Paulina Porizkova, if my genes had cooperated.
I actually drew this picture in my high school sketchbook.
Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated. At least, mine was. I needed a role model to figure out:
what to wear
how to tame my curly hair
how to impress guys
and all those other mysteries that came with becoming a woman.
Problem was, my mother couldn’t help me. So I looked to my friends for help.
My family moved when I was nine-years-old. A girl my age with long, blonde hair (the kind I’d coveted since kindergarten) lived across street. Her mother made her befriend me. (It’s true.) But our proximity eventually elevated the relationship to Best Friends.
When we were thirteen, she became a cheerleader. She wasn’t the prettiest or most popular girl in our grade. But she was more than me. And while I poured through beauty magazines, practiced makeup for hours, agonized over clothing, and battled my hair…
She seemed above all that.
First of all, she had straight hair. Did I mention it was blonde? Because of Indiana Jones, fedoras became popular. She could pull off wearing one.
My curly boring brown hair and tiny head couldn’t carry a fedora.
Makeup came in two colors – blue eyeliner and pink lipstick. When my BF did wear makeup, blue eyeliner and blue liner looked perfect with her blonde tresses (at least we all thought so at the time. HORROR!) and pink lipstick gave her a perfect pout. Did I mention she had porcelain skin?
My mud-brown eyes, thin lips, and lackluster skin couldn’t pull off the blues and pinks.
And when we went Goth, she was Gothier:
While she channeled Siouxie from Siouxie and the Banshees…
Somehow, even with her lack of interest in her appearance, she always looked put together. And boys were interested in her.
More than they were interested in me, anyway.
My BF didn’t like to leave the house. Today, we’d call it agoraphobia, but back then it had no label. As a kid, I used to borrow a book from the library Angela the Dull Princess. Unkindly, my father called my friend that name behind her back.
When we got older, she’d go to school, say she felt sick, throw up, and return home. It took years before she was properly labeled.
Much in her life unraveled. And so did she. The ways I tried to help didn’t help much. And my own life was filled with misery. At some point my friend medicated, which changed her personality. I’d already been making the sole effort to maintain the friendship since she hardly went anywhere.
When we were about 19, I gave up.
Years later, I felt sorry I hadn’t explained why I stopped coming by. I reached out a few times, but she wasn’t interested in anything beyond an apology. Whatever we had in common was long gone.
I never really wanted to be like her, I wanted to have her Could-Care-Less attitude. Now I realize she cared too. She hid, which is different from not caring.
I suspect most of us have known people who seemed to have it together. Beneath that exterior lurked demons we may not have known, at least, not at first. It reminds me of the show "My So Called Life" because Angela is drawn to Rayanne, who appears carefree, but is a BIG mess.
In Kirsten Hubbard’s debut book Like Mandarin , Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. The premise of this book resonates with me. Check out Kirsten Hubbard’s BLOG for more details about the book.
Who would you have given
anything to be like?