As a child I was afflicted with overt trips-a-lot-itis….To this day it is a relatively un-spoken disease which includes the inability to walk with out extreme care(for fear of falling on your face), daily ridicule, and an unfortunate lack of balance and dexterity. I spent many moments wallowing in shame as my feet found some unseen purchase to topple over, and my clothes were often riddled with stains and tears from constant clumsiness. I was always good at sports, enjoying the competition and momentary feeling of being in sync with my body on those rare occasions. Off the court, however, I was forced to watch my feet, and as a result often smashed my head into moderately low hanging objects. I’m only 5’6″…So luckily was able to avoid head butts with low doorways and inconvenient roofs. Add to this an undeveloped body, strangely positioned teeth, and frizzy hair that defied all gravity…and you had me.. an incredibly awkward duck.
I remember the day my father, feeling bad for me as I came home crying of some injustice wrought upon my bumbling clod hoppers, decided to tell me about Ugly Duckling Syndrome….
UDS-Is when a socially unacceptable (awkward, ugly, smelly…you get the point) person develops good character qualities in order to make up for the lack of social interaction they would be getting had they been gifted with a more attractive countenance. UDS is seen when those intelligent and/or funny Uggos become beautiful or attractive later on in life. Thus creating a more attractive package over all. The theory is based on the idea that pretty people do not have to be nice, funny, or intelligent because their looks get them by without it. I suppose it is unfair to say that all attractive people lack character, or appealing qualities other than their looks. However, as a child hearing that I too could become beautiful and suave one day, thus rounding out my awesome..awesomeness, was almost too much to hope for. I decided to ignore the slight my father imparted merely putting me into the category of UDS candidates and embrace my destiny of future greatness..
I suppose that I have grown into myself…all these many years later..But I definitely wouldn’t say that I have become any less clumsy or ridiculously accident prone. I’m not necessarily prettier, or better looking.. and even though I have been looking forward to the day when I would become that white swan….I know who I am, and I’m ok with it. I trip a lot. I don’t have the best fashion sense, and I often times am the butt of the joke, and not the joker… But I’m proud to say that I can laugh at myself, and I’m happy with who I am. I’m the clumsy girl who has friends who love her anyway, and I’m the sarcastic one whose outgoing and not afraid to speak her mind…And I think I’m pretty alright.
So maybe what my dad meant was that I would grow up to be me, and like it. Maybe he meant I was destined for inner beauty, and a kick ass way of looking at life…Who knows. Maybe there isn’t an age cut off, and I’ll be one of those really hot moms or grandmas… A girl can dream right?
Cheers to all of us who got stuck with the UDS card, and here’s to hoping we get to cash it in!