Busted By A Five Year Old

Assure teenagers of anonymity and ask them to name their most wretched peccadillos.

Their lists will break your heart.  Besides profound depth and astonishing diversity, the lists will confirm teens’

Perfection - From the Creator's Hand

Perfection – From the Creator’s Hand

distorted views of their beauty.  Unfortunately, only added maturity facilitates reconsideration of this fact.

Imagine if young people could see their own beauty.  I’m not talking about photographs of artificial, airbrushed and manufactured beauty. I mean the kind you might find in the aisle of a store where a teen is immersed in naturalness.  The flowing, shiny hair, the unique profile, the healthy glow, the trim and fit frame and the quiet presence all fit together to demonstrate a picture of soul-jarring creation.  Catching a glimpse of this type of unaffected human radiance creates a wave of welcome for any artistic eye.

As I try to not stare, my desire to feed their confidence puts a fire under my common sense.  Is it appropriate to don my cool, older-aunt persona? Can I speak my truth and not come across like some scary person?  It’s risky.  Sometimes I have to settle for passing an inane comment – like teens give to me at times:  “Great shoes!”

It’s hard to accept such beauty hosts unwelcome peccadillos.  Sometimes all it takes is the appearance of another teen and quiet confidence is secretly pulled back into the clutches of perceived imperfection.

For me, all it took was a five year old.

The Non-Tango by Carola Heydemann  (Another statement of perfection?)

The Non-Tango by Carola Heydemann

My peccadillo was acne.  Having been plagued throughout my teens, nothing worked better in riding through a fresh outbreak than a couple of friendless days at home with good music.  I’d tell friends, “On some days, instead of applying makeup, I do surgery.”

They’d groan and claim they never noticed.  They insisted my personality would overshadow any perceived flaw.  I didn’t believe them.

At nineteen, on a hot summery Saturday morning, I entered my favourite record shop in downtown Calgary.  I wished I had a veil over my face.  Regardless of my friends’ claims, I hoped my cover-up attempts were working.  I’d find some great music and dash back home.

As I fingered through the various LPs in the Blues section, a lively child wiggled past me several times, skipping and humming as she twirled a “rope” of licorice.  Finally, she stopped beside me.

She patted my purse, “Hi.”

I looked down to an expression that belied her previous demeanour.  She seemed to be studying me as though the answer to an age old mystery was dawning.  I said, “Well hello.  What are you up to?”

“I was wondering…do you wear perfume?”

During those years, no woman left the house without a solid squirt of Chanel, Arpege or White Shoulders.  “Yes, I do.  Can you smell it?”

“I thought you did.  I want to wear perfume too, but my mom won’t let me.”

“Did she say you have to be just a little older?”

She began twirling her licorice again as she prepared to leave, “No.  She said it would give me pimples.  Guess she’s right.”

As I walked to the cashier, I realized I had just encountered my worst nightmare.  Who knew it would arrive in such a tiny package?  I laughed as I walked home rejoicing over a powerful lesson in survival.

A lasting gift.

 

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14 thoughts on “Busted By A Five Year Old

    • I was grateful her mother didn’t hear any of it. Her fussing would have created even more of a spotlight. It’s ironic that one of the compliments I receive at this stage in life is about the healthiness of my skin…even from my doctor. Must be the coconut oil.

    • Me too, Granny. That spot is my flag that I don’t feel well. Things turned a corner when a dermatologist told me to stay away from perfumed soap and expensive creams. Best advice ever! Good old Ivory for me, no make-up and a lotion created without all the other supposed age defying ingredients. I gave up alcohol decades ago which also made a HUGE difference. Amazing how many ways I’m steered toward the natural.

  1. No! Just no. That cannot be. That must be a sublime work of fiction dredged from your inner child. I know we all fought the uglies in those days. Heck I still can’t face a mirror but a blow like that would have flattened me more than some nasty crack from a boy, which I could at least have written off to ignorance. It took great fortitude to face the world after that experience.

    • Linda, you may find this completely daft – I started to say thanks for my pimples. I began seeing how much they influenced my courage, my personality, my determination. And kept me out of a lot of trouble. Not my brilliant strategy – I got the idea from a dutch author – Corrie ten Boom – I think I’ll write a post about it.

  2. OH, Amy, what a story!

    It reminds me of the time that my son was taken on rounds at the hospital by his father. At one point,, they left this 3 year old on a stool at the bedside of a 15 year old girl who had recently lost her leg in an accident. The nurse said that the girl was non-communicative, and would not even look at her body. Daniel, as a 3 year old can, opened their conversation by saying: “How come you have a foot on one side and no foot on the other side?” Well, the young girl had no choice but to explain to my son what had happened. The nurses said that this was a pivotal time for their patient,and after this, she was able to begin her healing.

    Love,

    Joan

    • What a great story that is, Joan! Sometimes, all it takes is to have someone shine a blast of spotlight on the obvious and acceptance is the only choice left. Hope Dan continues to hold such healing innocence – and as an adult he doesn’t stop himself from using it.

  3. I think there is a saying, “out of the mouths of babes” they do say things straight out. What a blessing that you have beautiful skin now though.

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