She shied away every time someone complimented her appearance. She did not know they were being sincere. Mocking is where she always assumed the comments were originating. She swore she heard muted laughter when she turned away. "You have the jawline and cheekbones of an exotic model!" is what was said. However, what she heard was that she was different, strange and odd. She did not want that captured in a photograph for everyone to critique. She was critiqued enough at home and school by the adults in her life; and from her peers.
Some of her friends would fade away from her life after such conversations took place. She assumed it was because she was ugly and they had concluded that they did not want to be around her. She dressed provocatively as a way to lash back but then she was singled out due to her tiny waist and overly slender frame. She wanted to not care, but the words stabbed at her nonetheless. She was certain the girls in the locker room would stare as she changed for gym class. She would turn away in a corner doing her best to hide in a square room filled with other girls.
She did not have the shapely legs, curved bodies and full breasts that the other girls had. She was jealous of them and then felt guilty for committing the sin of jealousy. When she glimpsed their bodies, she wanted to caress them and then felt guilty for committing the sin of sexual desire for another girl. She was ashamed of her desires, ashamed of her body and ashamed of her lack of coordination, which exacerbated the appearance of her thin legs and arms.
She was ashamed of the signs of abuse on her wrists, arms, thighs, buttocks and back. When they were accidentally exposed to someone, her shame would heighten and she would become reclusive, wear long sleeves in the warmer months, refuse invitations to the pool or lake in the summer and forge her mom's signature on notes so she would not have to change for gym class until the bruises and contusions faded.
She dated boys often but was certain it was because the boys asked her out on dares and lost bets. Why else would they want to be seen with the funny looking "exotic" skinny girl? She had been told all her life at home that she was worthless, unattractive, stupid, filthy and a sinner and if she did not ask for forgiveness, she was going to burn in the fiery depths of Hell for all of eternity. She knew no other way to perceive herself. She allowed the boys to touch her even though she did not want to and more guilt would envelope her. She asked for forgiveness three times a day silently before the consumption of every meal. Three times a week she knelt on the pew at church and tears flowed freely as she begged for freedom from her sins.
For years, she would wake up in the middle of the night to study and then she failed most tests anyway. Her grades were plummeting and there was no one that cared. In the middle of her senior year, she left school to move in with her boyfriend when she was beaten at home for becoming pregnant.
Her life went from one version of barely worth living to another and her first brush with suicide occurred just over a year later. She’d gone into a deep depression. She was no good at being a parent to a child. She loved the child, but thought he would be better off being raised in a world where she did not have an influence on his upbringing. She felt like a failure every day. She was not just ugly, she was wrong in every way possible.