Of course, I did not always believe myself worthy of a perfect lover. I was not always this way. Of course! -- adolescence is a rite of passage in and of itself. Although it is something most people live to experience, only the toughest emerge undamaged. And only the strangest -- craziest -- emerge entirely untainted. There was a time when I was my own worst enemy. There was a time when I fought myself with a desperate urgency, and would do anything -- if you've got a penis, I'm your chick! There was a time when I couldn't have imagined being "confident." ("Confidence" was something that lurked eternally overheard, never quite within reach.)
But I'm here today, right?
I fought my way to the end and slammed the door behind me, but it wasn't easy. On the contrary. Thinking back on my teen years, some of the supposed "best" were the hardest for me. When I was twelve, my mother at last landed a dependable job. There was a beautiful new house and a kitten with a crusty black nose, which I loved fiercely. More importantly still, I was healthy -- yet I realize that it was that time in which I was the most miserable.
I looked into the mirror and saw a type of monster I hadn't previously known existed. The gritty little pimples all along my forehead, jaw, and upper lip gave my skin the apparent texture of sandpaper, and I was the only girl in school who had never shaved. Yet I didn't realize that! Lost in a world of dolls made of socks and macaroni and cheese, I didn't realize what a Teenage Girl was supposed to be.
When I did, my inner world became Hell. Those were the worst years... the years during which my head was so full of briers and blackness that I couldn't sleep for fear. Determinedly I scrubbed myself with acne wash, rooted through bin after yardsale bin for dusty clothes that could be altered to be acceptable. I caked dark makeup on my eyes every day and bathed multiple times. I examined myself in the mirror for indeterminate periods of time, staring with angrily misty eyes -- as if somehow that would fix the imperfections I saw before me. Yet nothing I did could repair me. I was ugly, I thought, though my mother and her powdered girl-friends assured me with cloyingly sweet smiles that I was "Such a pretty girl!"... "So cute in your new dress!"
Liars. Though truthfully, I didn't know what was wrong with me, exactly. I could not put my finger on it. Until, aged thirteen-and-a-half, I came to the sudden realization -- I was fat.