Sunday, May 13, 2012

A neighbor's dream

My dreams of being a model began as a teenager when one of my neighbors became my mentor.  She had moved into our neighborhood as a newly wed and she didn't have much to do with her time. She was very tall and beautiful and I wondered why she wasn't pursuing that dream for herself. She told me she was now married and I thought to myself that marriage must be a dream killer. Maybe one should achieve their dreams before they tie the knot, cause that would be the end of them. She thought I was something but this came as a total surprise to me. She brought me all kinds of magazines and tried to convince me that I could make it. A model? I asked in amazement. She did all the visualizing for me and all I did was listen. She complemented me at every opportunity but this only left me confused. She was not the only one who encouraged me to do this, one of my teachers and random people would compliment me on my beauty. I really enjoyed my sessions with her, where we would flip through magazines she had ordered. Her dedication to see me achieve this dream amazed me. The dream for me though died immediately after our sessions. I would go home and sink into my reality.

When I was six years old, My little sister was born. It was a really exciting day for me when she arrived from the hospital. Everyone was gathered in the living room and there was a lot of food and music. My mother at some point sent me outside to get something and my mean grandmother found her opportunity to speak words that would destroy my self esteem for a very long time. She followed me outside, looked me in the eye and told me I was the ugliest thing she had ever set eyes on. There was so much evil in her eyes when she said that. I looked at her and could not believe what she had said. I never knew I was ugly and even if I was, I didn't expect a family member to put it on my face. I went back to the house and because I feared my grandma, I could not tell my mother what she had told me and I figured if she had wanted my mother to know, she couldn't have followed me outside. No one was going to erase the shame and the pain I felt. She left me scared and confused at only six.

While people were complimenting me in my teenage hood, I was busy trying to figure out who I was and why I was ugly. I had my first boyfriend whom I thought was being polite by saying I was beautiful, or it was something boyfriends should say. I had a very had time believing anyone. I would look in the mirror and see beauty, I could see I was fearfully and wonderfully made but my mind was playing the broken record of ugly. 

One day, my broken record was playing so loud in my head that I thought if I could have a stop button, I would put a permanent stop to it.  I decided to play that game and It worked for a while. Then I made another decision, that I would count all the positive compliments and if they exceeded the negatives then I would put a new record in my head. The positive compliments were flowing from everywhere, from friends, strangers and family members. Then I thought to myself... someone has to be right. My grandma or a thousand positive compliments. I decided to go with the thousand. 

After overcoming my many years of a low self esteem, I decided to visit my grandmother as a sign of forgiveness for being mean to me. It was so liberating. I bought her lots of presents and before she passed on, I was all she was talking about. That was pouring hot coal on her head, It was awesome to see the power of forgiveness.

I also embraced my neighbors dream and tried some modeling. At 5.5 inch, I was too short but I tried anyway. It was an awesome experience. Today I'm passionate about fashion and beauty mostly what not to wear,:)  because a neighbor awakened a dream that was deep down but was destroyed by eyes that find fault. Let us be good neighbors and may all the mean grandmothers become good neighbors.

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