Ugly Duckling AKA Baby Swan

2010.7.3 Ugly Duckling AKA Baby SwanI was in full-on baby brain mode when I chose to draw this image. I was obsessed with finding baby birds to draw. But also, I wanted to draw an “Ugly Duckling” because I remember that story from my childhood.

Objectively, I can look back at my childhood photos now and see that, actually, I was a pretty cute kid. But that’s irrelevant. I was on the bottom of the social ladder – a poor kid in a private school, the only mixed race kid in a largely white population. So the other kids called me “ugly” and “monkey ears” and “hippopotamus” and I believed them. And so I read the “Ugly Duckling” hoping that the swan’s lesson also applied to me. And it does…

BUT. I wish the lesson hadn’t been,”Just wait, you’ll grow up and secretly discover that you’re gorgeous after all, because that’s all that really matters anyways.” I wish the lesson had been, “Fuck those assholes who only care what you look like and pick on you because you’re an easy target. You will find your inner strength by being awesome and finding people who love you for the exact reason of your weirdness, your quirkiness, your inability to ‘fit in’ – because fitting in is totally overrated anyways.” I think that (minus the swearing) is the tale we should be telling our children.


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