I know I’ve got to wean myself from this stuff because it will end.
Our sense of value has got to come from within, not from others. For a female, appearance-approval is touted as the greatest thing we could ever hope for. Women pay a lot of money for this.
You are the princess. The beautiful princess.
I want to be a worthy example for my daughter; I want her to feel good about herself, not because of her looks, but because of who she is inside. She is an absolutely gorgeous young woman, both inside and out. Thankfully, she isn’t all that smitten with male attention, but our society hammers away at women: This is what’s important about you—your hair, your cheekbones, your body. I heard over and over and over when she was a teenager: She could be a model. Other parents couldn’t understand why I wasn’t trying to get her into modeling. I was watching my mother, I was noticing other middle aged and older women who seemed uncomfortable with themselves, I was watching myself. I was well aware of society’s over-emphasis on girls’ and women’s looks. Why in hell would I want to lead my daughter down that path? She could be a model. So?
I watch women. Of course I do, because I naturally watch people. But lately, I especially watch women. I watch younger women who are in love with being noticed. I watch middle aged women trying to hold on to that notice. I love to see women who look like they’re over fifty and feel good about themselves.
I think a woman’s mother’s attitude to appearance and admiration has a lot to do with how that woman sees herself and where she seeks approval—from within or without. But I also think that, if necessary, we can consciously work at over-riding her example and become whole from inside.
What do you think about this subject?
– – – – – – – – – – – –
What do you think of this theme? I like it, but I’m concerned that the font is too small and I can’t edit the css. Let me know. . . .