It seemed like a good time between reviewing Something Borrowed and Something Blue, by Emily Giffin to discuss ugly ducklings and swans. Rachel, from the books, is another character I identified with for some time. She was always less attractive that her best friend, by those markers that most people measure with. She had worked really hard to get to a job she hated but she was good at because she continued to work really hard. Could be the story of my life.
I had a stunning best friend. All those formative years when your self esteem is supposed to be built first at home and then by the reactions of your peers, I learned not nice messages about myself. I always thought I was unworthy.
Now when I was young I simply did everything for the friend without thinking about it because I loved her. In my twenties I got resentful. She was always taking everything I wanted. Everything. In my head I had changed the dynamic from me giving to her taking. Why the change?
We met a guy. And once we had his attention, I stepped back to let her have him. He wasn’t having it. And flat out told me he had no interest in her but that our dynamic was such that it was obvious who he was supposed to ask out. Huh. Really? It wasn’t just that she’s beautiful and I’m not? (FYI, I didn’t actually ask him that. I just started thinking about it.)
Later in my twenties I ran into a guy we went to school with and as we were talking it got round to him dating her. And he told me he asked her out because I begged him to. It was clear to him, I was never going to date him, when I asked him to take her out as a favor to me. huh.
So now pushing 40 I realize that so much of my reality in from 8-28 was colored by these early experiences. And how much of these early experiences were colored by my self imposed glasses. She never openly competed with me like Darcy does with Rachel in Something Borrowed. In fact I remember her getting mad at me in Junior High because I always let her have her own way about everything and she wanted me to grow a back bone. At the time I saw it as one more way I was lacking, now I see she loved me and wanted the best for me as well.
I am neither an ugly duckling or a swan. I am who I am. Which, at almost 40, is a mildly attractive house wife and mom who published her first novel last year. Also, oddly enough, about a woman trying to figure out her own reality from what she has told herself is the truth.