Monday, February 29, 2016

Body Lies My Mother Told Me

My mother was an exception. In a nation of short statured East Indian women, she was a giraffe. She towered over women and some men too. Every photograph of her growing up, showed a lanky, stooped-over sullen looking girl.

She grew into her good looks and began to own them, either that or she faked it well. We never had that kind of sharing relationship that I would ever know.
When I was about 16 or so, I was standing in front of the mirror  in our blue upstairs bathroom (yes, it was the seventies). Looking back, I guess it was an evening when I realized that I was a woman, not a point your finger at “she’s gorgeous”, but certainly acceptable. My mother, who perhaps was still uncertain of her own looks, stopped as she passed by and reminded me that good looks could be taken away in an instant. Pow!

That comment stuck with me for decades, and never again did I pause in front of a mirror and stop even for one second to admire how I turned out. I loved fashion and always did it on a budget because I was never certain that I deserved to look good.

My mother lived to show-off her shapely figure in halter tops and long legs in short shorts. When puberty hit me, she probably thought that I’d outgrow my petite size, but I never grew past my small stature of 5ft 2inches. She told me that I would grow breasts when I turned 16, and that legs were supposed to only meet at high thigh, knees and ankles. She did not appreciate the fact that I held to other values.

She did not live to see my small breasts cut open to cure the tumor growing inside, the petite frame that I am able to maintain at 60, and the legs that have carried me through 12 half-marathons.

She did not understand that the way we look has nothing to do with what is in our hearts, and that pretty people can also be wonderful, wise, wealthy and happy.

She missed out on me.

Pretty people can also be wonderful, wise, wealthy and happy. (Click to Tweet)


  1. Eloquent and moving article about growing past the pain of a mom who has fears and insecurities about her daughter's femininity and becoming a woman. Along with many others, this was my story and your insightful comment that your mom missed out on YOU is a great one for all of us sharing that experience to remember. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write your words. I apologize for not responding much earlier but was not made aware of your comment until now. We must all acknowledge the pain and hurt we have felt in our growing years, it is the only way I know of to make peace with the past and create a new beginning.