I'm Twelve and OK

Mom used to say that I spent too much time in front of the mirror, and I know that she was right. Every time I looked in the mirror I found something new to worry about. Like the time I was sure that my right ear stuck out farther than my left ear. Right then and there I decided to let my hair grow longer so that I could comb it over my ears. I didn't want anyone to see how lop-sided I was.

And I was lop-sided. I was sure that my nose wasn't really in the middle of my face. Not all the way over to one side, but definitely not in the middle. I felt terrible about that for about a week, and walked everywhere with my head turned to one side or the other so no one could see me head-on.

As much as I wanted to, I knew that Mom, Dad, and my teachers, would never let me get away with combing my hair down over my entire face. But it sure would have helped.

That's not the only time I wished that I could comb my hair over my face. One time, when my aunt looked at my baby sister and said how lucky she was to have such big eyes, spaced so far apart, I looked in the mirror and saw the awful truth. I was sure that my eyes were almost too tiny to notice and they seemed to be so close together that they were almost touching. Real scary!

Another time, I realized that my top-two front teeth were growing farther apart every day. When the dentist told me that he didn't want to do anything about the gap until I'd finished growing, I sobbed. I just knew that my tongue would be hanging out of that widening space long before then.

And it wasn't only my face that I worried about. The full- length mirror in the back bedroom didn't lie. My bum stuck out like I had a pillow in my pants, even when I tried real hard to tuck it under. My knees knocked into one another every time I tried to stand with my feet together, and my left arm hung down much farther than my right, even when I tried to stand as straight as an arrow. I looked like a gorilla.

I could go on and on, but I won't, because I hardly ever look in the mirror anymore, unless it's to see if I remembered to comb my hair.

My mirror watching stopped during the week that I spent with Aunt Maureen in Saskatoon. One evening, while we were standing in line for a movie, I decided to buy some popcorn. As I was returning from the refreshment stand, I noticed that a very beautiful young lady, wearing lovely clothes, was talking to Aunt Maureen. Before either of them noticed me, I heard the classsy lady say: "Who's the nice-looking girl I saw you with a few minutes ago?"

When we got home, Aunt Maureen told me that the lady she was talking to was her beautician, and that she had won many competitions as a hair stylist. She had also been Miss Saskatoon in last year's Miss. Canada contest. Aunt Maureen said that she didn't really approve of beauty pageants, but she felt that her beautician knew more about what made people look their best than anyone she'd ever met.

That lovely lady had actually called me NICE-LOOKING?

I heard her with my own ears!

Maybe I'd been too hard on myself. Could I have always been O.K. just the way I was?

Since that evening in Saskatoon I've tried to see the "nice" in everyone, even myself.

But, right now, I can't help noticing that my feet are...........

Just kidding!

Copyright  Bill Rollans 1994   All rights reserved.
illustrations by Karen Lore (age 14) and Peter Lore (age 7)

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