The story goes that when I was born Great Aunt Mavis took one look at me and fainted.
My family has always had a laugh about that one.
No one has ever accused me of being pretty.
Mum brought me home from hospital and did all the right things. I think she felt like she
had let the family down somehow. My brother says the nurses issued mum with a brown
paper bag instead of the baby bounty bag full of freebies.
No one told me anything as I grew. But somehow I knew. When the neighbourhood kids
played rounders I was always outfield – way out field. The ball never came my way. The
cubby-house had rules. No ugly people allowed. I would play with my Barbie dolls
instead. I wondered why they were so beautiful. I poked their eyes out.
School was a nightmare. Cruelty and torture go hand in hand in the education system. At
five I was wrenched from the warm familiar bosom of my family and placed in some sort
of six-hour hellhole. Three o’clock never came around soon enough for me. At first I never wondered why, or what I had done to deserve this life. That came later
My mother said that I had to be good at something. She was good at clutching at straws,
great armfuls of them at times. I was molded into the latest fashions. My hair was cut to
match the times. All to no avail. Just plain ugly, my father would say matter of factly.
I loved drama. I would have given my right eye to be Sandy in Grease. My brother said
plucking out my right eye would be a start, an improvement. I did have a starring role,
just once. I was the hunchback of Notre Dame. My brother said the school was broke and
they were saving on makeup. My crowning moment came when I said "Turn away, don’t
look at me I’m ugly" the whole school erupted in laughter. That moment was the pivotal
moment for me. My mother was right. I did have to be good at something, I loved the
laugh, I was going to be a commedien.
It was only later as that line was thrown back at me more times than I care to remember,
that I realised they were laughing at me, not with me.
I’m a vibrant person, but as with all human nature I soon learned to work the system.
Ugly people are equated with stupid people; ergo, I was never picked for the answer, the
speech, the extra mile, or told to go for it. I was left to be me, but never anonymously.
My family says my face has character, a strength within, kind verbs to mask the only
adjective I grew up with –ugly.
People recover from injury, fat people get thin, I have none of their optimism. At one
time when my mother told me sticks and stones may break my bones but names will
never hurt me, I wished for stones, great boulders actually, to be dropped like manna
from heaven. It didn’t happen.
They say we find someone just like ourselves. I hope not. I want the most handsome man
I can find. With 50% of his DNA I’m hoping to break the cycle.
I’ve been through all the anti – isms I can find, but there isn’t a law governing
I did manage to get a job. They said I would be suited to out the back. Way out back I
thought, like my rounders fielding days.
There is one aspect of it all I really don’t like. That’s the people who gather around me.
Some attach themselves to me like I’m a charity case. I call it the Mother Therese
syndrome. People see them as do-gooders. Isn’t she wonderful making friends with the
unfortunate. Then there are the ‘I’m better looking than you people. I call them the
opposites. They figure it stands to reason they will look good next to someone who
I have one good friend. He never judges me. He only sees me for what I am. He doesn’t hide his emotions and he has a natural optimism. He’s my dog Bugle. And you know
what, he’s uglier that I am.