Thursday, February 28, 2013

The impact of just a few words.

Growing up, I always had really bad eczema on my legs and hips.  No matter what my dermatologist prescribed, they itched like crazy every hour of every day.  I tried 3 topical creams.  I even took an oral medication in an attempt to soothe the itching.  I wore gloves on my hands at night to prevent scratching.  I wore pants to bed at night.  Unfortunately, nothing worked.  I scratched my legs so much that they were constantly bleeding and scarring.

I'll never ever forget the day that I became super conscious of my legs and their appearance.  I was in my 7th grade gym class (which is horrific enough as it is).  We had changed into our school assigned uniforms - blue gym shorts and a white t-shirt and were lined on the gym floor.  We sat down, put our legs straight out, and began the warm-up stretches.  My teacher, Mrs. K, walked slowly up and down our line, inspecting us, ensuring we were stretching correctly.  And then she stopped right in front of me.

"Good God, Super Jane!  Look at your legs!  Did someone BEAT you?"


I don't remember what I said to her in response, but I do remember feeling ashamed and even more self-conscious than I normally did at the age of 13.  She had brought attention to the fact that my legs were damaged and scarred and I have never gotten over it.

It took me a long time to even show Jas my legs.  If he just happened to stop by my dorm room when we were in college, I would quickly cover my legs with a blanket.  After a few months, I realized that he loved me no matter what my legs looked like.  I was still embarrassed to show him though.

Thankfully, I have all but outgrown my eczema.  I still itch, but the bleeding has all but subsided and the scars are hardly noticeable.  To this day, however, I still sport jeans and long pants year round, even in the Hades heat of the summer.  Very, very rarely will you find me wearing shorts or skirts; I simply don't feel comfortable and confident unless my legs are covered.

Even 22 years later, Mrs. K's words still impact my life.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling that I'll always carry her words with me for the rest of my days.


MSO Rin said...

It's so horrible to relive certain moments, especially when we're mature enough to realize that the person in authority was grossly inappropriate in word/deed! But we're usually so young and self-conscious that we have no idea we should report them.

You're gorgeous, super jane, and you're right: super jas loves you no matter what!

MSO Rin said...

And so do I! (Sorry, I hit "Publish" too soon.)