You were born with a blessing.
I very well believe you might be the most stunning woman ever to walk the planet. And no, I am not biased. When I was growing up everywhere we went, heads would turn, comments were made and people in general always took notice of your presence. You tried to downplay all the attention. However, your low-cut tops, tight clothes and bright red lipstick didn’t exactly divert people’s eyes elsewhere.
I can’t tell you how many times as a kid people would ask me, “How’s your mom?”
And then follow it up with the statement, “She is so pretty.”
To no fault of your own, your appearance, in the eyes of others, was much of your identity. Anything you achieved seemed to be overshadowed by the way you looked.
It bothered me then and it bothers me even more now – not so much because of how others viewed you but because of how it shaped the way you saw yourself.
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When I was about six years old, you confessed to me that you were not that smart. You said you had enough brains to get by, but that’s about it. The worst part is, at the time, I didn’t question you. I believed you.
But eventually, I was able to see what others, including you, did not notice.
Mom, you raised two kids, who required a lot of chauffeuring and studying partners. You always worked a full-time job (and still do). To say the least, you have always been a busy lady. Yet, I can’t remember you ever once complaining or having a negative attitude. To this day, giving me and my brother all of your time, energy and resources bring you joy.
You cheer on our successes and support us when we struggle, as you single-handedly have gotten me through some of the toughest moments of my life.
Selflessness and generosity are qualities both you and dad have embodied as parents and people.
I remember while I was in middle school, we were talking about the cost of education and you told me not to worry. You said you would scrub floors with a toothbrush if that’s what it took to make sure I got the education that I wanted. And you meant it.
As for your career, you have a master’s degree in psychology and an undergraduate degree in biology. For many years, you worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative, discussing complex illnesses and drugs with some of the most brilliant doctors in the world.
But neither your resume nor your ability to balance being a parent impacted your lack of confidence in your intelligence.
Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem.
You and dad drilled into me that I was capable of whatever I wanted to achieve.
The constant reinforcement assured me that I was smart.
However, there came a time when people started to assume or try to convince me otherwise.
In high school, even though I was a good student, I didn’t always do a great job of paying attention in class. Instead, I often took work home and taught myself. One day, during my junior year of high school, I was the only student in my class to solve a math problem. I did it in a way that our teacher never explained to us.
The teacher said in front of the entire class, “Wow! You are a lot smarter than you look.”
I had no idea how to respond.
As my cheeks turned red from the awkwardness of the comment, I wondered, “Am I supposed to say ‘thank you?'”
I asked myself, as my classmates stared at me waiting for a response, “What the heck does smart even look like?”
I could only conclude that based on my feminine attire and bubbly personality, my teacher assumed that I could not possibly be as intelligent as my test scores suggested.
In my late teens, I began to continuously notice people presume women with a feminine appearance lacked intelligence. The word “bimbo” is the best way to describe the unjust association.
Consequently, I revisited and questioned the notion that you lacked intellect. I started talking to you about your job and all different subjects like stem cell research, politics and history. It didn’t take me long to realize that the only unintelligent aspect about you, mom, is that you listened to people who imposed unfair and illogical assumptions about your cognitive abilities.
Sometimes I wonder if you would have pursued different dreams or harbored more ambition had you realized at a young age that your value and your potential reached far beyond your ability to rock a skin-tight leather dress, which you still do quite well.
Now, in your late 60’s, you remain a loving and dedicated mother while your confidence continues to grow in other areas of your life. You have been my go-to person for The Unsealed. Some of the best ideas for my company have come from you. It was you who suggested I share my story at schools across the country, which turned out to be beneficial on many levels. Every day, I update you on the company’s progress. You give your two cents about how The Unsealed can grow and how it can be more effective in executing our mission of using truth to change the world.
Your contribution to The Unsealed has been meaningful beyond measure. And I think you are enjoying the process – not only because you are helping me but because you are also seeing the creativity and sensibility within yourself that for a long time you didn’t know existed.
Mom, physical beauty for sure has its advantages, opening doors in people’s careers, allowing people to get into some kick-ass parties and, in your case, giving you bragging rights about all the celebrities that hit on you. However, whether it be because of someone’s hair color, attractiveness, femininity, or gregarious personality, sometimes people are quick to pass judgment.
At one point in time, you allowed the ignorance of others to create your perception of yourself. But now, I hope you realize what your experiences helped me learn. You showed me that regardless of what anyone says or thinks, women’s brains are brighter than our hot pink lipstick and our goals can easily be loftier than our highest pair of heels. The clothes we wear, the sex appeal we possess and the friendliness we exhibit are part of how we appear. But the accomplishments we achieve, the people we help and the character we display are who we are.
Mom, promise me you will never again let what others see on the surface blind you from recognizing your real beauty, your greatest blessings, which lie inside both your mind and your heart.
I love you – all of you – so much,