Monday, January 16, 2017

New Year, New Direction

(Disclaimer* After much thought I have decided that even though I am taking things in a new direction I will continue to use this blog. I will still update about my journey with Lyme but am choosing for the most part to share my heart on some on other things)

As bad as my memory is, I remember this like it was yesterday. The day I showed up to school and was promptly told I was a "poser".  I guess I should back up a little and give you some background. I grew up essentially an only child. My two half brothers are quite a bit older then me and didn't live with me for very long at least that I remember. I was attending a private Christian school that went from preschool through 6th grade. It was the only school I had ever attended. While I had friends I certainly wasn't part of the popular crowd, which is funny to even think about since there were only 15 kids or so in each grade. In any case I somehow drew the negative attention of others and the relentless teasing began. (To be fair I don't believe any of those people could look back now and see how mean they were. In fact on of the main players in this story told me years later he had a crush on me and never remembered being mean.) I would bet for at least 2 years I went home in tears everyday after school. Leading up to this particular incident, I had been being made fun of for my sense of style or maybe in their minds the lack there of. If I wanted to be on top of my fashion game I needed to get some surf clothes. After all we lived in sunny San Diego and surfing was part of our culture. I remember pleading my case to my mom on how I needed to find some surf clothes. I convinced her to drive me the 20 or so miles to the big mall that had recently opened. They had a Gotcha store (for those who remember 80's surf brands) and maybe one other place what was sure to have just what I needed. Back then there weren't any brands or lines for girls so the standard t-shirt was about your only choice. I remember picking out a bright blue Hobie shirt. It had a little white dog with a black ring around it's eye. Perfect. 

Thinking I had finally figured things out, I proudly walked in to school with my new shirt. If I remember correctly I had made it over to the swing set when the same kid that told me surf clothes were in burst out laughing and told me I was such a poser. My spirit was crushed. I couldn't tell you what started it all but I was teased endlessly for everything from being too flat chested to being a mommas girl. Day after day I went home a cried myself to sleep. So it began, the downward spiral of the friendly little girl who didn't know how to stand up for herself and just wanted to get along with everyone. I'm not sure my self confidence ever had a chance to develop. I knew my mom and dad loved me. I knew Jesus loved me. But I guess it wasn't enough to overcome what the other kids had to say about me. Those moments, those words, followed me from then on. They went with me to my new school in 7th grade. Another small private Christian school where once again I just couldn't manage to be part of the popular crowd. There weren't the tears this time as the out right being made fun of didn't happen. But there was just enough to somehow make me "frienemies" with the most popular kids and I still hadn't learned how to stand up for my self or where my self worth truly came from. It was just two short years before I was thrown into the wild world of high school. My graduating class of about 15 kids was split up amongst 4 or 5 high schools. You would have thought that being in a much smaller group of 4 or 5 kids we would have stuck together, looked out for each other but that wasn't the case. A couple of the kids had older siblings so they already had people to look out for them and older kids who knew there name. And the popular crowd stuck together. I was now in a sea of few hundred kids and no body knew my name. While I wish I could say I thought of this as my chance to start over and make a new name, a new identity I froze. My self worth was already so damaged, I didn't know how to start over, how to write a new story. Those 4 years in high school were some of the most painful years of my life. I'll save those stories for next time. 

You may be wondering what the reason is for me sharing my child hood sob story. Why would people want to read this and what purpose could it serve? The answer is not an easy one to share. The truth is that little girl who just wanted people to like her 30 years ago is now the grown woman writing this blog. Those same insecurities, same uncertainties, feelings of being unworthy and being a failure plague me to this very day. About 6 months ago, in the midst of a rough year for my family, God just really laid it on my heart that I needed to deal with these issues. I needed to truly see myself as He sees me. While I have started down that road, I can tell it isn't going to be easy or quick. 

One of the things I have learned so far is that it is incredibly important to be a truth teller. We are inundated day in and day out with tv, radio and social media telling us everything we need to do, to have, to change about ourselves to be okay, to be liked, to make in this world. Jealousy and insecurity are fueled by our friends posting on social media how amazing their life is- All The Time! We feel the need to show the world how together our lives our. Soon we begin to lose touch. We can't truly relate to each other anymore because behind the scenes we are trying to keep up with or out do each other. Now I am not saying announce on Facebook that you couldn't pay your bills this month, or post on Instagram you failed a college class. But please, post a picture without erasing every line and wrinkle on your face with some crazy filter and when someone asks how you are feel free to say not so good. You aren't always fine or okay. Life isn't always amazing. Being real allows us to be so much more compassionate and empathetic. Our relationships become that much more authentic.

There you have it. I am far from loving myself, far from looking in the mirror and believing I am beautiful, far from feeling worthy but I am getting there. If one person could benefit from me sharing my struggle and avoid the years of pain I have subjected myself to then it is worth it. What really fueled my need to do this was my two beautiful daughters. I would do anything to keep them ending up here where I sit. Just the other day I sat outside the dressing room as my 13 yr old tried on dresses for an upcoming school dance. All I could see were her feet turning this way and that as she evaluated herself in the mirror. In that moment I wondered what she told herself. What did that voice inside her head say and how had things I had said or done affect those things? What about tv, Instagram and friends at school? What truths was she believing about herself? Did she know how much her dad and I loved her, and Jesus loved her and was it enough to overcome the lies of this world. It scares me to think about. I knew then without a doubt I couldn't keep this to myself any more. This is my story, it is mine to share. My prayer for those of you reading this is that you know your value and your worth and how much you are loved. If however, you find yourself in my shoes either as a young lady or a grown woman I pray you will go on this journey with me. That together we can overcome the lies the world feeds us and we can find our true identity in the one who made us. You were created for a purpose and your story is not over. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Recommended reading: Finding Your Brave by Holly Wagner

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