Ugly duckling syndrome is a condition whereby a person begins life as an “ugly duckling” child, but then blossoms in to a “beautiful swan” later in life. It is based on the story The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson, which teaches us that the beauty we spend our lives searching for is often found hiding within us.
People suffering from severe cases of ugly duckling syndrome are those who don’t bloom until late high school or early college years. And, as a matter of fact, these individuals are also seemingly vampires. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration — but I can say that they never seem to age. If you’re curious to see some before and after pictures of those suffering from ugly duckling syndrome, check out this brilliant (and very memorable) reddit post. This comment was gold: “I came to laugh at some ugly kids. Came away feeling like an ugly adult. Screw all of you gorgeous bastards”.
Personally, when I think back to my middle school days, all I can remember is chasing the 8th grade goth guy I was crushing on (the school loser), being extremely persistent even though I was ignored on a regular basis. I remember guys laughing and saying, “You’re not fat, you’re big boned”. At least right now, I can say that I’m definitely not fat. In fact, many people in recent time have told me that I should probably eat more steak. Looking back at pictures, it looks like I had developed curves earlier than most girls, that I over-tweaked my eyebrows, and my cheekbones weren’t as prominent as they now are.
Here are a few things that women with ugly duckling syndrome experience:
It’s tough for women with ugly duckling syndrome to take a compliment. In fact, we tend to think people are being sarcastic. Sure, you can say my sweater looks nice, but I’m just going to stare you down with my resting bitch face. Speaking of which..
Albeit years ago, there was once a time where any staring sort of attention was a form of psychological bullying. People were staring because they were silently judging us, or joking around with their friends. So, when us ladies with ugly duckling syndrome grow into swans, we immediately grow paranoid when people stare. What they have trouble recognizing is that the stares are coming from people who are legitimately admiring your beauty!
It’s easy to be totally confused when other women see you as competition when you grew up not-so-pretty. In fact, a lot of the time it just flat out doesn’t register. If you get bad vibes from other women, you immediately start to wonder, “Was it something I said?”.
Since we grew up as nothing special appearance-wise, we’ve always gotten by on our personalities rather than our looks. But when our appearance improves as we start to age, we’re not always on-guard when it comes to dating. AKA: Some men are focusing on our looks, rather than our personalities. And it can be very tough to spot.
So where does that leave us? Is there any hope for ugly ducklings?
Do you have ugly duckling syndrome? Share your experience with us!
Photo by Xvire, flickr