My #BeReal guest today is Jennifer Ortolano.
Jennifer originally wrote for me about being Bulimic. I knew this series needed her voice. I am so happy to include her perspective here.
We all fight with insecurity. We can learn and we can grow from them.
We can be better today than we were yesterday. Thank you Jennifer!
I am the “ugly” one in my family.
Okay, maybe “ugly” is too harsh of a word, let us go with “the less attractive one.” Everyone in my family is both physically and emotionally beautiful.
First, we have my father, who at 50 something reminds me of a mix between DeNiro and Stallone. It is not just the outer appearance. He is funny. Oh geez, is he funny. I do not care who you are or where you came from, he will not only make you laugh, but he will make you feel as if you have been life long friends.
My mother. I never had any boyfriends growing up. Well, there was that one, but for now, he does not count. As soon as any guy showed even a bit of interest in me, it was all over when they saw my mother. He then wanted to date her, not me. She is not only beautiful on the outside, she is just as beautiful on the inside. I have never known a more giving and nurturing person than she. She does it all and is a hard act to live up to.
My sister is the skinny, petite, out going personality type. She can talk to you and you will come out of the conversation thinking she was totally flirting with you, or that you have met her in a different life. This is a good thing. Well, in my eyes it is. She has been known to break out in song and dance in the middle of…well…anywhere. Her speciality is Sir Mix-A-Lot I Got Big Butts. i am not joking.
My brother is amazing. For as handsome as he is, his personality is even better. He is honest to God the least judgmental person I know. He will never talk about you behind your back. He hates drama. He is real. He is always himself and will never conform into anyone else. When you talk to him, you already know all his attention is on you. Somehow, he makes you feel like the most important person in the world.
Then, there is me. Where to start. I am over weight. I am shy.My legs are so scarred up I look like I have leprosy. In my teenage years I was a cutter, and now I am reaping the rewards. I am not usually a people person. I will talk to your pet more than I will talk to you. I mean in order for me to feel comfortable with you, the Heavens have to split and Angels come down. I am a hard one to crack with many walls built up. I do like to think once those walls come down, it was worth it. I am middle-aged, I have bad skin. I smoke, I drink (So that explains the bad skin) and recently, have found myself trying to live up to standards that are just not who I am.
Whether it be family or friends, when you are in a group setting everyone has a label.
“The pretty one”
“The shy one”
“The funny one”
“The drunk one”
“The stupid one”
“The nice one”
You see where I am going with this.
I am this close to being where I feel I am meant to be. The only thing is, it seems the people who are not the closest to me, are the ones that really get me.
The other day my 14-year-old son and I were in the grocery store. I ran into a teacher from the school my daughters go to. We said our “hello’s” I introduced her to my son, and what she said, well, what she said is probably the best compliment I could have asked for. Except, I did not ask, she said it, all on her own.
“It’s nice to meet you Vinnie. Your mom is amazing, we love her at the school and she is so unbelievable funny.”
Wow! Do you know how good those few words made me feel? First of all, I am funny. I mean this may not be the best post to showcase my funniness, but trust me, I am funny. A different kind of funny, but still funny.
Recently, like two weeks ago recently, I flew to Texas to spend time with my family. While shopping in Barnes and Noble I noticed this older gentleman who was wearing a “Seattle” t-shirt. A little too excitedly I asked him “Are you from Seattle?”
He gently and cautiously explained that no he was not from Seattle but his daughter is, and she was the one who sent him the shirt.
After our short exchange was over, my sister, with her head in a book, briefly looked up and said “Well, that was unusual.”
I know what she meant. Because I typically do not like people, There was a time where I would never engage in a conversation. That is how she knows me. But, over the years I have changed. I am that person who will start a conversation with a complete stranger. I may not like it, but if I feel I want to talk about something to a complete stranger, whether it be an item of clothing or what is in their grocery cart, I will. Why is it easier to be myself with the people who know me the least?
When I am with my family, the insecurities show their nasty head. Sometimes I feel I cannot be “me” with them, and, well, that is probably not good. I want to know why that is. Do I still feel I need their approval? Do I still want them to be proud of me?
I think because there are so many “loud” personalities in my family, it is easy for me to take a step back and allow someone else to run the show. Yet, when I am dealing with people who do not know me, I can be me. They do not know I was the kid at school who was always picked last for everything. They do not know that I did not have my first boyfriend until I was 17. They do not know that I base my self worth on what the number on the scale tells me, so, somehow that makes it easier to be real. To be the person who is more than her insecurities. It makes it easier to tackle my insecurities….and it makes it easier to overcome my insecurities.
So here it is #BeReal
I do have my voice.
I tend to drink when I write (edit when I am sober)
I do have bad skin that makeup can cover up
I am 20 pounds over weight. So what?
There is so much more to me than that.
I am so much more today than I was yesterday.
And tomorrow, I will be better than I was today.
I am a mother of four, wife to one. Proud owner of eight cats who are just as important to me as my own children. Basically, I am a crazy cat lady who is also a recovering bulimic. Except, I am not so sure about the recovering part, because it is a day to day struggle, and just like other addictions, I am not so sure one is every fully recovered. So yes, I am a wife,a mother, a crazy cat lady who use to enjoy the high of throwing up everything I ate, living in a suburb of Seattle. Yep, that’s me……according to my therapist anyway.
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5 thoughts on “#BeReal – JENNIFER ORTOLANO”
It never ends well when you start comparing yourself to the rest of the family… well, I mean, for me it did, because I am the tall, handsome, witty, funny one… but I mean, in general… good post.
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“Then, there is me. Where to start. I am over weight. I am shy.My legs are so scarred up I look like I have leprosy. In my teenage years I was a cutter, and now I am reaping the rewards. I am not usually a people person. I will talk to your pet more than I will talk to you. I mean in order for me to feel comfortable with you, the Heavens have to split and Angels come down. I am a hard one to crack with many walls built up. I do like to think once those walls come down, it was worth it. I am middle-aged, I have bad skin. I smoke, I drink (So that explains the bad skin) and recently, have found myself trying to live up to standards that are just not who I am.”
You just described me. I’m outgoing, when it’s with animals. My boyfriend gets embarrassed about my scars and always wants them covered around his family and some friends. My legs, well they are always getting new wounds from scratching too much.
I feel you. It’s hard being in a family where everyone is better and everyone else knows them and you’re referred to as so-and-so’s daughter, or sister, or some other relative. The story of my life. You just wrote about it feels, and I love you for knowing there are others out there like me. Thank you.
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My brothers and sister have not all been in the same place since 1989, always there has been one or another that could not make it due to timing, distance, work, service. We are so different from when we were kids, now we’re five spread across four continents. Each of us have grown in different ways and become more diverse. But it’s always good to get back together when most of us can, where ever we can (many of our labels from younger days have faded much).
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