Just Be Jennifer Lawrence!
By Rhonda Talbot on March 29, 2014
"If you looked and acted like Jennifer Lawrence that might work." On how my girls could be okay with my existence.
I rarely thought about my appearance until I realized I was fat. This epiphany occurred when I arrived in San Diego for college. After four exhausting years of starving myself I never actually achieved any sort of self-validation concerning my looks. I did, however, receive a great education.
This is me, the afternoon my chosen field of study held an honorary lunch on my behalf ^ ^ ^ I graduated top of the class. I wore a turtleneck in 85 degree weather because, well, I thought I was fat. It was all downhill from there.
Moving to Los Angeles to begin a career exasperated my weight issue given I now weighed 90 lbs, but felt like an elephant. Why was everyone so insanely thin, tan, tall and blemish-free? Fortunately for me I was somewhat articulate, so when all the girls were in hot tubs with various actors, I would be having conversations with Hal Ashby or Martin Scorsese or Mick Jagger. I quickly drew a line in the sand between me and them. Those tall, lithe, beautiful girls where magic things happen when they take their shirts off and me, where I had to work hard to make anything happen.
Those gals really go places. ^ ^ ^ Not that I haven't been to St. Tropez, but, yeah, kind of different.
Anyway, I threw myself into my work and by my mid 20's had gotten past cheap exteriors and the abundant superficialities of life.
But this is ancient history, or so I thought. Years, careers, accomplishments, dreams and marriages flew by.
Now I have girls. I had them later in life, or not in my 20's, and had already experience motherhood, so my approach to raising them was not exactly helicopter style. I'm more "let them break an arm" parent.
How else are they going to learn?
The girls (Twin A & E) are now 11. I understand the mother/daughter dynamic all too well, have written extensively about this. But somehow I didn't think I would fall prey to the daily, harsh criticism from my own daughters. Just because I thought my mother was the most un-cool, unattractive person ever certainly would not give reason for my girls to think the same. I'm mean I'm awesome. Right?
My mother horrifying me ^ ^ ^ ^ The man on the sailboat is Charles Manson's psychiatrist. They stayed together for ten years until one of his ex-wives dumped some placenta on their doorstep with a sign: EAT IT! Well, it was Marin County.
Now---it's my turn to navigate these tricky waters and very carefully, because if I suggest that saying unkind things is well, unkind, E will run off in full hysteria mode.
E: OMG! I knew it! You think I'm mean and awful and I am. I should just run way. What a horrible excuse for a human.
Her sister, A, a master diffuser, will assure her that it's me, not her. I am the culprit. Then they hug and are okay.
So I've learned to not react, engage, respond, no matter how much I am tested, teased or disparaged, no matter how cruel the insult, how deep the wound. I have an excellent poker face.
BUT, what I was not expecting was a throwback to my college days where I thought I was fat, ugly and retched.
I had already learned and worked through how having children can re-ignite all sorts of old wounds. Nonetheless, I'm human and there is only so much a person can take.
Despite their dads constant compliments, kindness, lovely gestures, none of this matters. I need my daughters approval, dammit. But I'm not going to get it. Ever.
But, I also am not exactly pure. I instigate a lot of this nonsense.
Me: So who DO you find attractive?
E: Why do you need to know? I thought those things didn't matter.
They look at each other as if to prove I'm full of shit.
E and A: Jennifer Lawrence. Too bad you don't look like her.
Me: Well, I'm old enough to be her mom!
Later we go shopping. They take a picture of me in the dressing room as if to dissect my entire face.
Your typical sadistic fitting room mirror with fluorescent lighting. ^ ^ ^ E starts to make a list. I buy three T-shirts.
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