My mother used to tell me I was beautiful. She’d go on and on about how classic my features are and that one day, my beauty would be appreciated by everyone. Only a few minutes after such complements she’d proceed to tell me that if only I were a little skinnier or got my nose fixed, I could be just about perfect. My mother is a wonderful, loving person, but because I never knew what the comment of the day, hour, or minute would be, I learned from a really young age to not think too much about the nice things, or the mean things she would say. Because most of the time, she was just making conversation. Most often, her words had very little to do with me.
Because of this relationship, it takes quite a bit to offend me. I’ve heard it all. Well, not all of it, but enough to let things that don’t matter, go. I’ve tried to adopt this idea to, “Live my life independent of the smiles, and careless of the frowns of men.” A tough thing, when we see so much of what we lack around us everyday. There are billboards dotting highways for the Lapband, tabloid articles about how to keep your man, and storefront windows boasting the newest must have’s in fashion. There are so many things I am apparently missing in my life, and clearly, if I am to be a full human being, ought to acquire.
If I were to believe all of these things; the signs, the tell-alls and must have’s and dare I add the vocal competition results, it would be very easy to forget that I am something completely separate from what is around me. It is the difference between self image, and self worth. How easily we confuse the two. What I see vs. what I am. Accomplishment only has as much merit as I give it. If it defines me, I will be tossed with every bad review, or callous remark, every complement or monetary reward.
I am a woman. I am a performer. I am a person on this journey of life with each of you.
– Rachel Payne