The Ugly Duckling Mentality

“She’s just a bit of an ugly duckling. Don’t ‘cha think?”
Perhaps soon she’ll grow out of it, you know, slim out a bit?”
“She’s just a bit of a dumpling.”

Sometimes, I feel like the proverbial ugly duckling that has never found her swan feathers. In this world where we are bombarded with no curved string beans, I’m an overstuffed muffin who is addicted to tacos, Dr. Pepper, and Skittles.
It would be too easy to get stuck on what I should look like for this culture, instead of smiling when I look into a mirror. As it is, I already do the bob-and-weave when I see a camera. I’m not a fan of make-up because it makes my skin panic even more than the usual stress does and I’d rather wear a pair of jeans and boots over a little black dress and heels any day. No matter how many times someone tells me I look ‘better’ with the make-up, I can’t stand wearing it. ( <— yeah, that’s a GREAT self-esteem encouragement >.<)
Hans Christian Andersen wrote a well known short story titled The Ugly Duckling in 1843 (you can read it free here), that really speaks on this mentality.
We too often think we need to look a certain way so that we can fit in with society. Society has for centuries, dictated what we should look like. Not only in clothing, but how we should wear our hair, whether we should be tan or pale, how tall we should be, how much we should weigh, and numerous other things. No matter what culture you come from, your society has some influence on what you should try to look like.
American society tells me that I should have perfect longish blond hair, luminous eyes, a cupid’s bow lip, a comfortable bust, tight and toned size 2 body with just enough ‘junk’ in the trunk to catch the men’s eye. Yeah…right.
American society doesn’t agree with what God’s given me and I’m ok with that.
Sure, at 28, having never had a relationship much less have some guy interested in me, I get the random moments of “what is wrong with me?!” Never have I been called beautiful or pretty, and sometimes ‘looking good’ seems to be a stretch. Even my duckling feathers seem to be a little on the dull side.
But, we tend to forget the moral behind the story of the ‘duckling.’ It’s not that the ‘duckling’ was ugly, it was that it was misplaced and among creatures that were expecting something familiar. Instead there is this strange animal that didn’t fit into their ideal.
It was about a square peg fitting into a round hole. Imagine though, if the world was full of tall blondes (remember, there was a man who tried to do this and started a World War over it) how very dull and colorless this world would be! God created so many colors for a reason. Cultures need to wear their badges proudly, because God deemed you beautiful! Society needs to take a step back and allow God’s creation to shine. Each person out there is created by God. To say that God’s fingerprints are ugly?! I would never dare! I would never want to change the essence of who I am, because my blueprints were made by the Creator of everything. God’s thoughts on me should mean more than any society matron approval ever should.
I will never see the swan in me if I look in the mirror through society’s eyes. It is hard, I’m not saying it isn’t.
The swan is the image that God sees when he looks down on us, it’s not our outer image of the duck (which will change when we are brought into heaven anyways), but our soul’s inner swan. The duck is not wrong, it is not ugly. But, it perhaps hasn’t realized the full potential of what it can be because it is stuck it’s little duck’s pond, refusing to acknowledge the purpose behind the other bird’s existence.
I think society’s duck pond would be so much more beautiful if it looked out and saw all those wonderful different birds in their full color. Some of us are are a little overstuffed, others are a little too thin, but all stunning in our own right.
Hopefully, the next time I look in the mirror I can look past the ugly duckling plumage and see the hidden swan that God loves.

The ugly duckling finds out that he is actually a beautiful swan who is admired by not only the other swans, but by the onlookers as well.

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One thought on “The Ugly Duckling Mentality

  1. I really appreciated this one, Ranelle. Thank you for sharing. Your ARE one of the most beautiful women that I know, not because of your appearance but because of your passionate love for Jesus. I love you so much! And this was a good reminder for me as well.

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