Fiendish Friday: Ugling Ducklings and Swans

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.

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5 thoughts on “Fiendish Friday: Ugling Ducklings and Swans

  1. Something similar happened to me. Not in having a gorgeous best friend in school but with the inner messages. I told myself that other people were good at things. I was clumsy in P.E., would miss a beat in music, and was an average academic. Other people were wonderful artists and got to paint and draw. Being a writer never even occurred to me. But when I was forty I finished my first (slightly pathetic) novel.
    At last I could say it. ‘I’m a writer.’ I may not be as good as the writing stars making money. But I feel it’s good. I’m satisfied with what I write. I’m amazed at my cleverness and get a giddy feeling when I read my finished products!
    In the end, perhaps the road we took was the best one. If you’re born in the fanciest mansion on the block you don’t think much of your first studio apartment. If talent comes easy you don’t appreciate it as much. You went on smiling in school. You captivated even though you didn’t know it at the time. You were a friend anyway to the gorgeous girl when others automatically resented her and made assumptions about her. I’ll bet she was grateful! And now you’re truly terrific.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I certainly FELT like the less attractive friend in a number of ways. I went from being the fat, glasses-and-braces kid at ten to being the “egghead” in high school. Doesn’t make the boys knock down your door…..

    I look back on those pictures and am stunned by how…normal I look. Like, what was all the fuss about, really?

    Liked by 1 person

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