To fully understand my personality and slightly self-deprecating sense of humor, I should explain my early beginnings. It is something I refer to regularly and is also the inspiration for the title of my autobiography/memoir or in this case, the title of the series of personal essays: The Fugly Stage. Whenever someone hears me refer to my childhood self as fugly, they often give me words of sympathy or pity but it should be noted that I am thankful for my fugly stage. Without my fugly stage, I would not have the personality I have today. I didn’t have a lot going for me as a child so I had to build up that charism early.
It all started when I was five years old. After one of those hearing and sight tests at school, my parents found out that I had a “lazy eye”. I’m sure that isn’t the technical term but that was my family has always referred to it. Essentially for anyone who hasn’t heard of a lazy eye, it means that my right eye was 20/20 while my left eye wasn’t as strong and had a tendency to wander. The way that doctors correct this problem is by having a child wear an eye patch over their glasses. So that’s what I did for the whole year of 1st grade. They tried to make them cute by putting rainbows and unicorns and hearts on them. I think it is a fairy on the one below. One time a kid asked what was under my eye patch and I told him it was just a bloody eye socket… I was a weird kid.
After a year of suffering through the embarrassment of wearing an eye patch you would think it got better. Wrong. It got worse, much worse. For whatever reason I hated hair brushes, in fact to this day, I still do not own one. As a child I would wear my hair, knots and all, in a low ponytail with it parted down the middle tied back with those big scrunchies. My wardrobe was completely made up of clothes from the store formerly known as Limited Too (now called Justice). My favorite outfits were the matching sweat suits and to top of the complete outfit, I had a pair of pink and white etnies tennis shoes. I had braces, just like most kids, but it really just pulled the whole aesthetic together. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:
Now that I have painted you the physical picture, there were other things working against me. I now know that I am allergic to most nature, most prominently, anything with fur. My parents didn’t know this growing up and as a result did’t know I was highly allergic to my dogs so I had a constant runny nose, blotchy skin and itchy eyes. Because of this, I was a mouth breather. If you need reference, you know that character from Hey Arnold who was always creeping around and you knew it was him because he was a heavy mouth breather? Me. One time a kid said “Tara, stop breathing so loud” in 3rd grade and that was the first time I became aware of my mouth breathing tendencies.
This kid from Hey Arnold
Last but certainly not least, I had a speech impediment. Essentially is was a lisp because I couldn’t say my S’s and T’s without sticking out my tongue. For a long time, every time I said my name, people thought I was saying Sarah.
This all may sound bad but to be honest, I was very unaware of it until I was removed from it. So since the fugly stage I have gotten contacts, cut and dyed my hair, completely changed my wardrobe, got my braces off, went to speech therapy, and started taking Claritin for my allergies. I still don’t brush my hair, occasionally wear glasses, and dress like I am homeless from time to time but not nearly as bad as when I was in the Fugly Stage.