Updated: Sep 11
This is Amanda's entry into my Emotional Scars Give Away that won her 1st place and a full makeover session in The Owlet Room
I grew up in a very modest but loving family in a small town. My parents were always supportive of me, and I cannot thank them enough for it. Of course, my parents always told me how pretty I was; but, because of my school experience I never really felt that way. I was never the typical “Southern Belle”. I have always been more of a “Tom boy” or “Rough Neck”. I have always preferred jeans or overalls and t-shirts to dresses and pretty shoes. I was always barefooted if possible and never minded being dirty from being outside. It took 40 years for my best friend to talk me into a pedicure for Pete’s sake. To say the least, I was not a typical girl growing up and because of that I feel like my life is what it is today. Unlike most, I found Middle and High School a mostly unpleasant experience.
I was not the thinnest, the prettiest, the funniest, or the most confident of people growing up and always felt like I didn’t fully fit in with any one social group. The closest was being in band but even then there were cliques. I was socially awkward, had glasses and braces(on the same day mind you), and just wasn’t too sure of myself or my place. I was the band geek helpless romantic introvert that read a lot of books, loved crafts, gaming, did karate, and rode horses.
I was never invited to parties by friends or bonfires or “group dates"; or, if I was, it was only as a joke so I could be laughed at. I guess that’s why I’m such a home body now. I never dated until I was in college (I’ll get to that in a minute) because I was “undesirable” by my peers because of my looks and personality. I had stuff stolen from me, gum put in my seat on more than one occasion, and was physically, mentally, and emotionally bullied by classmates.
I would spend hours riding my bike around our neighborhood just because I simply enjoyed the quiet and the time it gave me to just “be” and think and decompress from dealing with childish behavior by my peers.
In a small-town private school with a small class - everyone knew everyone, and everyone knew everyone’s business AND everyone talked about everyone else’s business, spread rumors, etc. which I never could grasp the concept of and hated when others would partake in that mentality despite how hurtful it might be.
To me, this drama/gossip/backstabbing was just as much bullying as if they pushed/punched/or kicked that person.
I saw this behavior so much and saw how hurtful it was to that “friend” and experienced it even more first-hand which is why I learned it was best to keep to myself and my books. It is a definite part of what molded me into me. In the past I have tried to be trusting and give all I have mentally/physically/emotionally (and sometimes more to the point of losing myself) to those I deemed worthy of my loyalty and attention. Sometimes it worked. Most times it bit me in the rear so hard that years later parts of me are still recovering from it and I have MAJOR trust issues (not just of others but also of myself) because of it. To this day I try to present myself as just me. I am what I am. You get what you get. Don’t like it? No one said you had to.
As a young adult just in college I entered into an abusive relationship to which I still carry the emotional and psychological scars. I had my son at 20 (turning 21 the next month) and my ex walked out shortly thereafter(fortunately my son wasn’t old enough to remember any of this initial relationship but the narcissistic tendencies and control lasted many more years with my son taking the brunt of it all). I was (he’s 18 now and grown and fairly independent so I’m getting used to saying was LOL) a single mother who had consistently worked two and sometimes three jobs to support myself and my son with the help and support of my wonderful family. I have always sacrificed when my son needed something always putting him before myself; Many times saving gift cards I received for my birthday and Christmas to later purchase things for his birthday and Christmas and other special occasions; and I have tried very hard to give him as many memorable experiences as possible in his childhood. Of course I always wonder if what I did was enough…I put my entire life on hold in order to do my best as a mom - and a young one at that! Therefore not experiencing what normal 21 and 22 year olds do in their college/young adult years instead making sure I was home every night for dinner and bath and stories and tuck ins…to give hugs and laugh and kiss boo boos and cuddle when he felt bad... all those mommy things that you do when they are little…. And now that he has reached 18 and I have reached 40 I want to branch out to do things I didn’t have the opportunity to do before and find out who I am as a person outside of being mom since that has defined my being for such a long time.
In addition to this I’ve drug my child through a second narcissistic and abusive(physically, mentally, emotionally) marriage where I tried to “fix” what couldn’t be fixed, had to deal with broken promises, disappointment, and alcoholism, developing major trust issues, and tons of baggage, to the point where I am actually afraid when a potential significant other shows me attention and I become withdrawn and will ghost them even if I really like them. I am afraid of getting attached; I am afraid of getting hurt; I am afraid of trusting- Not only them but also myself. I’m afraid of not being STRONG enough to recognize the red flags, the warnings, or to be able to walk away. Can I trust myself to make a good judgment call on another person again??? I just dont know… without the help of my family and a few close friends I don’t know where I would be today. Because I’ve been hurt before I do not want to go back and do it again. Ive dealt with anxiety, depression, and in my deepest darkest moments - self harm.
I’ve had people I thought were my friends who talked about me behind my back, spread rumors about me, and in general just have been nasty before so I feel a lot of times very much like a hobbit in their hobbit hole. I have my little fortress I let few people in, Following the same routine and passing each day the same. It’s been hard to lay down everything and be so open.
Because of these experiences and the way, I was raised I have learned that one person should NEVER judge another by the way they look, who or what they like or don’t like, what they eat or don’t eat, their profession, how they talk, what religion they follow (if any) …. I’m a pretty accepting person overall. We all are born the same way, have the same guts, and bleed red. If a person has a bad day and doesn’t speak or only a little, support them - maybe they are having anxiety or a panic attack or just need someone to say “hey, you, ok?” TO THEM Instead of having someone talk about them after they have gone. It just may make a difference. I’ve been there and done that. A kind word can make a huge difference in that dark moment.
I have, because of past experiences, developed a stance that my loyalty, trust, and companionship cannot and will not be given freely to anyone and everyone that seeks it. If a person is privileged enough to earn these things, I will do ANYTHING for them (mostly within legal limits… LOL); BUT, if I have gifted these things to a person I deem “worthy” and then feel betrayed in some way, all that gets withdrawn, and they are moved outside the inner sanctum of my mental and emotional fortress and kept at arm's length.
From these experiences, I have a very strong sense of right and wrong and can read a room or situation pretty well. If I don’t feel welcome or wanted, bet that I’m not going to stay because I’m not going to open myself up to experiences I don’t want or need to have. I have learned when it’s ok to be open and talkative and be 100% me and when to keep my mouth shut, keep my head down, get the job done, and move on. I’ve learned to keep (at least mostly) in check and work through my anxiety and panic when needed no matter how crippling it can be at times. I’ve learned to listen to my “gut instinct” and my dreams. They usually aren’t wrong.
I’ve always said that my favorite horse was an Arab because while they have an uncanny empathic sense, a calm stillness at times and are smart to boot, underneath there is always a sandstorm brewing and waiting to come out to show their power and when it does it’s beautiful. My heart horse was an Arab. I loved him so much I had him tattooed on my back for my 40th birthday to remind me how strong I can be in my weakest moments. This is why I think Storm and I had such a good understanding of each other and why I miss him so very much. I can fully relate… l may look as calm as a cucumber on the outside but inside it’s a hurricane all the time. As long as I’m vocal (happy/pissed/sad/whatever) I’m good. Its when I get quiet and still you need to worry because that hurricane inside is a little too close to the surface and I’m trying not to let it get out of hand.
I love Dolly Parton and RuPaul. Weird combination, right? What do they have in common (besides sparkling things and big hair…..)?? They both know what it is like to come from adverse situations and rise to the top with confidence, beauty, and grace. They both have inner strength and determination. I want THAT. I want the confidence they have to say “I am me. Like it or leave.” They both know how to lift others up and be an inspiration and are both always giving a message of love and acceptance. As RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself; how the hell you gonna love somebody else. Can I get an Amen?!?” Lol.
So, there you have it. I want to feel beautiful because for so long I have not. I want to feel strong because I have had times where I have not. I want to feel important because despite how many lives I have touched, I still feel insignificant and disposable. I ALWAYS try to lead by example given my experiences. I want others to know they are strong. What they do matters - whether it’s to 1 person or 1000. You are never alone.
Here is her email AFTER her session with me in The Owlet Room!
My experience: I can truly say today was the BEST experience I’ve had in a long time overall and most definitely the best in realizing what I believed about not being beautiful or worthy was absolutely not true. When I first got to the Owlet Room, I felt welcome, comfortable, and as if I was just hanging out with friends. Chatting, laughing and just having a good time. Just after getting my makeup and hair done, I was handed a mirror and the first thing I thought was “WOW…”. The second was “That can’t be me….” The third was “I’m beautiful!!! “. Things just got better from there. Every outfit, every shot, every moment was flattering and comfortable and happy and magical. I can truly say it took a lot for me to go and open myself up and trust enough to put myself in Diandra’s hands and make me feel the way that I did. I can’t believe, after seeing the pictures, that this is me. I didn’t want it to end because it was bringing something into my life I had missed for so long…self-affirmation. I AM beautiful. I AM more than my past. I AM worthy. I am MORE THAN ENOUGH for anyone. I am more than enough for ME. I don’t need someone to TELL me I am beautiful. I KNOW I am. I can look at the beauty that was created today any time and know that same beauty lives within me every single day. I may not wear the makeup or hair every day but that doesn’t mean that the Beauty is gone - it is there. I know that beauty is there. It has always been there inside me - I just didn’t believe it or that I was worthy of it; but now it has been hatched and fed and released and I can honestly not thank Diandra enough for showing me how strong and beautiful I actually am and how much worth I have.
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