‘Freckle face from out of space!’
I can still hear that little brat in my year two class taunting me. He was absolutely relentless with his teasing day in and day out.
Thanks to him, I spent much of my childhood detesting my face full of freckles. I would spend hours praying to Mary – she was a woman, so I figured she’d understand – for my freckles to disappear.
Unfortunately, there was no divine intervention freeing me of my freckles, so I decided to take the situation into my own hands. After watching an episode of The Brady Bunch, where Jan rubbed lemon juice all over her face in an attempt to scrub her freckles off, I did the same to no avail. My freckles seemed darker, if anything, and I smelt like an orchard.
I was stuck with my freckly face and there was nothing I could do about it.
Now, this is going to sound extremely superficial, but I prayed that when I had kids they wouldn’t be cursed with freckles like me.
In the last year, a smattering of freckles has appeared across darling Miss Five’s nose and her cheeks. They are the cutest darn things in the whole entire world. They seem so perfectly placed, it’s as if they’ve been drawn on.
Sadly though, she came home from day care crying recently. A couple of the kids had called her Anna from Frozen because of the freckles on her face.
‘I don’t want to be Anna!’ she cried.
‘I want to be Elsa!’
My heart broke a little for her. Elsa and Anna weren’t around in my day, but I remember being desperate to have blonde hair, blue eyes and freckle-free skin rather than my boring brown hair, brown eyes and freckle face. I could feel her pain.
I talked her through her feelings and she didn’t mention it again until last week, when I spied her looking at herself in the mirror.
‘I hate my freckles,’ the words spat out of her mouth as she looked at her reflection.
My heart may as well have broken into two then and there.
I made light of it straight away.
‘Hate your freckles?’ I said.
‘Mummy has freckles, look at them.
‘They are kisses from the sun. Your freckles make you special and different. They make you, you.’
Thankfully, she quite liked the idea of having kisses from the sun and something that makes her special.
I asked her again recently what she thought of her freckles and she is now not phased by them at all thank goodness.
I hope it stays that way.
I know as a mother of two girls, this is just the start of conversations that we’ll have about appearance and body image.
There is bound to be some tough times and real conversations to be had ahead, but all Dave and I can do is instill in our girls confidence in themselves and their bodies, encourage them to feel secure in themselves, listen to their problems and fears no matter how small they seem, and encourage them to talk about their feelings.
Have you or your kids ever been bullied? Have you or your kids battled with body image and appearance in the past?
Linking up today with Jess for IBOT.