Growing up ugly is the worst thing in the world, writes Katie Ledecky.
If you grew up in Italy, you probably thought of it as the country’s best.
The country was so bad, so violent and so dysfunctional that you felt as though you had been taken over by the monsters in your own head, a world where all you had to do was sit on the couch and watch a movie or read a book and you would be happy.
This was the country, the life you thought you were supposed to be living.
In reality, growing up ugly meant being the only one in the house with a nose.
You were forced to wear masks, you were called weirdos, and you were the worst person in the family.
Growing up in the worst country in the developed world, you had a lot of friends, but it was also an environment where your classmates, who were mostly the same age as you, were constantly bullying you.
They called you ugly, and they called you mean.
It was a place you didn’t belong, where you were at the mercy of the monsters who lived in your head.
When you were 13, you started to realise you had some serious problems with your voice.
You started to hate yourself and the fact that you couldn’t control your voice was something you had probably been told about a million times by adults and teachers.
You had to learn to love yourself and your voice so you could be a good person.
This is the book you read about growing up in Rome.
You learn to let go of your fears, you learn to feel good about yourself and to not give into the self-pity that made you a monster in your mind.
In this book you learn how to become the person you always wanted to be, but didn’t yet know how to be.
It’s a book about the way we grow up, about how the world shapes our emotions and how to control them, but also about how to get over your childhood fears.
When I first started reading this book, I felt it was about the hardest thing I’d ever read, but after a few weeks of reading, I realised that it was actually about a really easy thing to do, which is to grow older.