For What It’s Worth

I think self-worth is the most important trait a person can possess. Without it, others tend to treat you as if you should be entering through the backdoor. I’ll admit, I learned this one the hard way.

For a good part of my life I suffered from an acute case of inadequacy all because I didn’t go to school. When I think back on it boy, did I put myself through hell for nothing.

If the world is treating us badly it’s because we’ve given it permission to. I never knew we ultimately decide who we are and that’s what the world mirrors back.

As a model, especially a young one, you’re invited to everything. They sprinkle you around at parties and openings like a glamorous sprig of parsley. There I’d be in some loaned designer outfit petrified someone might come over to ask me a question.


I was forever disappearing into the ladies room to ‘freshen up,’ taking as long as was humanly possible.’ ‘Smarten up’ would have been a better idea. If I knew then what I do now I would have had a much better time not to mention sniffed fewer lines of coke that were always displayed like party favors on the sink.

Half the people running around with 5 star educations are the dullest bunch you’ll ever encounter and many of them don’t even read, an act that adds layers to a person.

Yes it does. It makes you more interesting because you know more.

A woman I knew by the name of Dr. Joyce Aronson, a great lady who passed away from cancer several years ago who had scrolls on her wall up the wazoo said to me once, “You know Susannah, all college really comes down to is lots of reading and writing – start doing that and you’ll never feel deficient again.”

That’s the day I stopped thinking of myself as ‘just a model.’ I got my first library card and off to the literary races I went.

My parents, who didn’t read very much, were not very good role models. My mother liked those cheap romance novels where, right when the heroine was about to be carried off to be raped and ruined, the son of the manor would ride to the rescue then ravish her himself in a nearby bush. (With her consent of course.) My dad wasn’t much help either being strictly an avid Daily News reader and Mickey Spillane fan. The classics (with the exception of ‘Good Housekeeping’) were nowhere to be found which resulted in me not reading ‘Pride And Prejudice’ till I was  35.

Part of my insecurity came from a limited vocabulary’ the surprise built-in bonus buck when you read. My very first dictionary, ‘The American Heritage’ that sits on my desk (I’m thinking of bronzing it), never left my side. It took me forever to finish a book because I looked up every other word but in no time it was amazing how quickly they became mine. Suddenly I wasn’t afraid any longer to be cornered in conversation not only comprehending what was said but contributing as well.

I remember one of my shinier moments was the first time someone asked what school I had gone to? After shyly admitting I was strictly a working girl with no college to speak of, the woman who asked was completely taken aback.

I think I grew an inch that day, not a bad thing for a model actually.

Self-worth is like donning a beautiful color. It allows you to make an entrance announcing to all present who you are and that you never, ever come through the backdoor.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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11 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Nabilla says:

    Beautiful, Susannah 🙂 I had to learn this a hard way too, throwing some precious years into the process as well but I am glad at least I came through ‘the fire’ and gained one very important lesson. You are how you define your own self worth to be. I told my younger sister once, you define your own self worth. If you believe and act like you’re worth 5 dollars, people are going to treat you like you’re something that can be bought and trashed so easily. But if you define your value as priceless, you will carry yourself in such a way that those people who are only willing to 5 bucks will never ever ever get to you. If that makes any sense at all.. 🙂 I guess the pain i went through to learn that lesson was made it all worth to pass it on to her.


    • Thank you for adding to the piece Nabilla. You said what I feel in my heart accurately and beautifully. So many people suffer from inadequacy. I see and hear it all the time and my heart breaks for them. We are all equal and money not education shouldn’t define a person’s worth yet it does in the eyes of many but what’s important is how we view ourselves. If we feel good then it matters so little how we’re perceived. It truly becomes an after thought.

      Thanks for reading and writing.



  2. Jeanette Hamilton says:

    This post is one of your best yet, Susannah. I have a couple of college degrees but have long felt insecure because they are from local universities because my parents couldn’t afford to send me “off” to school, so I worked my way through both degrees. Now I’m proud of how I got my education, but it’s taken a long time to be happy and accepting of my path in life.


  3. Agreed. Your best one yet! Strong yet vulnerable. Introduced us to people who have had effect on your life and helped shape the fabric that makes you so wonderful. And how cool is it to have a tried and true gift to us readers that we can carry forth and make our own lives better! Thank You…


  4. Alva Chinn says:

    It just goes to show you, intelligence coupled with the desire to learn and grow rivals mass market schooling always! Kudos for this share. I just enjoy your open dialogue. Thank you.


  5. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Fantastic. And you have all the more reason to be proud because you did it all on your own. Wonderfully written piece.


  6. Alex says:

    Enjoyed that very much. Self-worth should only be defined by you. xo


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