I remember when I was 11 and let me give you this visual: stop reading this for a minute and look at two fingers locked together. That’s how thick my eyebrows were (with uni-brow thing in the middle too, yeah). I remember begging my mother every day until beyond 14 years old to pluck my eyebrows and it was always the same answer: NO. She tried to convince me that I was beautiful, that I was too young, that they were fashionable and showed me countless pictures of Brooke Shields. That worked for a while but honestly school was just a nightmare. They were like a repellent (especially with the boys). I mean who would think ‘the unibrow girl’ was cute? Ewwww. I don’t blame my mom. I mean she did her best to keep things simple (and me as far away from the boys as possible). I know now as a mom myself, she was also probably trying to hold onto that innocence in her little girl. My daughter is now 11 and her hugs are just become way too ‘tall’ for me. Sometimes when I hug I whisper to myself ‘I’m going to miss this age’. I’ve also asked my friends what they think and most of them were in agreement with my mom: 11 years old is too young to pluck.
The first time I finally did pluck my eyebrows I was 18 (yes, that’s right). I continued to live with the story: that it was going to take my natural beauty away if I plucked them- but when you go to the hair salon and the owner tells you ‘honey,its time to let that thought go’: you really can’t argue. Talk about PAIN but in the end: BAM! I felt like a super-model! I mean I even saw my skin as a tone lighter because my eyes were just so much more visible! My life had been transformed.
Yesterday as I came to bed I found a note from my daughter reading:
I haven’t told you this but I need to talk to you. Its about my eyebrows. I hate them. I tried to look on the bright side but there is none. I know its going to hurt so if you know a reason for me not to pluck them please write it on the back of the page and leave it in my room. At school when people are rude they know it hurts because its my face. I never look at anyone talking to me because all they look at is my eyebrows. Could I bleach them or something maybe? If you have any ideas could we talk?
I love you.
So today I went to talk to her. I told her it takes a lot of courage to love oneself. To feel a sense of belonging in your own skin, is the same feeling as being home. To feel confident with who you are, regardless of what others think or say is not easy, but its the only way people will stop the comments. We talked about her feelings and about what she wanted to do. I told her I would wax the hair between her eyes (that’s what was bothering her most ..whew) for HER, not for her friends. She agreed that this was for her because she just didn’t like it.
I feel like I’m on top of the world now, without a doubt. We laughed as I ripped the wax strip off and I admired her beautiful face as she looked straight in the mirror with a HUGE smile. ‘Wow, I didn’t think I was going to look like this mom- I feel like a super model!’ She took a few silly-girl poses in the mirror. I was so blessed that she could come to me with her fears, her struggles and her pain and I could just take that all away with a simple action tonight. So the story about plucking eyebrows at 11 years old is just ‘too young’ is really just that: it’s a story. I think the most important lesson I learned here is to keep that conversation going with my kids. Even if I have grown up with ideas inherited from my parents: I should have the courage to talk to them and hear their point of view and listen to what they really going through to get the full picture. I truly think that is the best way we can ensure our kids live their best life and ultimately our own in the process 🙂