The chaplain at my work witnessed it. I came to my office and stood in the doorway of the conference room where most of my co-workers gathered.
“May I have your attention please? I have an announcement to make,” I announced in my best announcement voice.
The room hushed as they all turned their conversations off and their ears on. They took their stare off the glare of their computer screens in order to properly delve in to the proclamation I was about to proclaim.
Like with any proclamation that is introduced with a flame of drama they stood doing that thing we humans do. We expect bad news, worthy of gossip and opinion and judgment. I’ve learned that to self-efface myself is the most humorous of humors and so I burst out with what I needed them to know.
Now just a few years back I wouldn’t have thought of proclaiming what I did. Instead I hid. Hiding from it which quickly turned in to hiding from them made me feel like nobody would know how ugly I really was.
Being ugly can cost a girl a whole lot of money in case you didn’t know. But being ugly can get you judged too. An ugly girl like me was worthy of just one thing or so my head told me. That’s the thing about ugly girls. We wallow in the wonders of ugliness wondering why the rest of the world is so ugly too. I was ugly through and through. That’s why hiding came in so handy.
I didn’t want to be ugly but the circumstances surrounding my reality were even uglier than me. That’s the other thing about ugly people.
Usually there is an underlying circumstance to it all. Not one person asked me why I was ugly. Maybe that’s not a proper question to ask but it should be. Ugly makes bigger lines show up between your brows and makes your lips drip low off your face like the lips of giant cow. Cow rhymes with sow and I felt as ugly as a giant hog inside and out. I truly felt like my body was made of glass and inside I was a giant, jagged rock trying to throw myself out of it. I wanted to shatter into pieces so someone would take note and ask me why I was so ugly. The giant, jagged rock just bounced off of me though. People passed by seeing just the clean glass on the outside but only when I’d let them see it. Ugly people look better behind clean glass.
I told you being ugly is expensive. I bought products off of television infomercials and even tried a homemade concoction or eight. I tried oatmeal and eggs, drinking vinegar, rubbing them with the oil from some herb in Australia, dabbing on oil from an emus bird and even crushed up aspirin and rubbing alcohol. Nothing worked. I just got uglier. The giant, jagged rock inside of me was getting more jagged and my glass was now getting fingerprints. My emotions from all the gunk in my life that had built up along with whatever was happening on my outside had almost done me in. A girl can only hide for so long. If she continues hiding in the midst of all that internal and external stress –her glass will break without the giant, jagged rock having to even be involved.
I got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Stress kills. It’s not a joke. Soon after I took a trip to the Mayo Clinic and found out there was a reason why I was so ugly.
Jump ahead to the proclamation I was about to make to my office and in front of the chaplain.
“I would like to announce that I have a pimple!”
I didn’t just proclaim it. I did that thing football players do when they cross the end zone with a touch down. I began a happy dance right there in front of my co-workers. They didn’t laugh at first. They needed a moment to let it sink in that I even dared speak the word “pimple” out loud let alone being truly, madly, deeply happy about it. Their laughter delighted me and even made my pimple appear happier.
In exactly 3 months I’ll have surpassed the milestone age of 45. A woman begins going through some prominent changes at this stage and to get a pimple at my age without it being high-sugar related means to me that I’m still young enough to get a pimple. I needed to share that news with the people I hide nothing from and I needed to share it with you!
The ugly of my mind disappeared long ago and not just because I was treated for diabetic-related acne. I realized right quick that ugly is a choice and I don’t need to give ugly a voice. I will be a voice if I see ugly happening in you though. There is no need for you to suffer inside or out. Your glass is cut to reflect a spontaneous shine. In fact-it’s cut to reflect back the pimple that grows beautifully on you too. Don’t hide it. Proclaim it. There is nothing ugly about beating ugly to the punch.
Ingstad lives on the prairie near Valley City and writes this column for the Times-Record.