Comfortable In My Own Skin

photo of the author at age 8 with the title "Comfortable in My Own Skin"

This is me, circa 1975.  This is the picture of me I probably hate the most in this world.  Love the outfit, mind you.  Handmade by a friend of the family.  But everything else from my hair to my teeth to my glasses is just ugh!!!  I don’t think I was even very happy with my look back then because that’s not my normal happy smile.

Flash forward to the present.  38 years later, braces, better glasses, a much better haircut later, I still struggle much of the time with feeling like the ugly duckling in the room.  Doesn’t matter that my parents told me I was beautiful, that my husband tells me I’m beautiful, that my kids tell me if dress up and put makeup on I’m still a “hot mom”.  There are days when I just can’t shake that feeling.

Some mornings I would wake up and I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting on clothes.  I know that’s probably hard to understand, but my anxiety was so high that I felt like I would rather flay off all my skin and expose my raw nerve endings to the air – that had to be less painful than how I was feeling.  I found that by only wearing soft clothes (cotton, cashmere, etc.) I could psych myself into getting dressed and out of the house.  To this day it is still hard for me to be at a party or other social function.  I am always so sure I will say something stupid and embarrass myself.

These days I mostly have my anxiety under control , through a little bit of medication, a little bit of therapy and a lot of behavior modification.  When I’m so uncomfortable I want to get up and run out of the room, I calmly sit and in my head describe what I am wearing, how it feels, what the room looks like, etc. until I can relax and join in the festivities.  If I start to get irrationally scared or sad, I can remind myself that “it’s just a thought” and let it pass. When neither one of those tricks work, I can take a half a pill and deal.

I have also learned that we all have our hang-ups.  Art was teased as a child for being overweight.  Other friends were “too skinny, too tall, too short.”  The important thing is not who we were, but who we are.  And who I am is not a gawky ugly duckling.  Who I am  is a sweet-faced, happy woman, who also happens to be a brilliant writer, if I do say so myself 😉

photo of the author in 2012And yes, I think I am finally getting comfortable in my own skin.

What is holding you back?  What part of your past do you need to shed so you can be comfortable in your own skin?

8 thoughts on “Comfortable In My Own Skin

  1. I have lots of those pictures that I hate 🙂 You are right and everyone’s defense mechanism is different, mine happens to be very thick sarcasm.

    Being teased when you are young, will always leave a mark. I, however, decided those remarks shouldn’t define me even though some days – very few, I think they have.

    Ugly duckling you are not!!

  2. Teressa,
    You are so brave and insightfull.
    Having an anxiety disorder myself,I so understand your fears.You have worked so very diligently to get to this point and I am so proud of you!
    and,you are indeed beautiful,both inside and out!
    Hugs and continued love,

  3. lol– you are a crack up–you were a very beautiful child–and now look at you–I mind does all sorts of stupid things such as the ugly duckling to the swan– put some lipstick on sweetie and smile your a child of God, and you are beautiful–It the inside that always counts, wheres your heart…Hey Gorgeous!!! YA! YOU!–Remember that–yup all humans have this problem with feeling not perfect to expectations…..but you are!

    1. Thanks, Dianna 🙂 I wasn’t really looking for approval, just know there are other people out there who struggle with self-image and wanted them to know they’re not alone.

  4. Teressa- Your blog subject matter today hit a cord with me. Am I comfortable in my own skin? That is a twosided question. Yes and no.
    As I get older, I realize that we are all very much the same, with the same desires, wants, and needs. Especially since becoming a mother of two children.
    I am proud of being a mom to two wonderful, terrific kids. I know I have done a great job.

    But for me now to go out and find work…..well, you would think I am just able to go out and do anything…..NOT THE CASE!!!! Why, you ask?? Insecurity and low self-esteem. It comes creeping up again. For the exact reason, I am not sure.
    All I know is that I am trying to be OK with me and who I am. I am trying to move forward and not be slower down by any negative thoughts.
    I do believe that I will be comfy in my own skin because I am good enough, strong enough and DAMMIT people like me!!!! (That is an old SNL line)


    1. My thoughts are with you, Sharon. I know how hard it is to reinvent yourself after years as a homemaker, but I also know that you would be an asset to any business. You can do it!!

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