When I was a little kid I was convinced I was the ugliest girl in the world. To come up with an animal to represent this overblown insecurity issue, I imagined the closest thing to a modern-day monster—an alligator. I dressed her in something I could have worn as a child, and placed her in school, where my self-loathing was most strongly felt. In life I eventually grew out of my certainty that my looks were hideous, but this painting is about being insecure in general—about a strong, false self-perception.
The images behind her on the chalkboard are reminders that, even when I feel bad about myself, forces of power (Wonder Woman) and protection (Our Lady of Guadelupe) are at work. Even when I was sure no one in the world was as hideous as me, I was surrounded by encouragement through experiences, people, and my surroundings. This strength and inspiration seemed to emanate from everyday life, but in retrospect the effects were as magical as if Wonder Woman and Our Lady were really involved.
There is another interpretation of the two women on the chalkboard. In a way, their influence may have contributed to my bad opinion of myself. Through my construal of societal expectations, I determined that I must aspire to be a super woman, able to do everything better than normal. I was pretty sure I could never be as beautiful, sexy, strong, honorable, smart, and sparkly as Wonder Woman, and indeed no one could. And then I had the impossible standards of the saintly and loving image of the Virgin herself to live up to. The two images inspired and taunted me at the same time.