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[personal profile] ckocher

“Hey, you know who you look like?”

Those words always make me very uncomfortable because I really don’t know what’s coming next. I’ve heard:

“You look like that girl who played Laura Ingalls on Little House!” I heard that when I was seven and it made me absolutely giddy.

“You look just like … who was it? Oh yeah! Kathy Bates!” That came when I was 17 and greeting the audience after a theatrical performance. I had no idea who Kathy Bates was at the time so I didn’t know how to react. Today, I think it’s a flattering comment, only because I really like her style.

“You know who you remind me of? A WHALE!!” Ah, teenage boys. I roll my eyes at this now, but my 14-year-old self was devastated.

But the one “wow, you look like!” comment that makes me cringe is to be told I look like my mother. And I do. We could easily have been sisters, and were mistaken as such many times when I was younger. When it comes to appearance, it’s like I have no father. And I hate it. I flat out hate it. Not because I think she’s ugly – at least, not on the outside – but because of who she is on the inside. I hate hearing that comment because somewhere, in the not-so-logical part of my brain, I equate ‘you look like your mother’ to ‘you are your mother.’

It’s something I’ve been running from my whole life, and it’s something I’m never going to get away from. That super-logical part of my brain scoffs at me. The compassionate side of my brain tells me to find that compassion and to learn to accept it. The abused-little-girl part of my brain is terrified and all I can do is try to soothe her, to remind her that no matter what our outsides look like, our insides are nothing alike.

And it works. At least until I hear someone else say “Oh my god! You look just like your mother!” Is it true? Yes. Is it flattering? If only they knew.

Date: 2011-02-05 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agirlnamedluna.livejournal.com
I know what you mean. I look a LOT like my father, almost nothing like my mother. And yeah, it's not flattering either, he looked good, certainly, but the implications behind it, yeah. I feel you on that.

Date: 2011-02-05 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheshire23.livejournal.com
I can understand this, though fortunately my mother and I get along OK. But I've been literally mistaken for my mother, which...not so flattering. :P

Date: 2011-02-05 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] basric.livejournal.com
A wonderful story. And there are those of us who understand completely. Sometimes sitting at my dressing table my hair pulled up on my head as I get ready to cream my makeup away I catch a glimpse of my mother in my face and have to slow my heart down and remind myself I am not that monster even if as I age I am beginning to see signs of one looking like herr in my face.

Date: 2011-02-06 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] myrna-bird.livejournal.com
I resemble my mother's side of the family. My sister tends more our dad's side. Now that I am a grammy myself, I look in the mirror and see My Grammy ( mother's side) and that is a great thing because I loved her a lot!

Date: 2011-02-06 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lawchicky.livejournal.com
I get mistaken for my mom all the time and vice versa.

Date: 2011-02-06 05:40 pm (UTC)
shadowwolf13: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowwolf13
I think that one of the things I've loved the most about moving so far away from all of my family is no longer hearing how much I look like my mother. I love my mother but she's made some supremely bad choices.

I completely understand wanting to just look like yourself.

Date: 2011-02-07 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snarkerdoodle.livejournal.com
I look a lot like my mom as well, but luckily I don't have to deal with that being a bad thing as you do. Nicely written.

Date: 2011-02-07 03:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] awriterswindow.livejournal.com
Mm...I totally understand this. The crazy thing for me is when people think I act like her, and even worse, when I see that in myself. It can be really painful. Great work.

Date: 2011-02-08 04:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] comedychick.livejournal.com
When I was 18 I found a picture of my mum when she was 21 and we looked the same but for our eye colour. Luckily for me, I didn't have any problems with my mum. I'm sorry for yours :(

Date: 2011-02-08 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] solstice-singer.livejournal.com
I really think it's what's on the inside that matters. I can only imagine how strange it is for you to be told you look like someone who hurt you in some way, but, as you said, your insides do not have to be the same as hers.

Date: 2011-02-09 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imafarmgirl.livejournal.com
Well written. People have no idea how words can effect us sometimes they think they are paying us a compliment when what they say is really torture.
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