Heather Sanders

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February 2011



I used to be the prettiest girl in the world.

Written by , Posted in Everything Else, Guest Posts


Today I’m cross-posting with Kate Fridkis of Un-Schooled. Now in her mid 20s, Kate was “unschooled” at home and writes on a variety of homeschooling issues from her own personal experience and perspective. Enjoy her guest blog contribution below, and then click on over to read my guest post about Homeschooling: Freeing my girls to BE, not Become.

Guest Post by: Kate Fridkis

I used to be the prettiest girl in the world.

It didn’t matter what I was doing or wearing or even, really, how I looked. I just knew. I was me, and that made me the prettiest girl in the world.

It’s a really good thing that my prettiness didn’t have very much to do with what I was wearing, because I was wearing floral print tights with pink shorts and a plaid shirt with a smiley face decal ironed onto it. I was wearing those Lands’ End sandals with the Velcro straps, that are perfect for wading through streams. My grandmother had cut my bangs, and they went diagonally across the top of my forehead. I hated brushing my hair.

I was confident, even when I was shy around most people. Because I felt like I was pretty special.

That’s homeschooling. You think you’re special and pretty. Why? Because your mom tells you you are. She clearly thinks you are. And you aren’t always around a bunch of other girls who are telling you your mom is really, really wrong. Who keep telling you your mom is wrong until you believe them and think your mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

So don’t you get spoiled, then? Don’t you get arrogant?

I can’t tell. Maybe you just get confident. But even if you get arrogant– well, girls aren’t arrogant enough, most of the time. I mean, if girls were arrogant enough, then wouldn’t more women be asking for raises at work? Statistics consistently show that women don’t ask for raises very often, even though men ask for them a lot. And then, when successful women are interviewed, they say things like, “I guess I’m lucky” or “I had a lot of help.” Men say, “I’m pretty great!”


Maybe I wasn’t very pretty. I look weird in the pictures. A grubby, messy, chubby little kid with very knotted hair. A teenager with pimples all over my face. Is that a Star Wars shirt I’m wearing? Seriously?

As a homeshooled girl, I was beautiful because I was smart. I was smart because I was creative. I was writing this book about a girl who becomes an incredibly powerful mage, and saves the world from evil, while falling in love with her dashingly handsome blind mentor. People were shooting lavender fire out of their palms. The evil character was called…”The Great Evil.” The hero was called “Drayuuk.” I thought I was good at names. It was a terrible, terrible book, and sometimes I read bits of it aloud to people who know me really well, when I’m very tired, and I want to laugh a lot. But at the time, I was passionate about it, and I felt awesome, writing cliffhangers in which the Great Evil cackles menacingly in the dark, just around the corner…

A lot of people learn to look like they feel good about themselves, but as a kid, I really did feel good about myself. And as a girl, I got this strange, amazing opportunity to be beautiful, regardless of all of the excruciating, minute, endless rules about beauty that are imposed on girls and women everywhere. I got to be beautiful, just the way I was. Weird, right?


And I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

I’m twenty-four now. I just got married. I live in Manhattan and wear clothes that usually match. I don’t have any Star Wars shirts at all. Not even one. I went to college and grad school. I worked briefly in an office. And people ask me, when they find out about my childhood, “Are you glad you were homeschooled?”

“Well, yeah,” I say. “I got to actually sleep in the mornings.”

But I’m thinking, “I got to be beautiful.”

I got to be confident. I got to do what I loved. That’s why I’m a writer, today. Hopefully, my work has improved, though I haven’t named any characters recently, so it remains to be proven. And sometimes when I write something I really like, the next time I see myself in the mirror, I think, “Nice! I’m so pretty!”

Kate Fridkis blogs about body image at Eat the Damn Cake and education/homeschooling at Un-schooled. She also writes for the Huffington Post and AOL’s MyDaily. She is twenty-four and lives in Manhattan, where she feels dramatically unfashionable on a regular basis.

Heather Sanders


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