Are You Comfortable in Your Own Skin?

Dear Reader:

It dawned on me the other day, while watching a celebrity interview (on a talk show) that I hear the expression… ” Feeling comfortable in my own skin” quite frequently.

The celebrity will be saying something along the lines of ” I tried several different careers along the way until I realized one day I didn’t need to try to impress this director or producer anymore by imitating other acting styles… I just had to be me. It was only when I felt comfortable in my own skin” that my career and life fell into place. ” So true!

It is, also, only when we realize that everyone’s journey through life is unique and not to be compared against others… that we finally understand we are only competing against ourselves… pushing ourselves to be our best selves. We only need to seek our own approval… to think, be, and demonstrate to others… what makes us who we are.

One article I read called this the ” beautiful mess affect” … appropriately named. We must learn to love all our positive qualities and accept our weaknesses too by letting our vulnerability show. It is the vulnerability in the human race that attracts us to a deeper understanding of each other.

As I read this thought ( above) I decided to take a moment and reflect back on the time I remembered having a good laugh at myself. The day I grew up.

It was the summer before my senior year in high school. Senior pictures were being taken before school started officially …over a week period …to have them ready to be submitted to the yearbook.

For once in my life I was excited because secretly I had gone to Greenville to get my braces off right before my photo date. No one had seen me without my braces.

So some of my classmates’ parents planned a gathering at a popular ” Rec” Center to kick off our final year… we were bringing our ” proofs” from the pictures to share with friends and laugh and giggle over.

Even upon arrival… with us meeting and greeting at the end of the summer one initially mentioned my teeth. I was crestfallen… there we were all hugging and laughing but no one had noticed my braces were off.

The parents had put our senior proofs on a bulletin board and then suddenly I heard a fellow classmate say ” Like your picture Becky… is something different?” – and then finally a close friend who had been talking to me stopped and looked at the picture again and then at me… ” You got your braces off!”

For the rest of the evening an occasional classmate might mention my braces being gone… but what I had considered a momentous, life-altering moment in my life was lost in the realization that my classmates had only known me with braces when we moved to Laurens and had accepted me (over three years) for who I was and not my braces.

That night I pulled out my three earlier yearbooks …where I was always lip smiling… and started smiling to myself. I had learned an important lesson… ” Braces do not make the person… nor any other physical apparatus- you have to go deeper than that. It is the total essence of ourselves that others feel that matters. I took a big step in growing up that night.

So until tomorrow… It is a nice feeling getting to a point in life when we can see past a mirror reflection and accept ourselves… just as we are.

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

Love my happy place… writing and looking out on nature in all its beauty

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Are You Comfortable in Your Own Skin?

  1. Johnny Johnson says:

    Wow, Mrs Dingle you were quite the beautiful young woman! I am with your friends, I wouldn’t have noticed braces on or off with everything else you had going on. Not to mention very smart throughout school, so it seems! Yeah I think you should have been comfortable in your own skin and well versed in self defense with the stick you had to carry to beat back all the young men! And you can write, teach, teach others to teach. Yeah you had to be comfortable in your own skin, and from that point of having your braces removed you had nowhere to go but up, and up you truly went! Just so you know so many of your classmates boy and girls probably hardly noticed you had braces as seen when you had them removed. Only your closest friend noticed at all. Having them on was bothering nobody but yourself. Funny how you can go so long thinking people see something bad on you in you part of you and when that one thing is gone it’s only you that feels that feeling of near euphoria because it’s gone and you notice that you think guys in your case girls in my case like me now, noticed the thing is gone. But the thing being gone had nothing to do with you feeling suddenly noticed, it was the change inside yourself that they noticed! You came out of a shell became more sociable let’s say, or carried yourself differently, showed self confidence and that’s really what others noticed. But, it really feels so good when you feel comfortable in your own skin doesn’t it?


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thanks Johnny! Isn’t it amazing how we are taught the most important lessons in life in the most creative ways… by none other… than our Creator.

      Sent from my iPhone


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