Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There Was a Little Girl...

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
And when she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Several folks lately have been posting photos of themselves as wee ones. I think it started with a challenge from Felicia. I couldn't resist getting in on the act! Luckily, my dear cousin Kristi gave me a scrapbook for my 50th birthday last year, which contained several photos to choose from. The one above is me circa 1958.

I heard that poem recited to me from the time I can remember. Yes, I have naturally curly hair, which was the bane of my existence most of my life, until I got smart and realized it was a gift. And guess where I got it from?

Yep, that's me and my Mom, in a photo taken by my Dad. He was an amateur photographer and we were his favorite subjects. No wonder: there were a lot of curls between the two of us!

And then I started to grow up...


This was me in 1963, at the ripe old age of six. Hey, I think that cardigan is back in style again!

I've been thinking about Hanlie's comment on her post with her childhood photos, wondering what she would say to her younger self if she had the chance. I know I would like to somehow reach back in time, hug my little self, and say, "Yep, you're a little chubby. Don't worry about it: you're a terrific kid with so much to offer the world!" I know it's a tough lesson to teach a child, but some how I'd like little me to understand that she was good enough just as she was, extra pounds and all.

When I look at that photo in retrospect, I know there was such a rough road ahead. I really internalized the cultural message that being fat was not ok, which meant that I was not ok. As I grew older, anorexia became more prevalent. I remember thinking when Karen Carpenter died, "You mean, women would rather die than look like me? I must be disgusting." I wish I could somehow help mini-me to understand that I was not my body, and that I was a talented, funny, loving and compassionate girl. I think had I been able to understand and accept this about myself, instead of hating myself for being fat, I may not have had the need to eat to fill up the holes in my very young heart.

But who knows? Maybe I would have over-eaten just because it all tasted so good!

What I do know is that being an overweight child, young adult, and grown-up person has formed the woman I am today. It's like the wrinkles on my face: every one of them came from an expereince that has shaped who and what I am. I still battle those extra pounds, and probably will for the rest of my life. But at least now I know that I'm ok, that I am good enough just as I am.


Until next time...

17 comments:

Irish Mom said...

I aagree wholeheartedly!! I so wish I could have a chat with my old self, things may not have been different but I would have loved to remind ME to LOVE ME!!

Needled Mom said...

I have always loved that poem. I, too, had curls but mine were bright red. I ended up being on the other end of the scale as I was rail thin. Trust me, you get a lot of grief from that too. Perhaps it was from envy. All I know is that I doubt that anyone is ever comfortable with their body and it is wonderful to be at an age where I am happy in my own skin.

Darn, though, I wish I still had my curls!

Exuberant Color said...

My mother used to say that poem to me too. I didn't know who the author was until you posted it. I have a picture of my curl if you click on Family in the Labels and scroll down to Aug.16.

Barb said...

Wow! That was an amazing post. Makes me want to hug the little you and tell her that you did indeed turn out to be wonderful! Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm definitely adding yours to my "must read" list.

dadivastreet said...

Good post! I think in the end Loving & Knowing the person that you've become is what truly counts! That Little You was such a cutie!

Cammy said...

Love the photo!

I agree with your comments wholeheartedly! As Anne Lamott wrote, "Every age we've ever been is who we are." I think the same is true for size.

Felicia said...

I loved this WHOLE post!! Thanks so much for participating in the Fun Photo Challenge. This was wonderful!

*super big huggles*
=0)

Ready Maid said...

Yours is a profound message, Pattie - one which is being echoed in a number of blogs. I hope we can capture all the new ways this HYC bunch is creating to celebrate responsibly with food. I even mentioned that might make a great cookbook.

Beautiful message. Beautiful girl.

RunningNan said...

It's amazing how many people had issues with body image. If I knew then what I know now... but hey.. hindsight is useless... Let's live for the moment!

jovaliquilts said...

That must have been a tough post to write. How sad that a whole generation of women were -- and this generation still is -- being made to feel that way.

What adorable photos of you! And I had a little curl right in the middle of my forehead too. Still have a major cowlick.

40 by 40 said...

Cute pics, Patti..Great post.....You have a great way of looking at things.

Scale Junkie said...

OMG you were such an adorable short person...and you've turned into a fantastic adult. I'd have a few things to say to me back then too but as Nan said, hindsight and all that.

Lora said...

Oh how adorable you were! Those eyes!! Beautiful!

Hanlie said...

You were adorable! Still are, in fact! I think the biggest lesson we have to learn in life is that we are worthy despite our "shortcomings", real or perceived.

nutmeg said...

I am so filching this! You were adorable.

Sybil said...

Nice post. Very thoughtful and relevant to those of us that have felt 'less than' for so long.

Thank you.

jillytacy said...

That would be a good chat to have with yourself! We can't all be the same size so I don't know why society tells us we should try! I hope to teach my daughter that you are exactly right just the way you are so don't apologize for who you are.
The photos are precious and I love the poem. My mom recited that when I was a kid too. I always wished I had natural curls just like my mom.