So my sixteen year old and I are out late, taking the dogs for a walk and she starts rattling on , as usual, and I find myself at the mercy of one of her little points of teenage angst.
My daughter is gorgeous. Tall, slender, blonde, clear complexion, perfect smile, legs that defy belief – truly “legs up to her armpits”. She could be a catwalk model if she chose to be, but she’s got such a sweet innocent nature so I’m glad she’s not thinking about entering into “that” world.
Here’s the problem though, she’s severely flawed.
In her eyes, disgustingly marred, disfigured with an obscene imperfection of such magnitude that she will only expose her legs under the cover of darkness, which is exactly what she did last night. (Who goes walking the neighborhood streets wearing Winnie the pooh pajama boxer shorts?)
This thing…this current enormous insecurity stems from a tiny weeny little spider vein, barely visible on her calf, just below the knee.
It’s so small that nobody in their right mind would even notice it and if they did…SO WHAT?
I mean, it’s not like people talk to her knees. Well….I almost have to because I’m so damn short.
So I’m walking along, other (much more important) things on my mind and she’s prattling on about laser surgery and how there IS no makeup light enough for her skin to “cover up” this grotesque physical imperfection of hers and “Oh my God, my life is over and I will forever be doomed to wear long pants because this is only going to get worse and spread and soon my legs will be COVERED in gross ugly purple veins and…..Mum, you’re not listening to me!”
“Get a tattoo.” I said.
“Go to a tattoo artist and say…see this little line here, pretend it’s the start of a doodle, use your imagination and turn it into something really clever.”
“You’re not being helpful.” She says.
The sorrowful lamenting keeps on going for another ten minutes… My ears are getting sore.
“You’re being shallow.” I finally say.
“Next thing it’ll be fake boobs, fake teeth, orange skin, botoxed lips and a face that can’t move.”
“Mum! You know I’m not LIKE that.” She says indignantly. (I know she’s not, but I’m trying to make a point about all this totally unnecessary scrutinizing women do when it comes to dissecting themselves in the name of “beauty”.)
“We all have imperfections. The older you get the more imperfections you’ll find. How are you going to cope with aging if you are so distraught over one TINY little vein?”
“You don’t understand!”
Here we go. I never “understand”. Incapable of understanding am I.
“Stick a bandaid on it.”
“Wear one of those knee support things.”
Makes impatient noises.
I’m losing the will to live now. It’s a darn vein the size of a 5 cent piece, if that! Looks like a tiny bruise. This is the daughter that never exaggerates remember?
She’s acting like there’s a major varicose vein trailing on the floor out of her leg.
She goes on and on raving about how it’s hereditary, how she’s googled it (apparently it’s all OUR – her parents fault) and that it will only get worse because obviously she’s inherited this terrible vein gene and before too long they will spread all over her body and she might even end up with hemorrhoids because that’s genetically linked to spider veins too.
“Well…there’s only one solution to your problem.” I finally say.
She falls silent.
“Well, don’t you want to know what that is?”
A short while after we got home my daughter comes out of her room wearing a thick bandage around her leg and she stinks of vinegar.
“I googled and it said that apple cider vinegar helps get rid of spider veins.” She says.
Some time later she unwraps it and is pleased because you can barely see the vein for all the lines now embedded in her skin from the tight roughly wrapped bandage. The area looks a bit like when you’ve been in the bath too long and your skin begins to pucker like a raisin.
I congratulate her for successfully pickling herself.
Oh to be young and full of angst again….
Darling, you are beautiful, and so is your vein.