“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.