When my parents sent me to St. Mary’s Episcopal School for Girls, I don’t think they had any idea that they were sending me to a school that was absolutely filled at the time with pageant girls. See, St. Marys (SMS) was the best school in the city as far as academics were concerned. No question about it. It was the best, which is why Mom and Dad wanted me and all my awesome potential there! And it was filled with charming, well-behaved, well-educated little girls. Ballet was a required course. That’s right, readers! I took ballet! For several years. Despite how horribly uncoordinated I am. And before anyone asks: Yes, there is video out there somewhere, and no, I don’t know where it is.
One thing that I used to hear on a regular basis,(aside from “You’re going to burn in the firey depths of hell for being a Jew, please let us save you!”), that I used to just shrug off, but that always kind of stung a little but just because I didn’t know what I was missing out on was this little insult: “What do you know? Your mother doesn’t even love you enough to enter you in a pageant.”
This of course always came from the prettiest girls after I had done something to defend myself from their awfulness or after I had sung a song in the playground and people had recognized that I had a talent.
Now, I have to give thanks to God today for my MS and for the show Toddlers and Tiaras for enlightening me on what I was missing out on for all of those years and for the “love” that my mother was “denying” me.
It is something else to know that for years, I let the opinions of truly scarred individuals taint my opinion of my own mother.
I can’t believe the number of times I looked in the mirror and thought, “My own mother thinks I’m too ugly to enter into a pageant even if they put makeup on me.” And the number of times those bitches would say things like, “No amount of makeup fixes ugly!” And how many times I still think that today, despite assurances from the people who love me.
I was taking my self-esteem and beauty cues from the daughters of narcissistic mothers who were willing to let their children be hypersexualized and objectified on a stage for money. Whoops! Wrong turn there.
I wondered for years when I was little, why, when I had vocal talent at such a young age, Mom and Dad didn’t capitalize on it or help me to do so.
It’s not because they didn’t love me and didn’t want the world to see me and my talent. It’s because they didn’t want me to be the kid that was crying and them the the mom and dad saying to smile anyway… even though that’s what ended up happening anyway.
Kinda ironic how that goes. But at least I wasn’t hypersexualized or objectified! 🙂
I’m glad the series exists. It’s helping me come to terms with my love/hate relationship with makeup and with the stage. And it’s definitely helping me forgive my mother for something she didn’t deserve to have me angry with her for in the first place.
But it has let me know a few things that are super important.
1. Every girl deserves a crown and a trophy and to be told she is beautiful. Each one. No matter what.
2. There are professionals out there who can teach how to walk with proper posture, be poised, be ladylike, have good manners, etc. I know these skills matter in professional situations. These things matter in life. I can give myself the skills I lack or have lost by hiring a professional if I so desire.
3. I have lived the majority of my life totally and completely misunderstanding my parents.
I guess being an uggo whose parents should have named her Betsy (since it’s a more suitible name for a cow) is more than alright by me. At least I was never just a doll. Not that they were “Just a doll” just that it can seem that way on TV.