I hesitated to write this post, because I feel like my last couple of posts ( here and here) have been a bit negative, and today was more painful growth, but it’s a part of my journey and this blog is the story of my journey (and I’m done saying journey, because it sounds cliche and I’m annoying myself with it).
I realized today that we’re each like an onion, and over time, as we grow and mature, and especially if we allow the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us, the layers peel back. We reach a point that we think is the end, with no more layers to lose, only to realize a new one is loosening up and ready to be worked off.
I started a new layer.
It started with a dream. I took a nap this afternoon (I love summer vacation!!) and I dreamed that I was going to Hawaii for a wedding. Everyone I knew was attending this wedding, and we all showed up to the airport in our wedding finest. I did, too, even though I knew I wouldn’t be attending the wedding. But I didn’t want anyone to know I knew that about myself, and I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself. So I dressed up. I did my hair, and my make-up, and I mingled as we waited for our flights. I saw different people I know, as we waited. One was a woman I babysit for, and we were talking about her girls, who were dressed up, too. She was smiling and talking with me, and I was thinking, “I wish she really liked me, but she’s such a kind person, it’s nice that she can be nice to me even though no one likes me.” Later, I was texting with her and her husband and when I looked up from my phone, her husband was several feet away. I tried cracking a joke about people texting when they’re close enough for actual conversations, but he told me to be quiet. Just to text. Don’t talk to him about it. I laughed it off and tried starting small talk, so he walked away.
Later, I was sitting on a bench, and two other important people were next to me. A
professional photographer was taking pictures, and the couple next to me had a funny moment. The photographer was capturing it perfectly in pictures, and it was going to go on the front page of the newspaper, highlighting the article about this wedding. Except me. All I could think, as I tried to smile or laugh or be what I should be, since I happened to be in the frame of those photos, was, “you’re ruining the pictures. It doesn’t matter if you smile, or laugh. You always ruin pictures. You take terrible pictures and these would have been perfect for the front page, but you had to be sitting here, and you ruined them.” I made a mental note to privately tell the photographer I wouldn’t be offended at all if she cropped me out of them, and that I was sure she would need to.
I woke up as everyone was lining up for their plane rides and I was putting on my best smile so no one would see that I was sad or disappointed, or even aware yet that I wasn’t going.
It haunted me long after I awoke. And you know what? I never felt super sad in my dream. Disappointed, definitely. I wanted to belong. But I had accepted that I don’t belong and made peace with it.
That’s the new layer, that’s beginning to loosen. I don’t have negative self-talk or a poor self-image, but i’ve realized how unhappy I am with who I am.
Wednesday night, Aimee and I sat and went through an album of pictures from a Girl Scout trip we took to Mackinac after her 3rd grade year. It had showed up in my “On This Day” photos on Facebook. You guys, I hate the OTD stuff sometimes. I like who I am at 34 a million times better than who I was at 26, 28, or even 30. Ugh. And going through this album was torture for her and I. She hated her clothes, but she knew we were so poor, she wore what was given to us and it was what it was. And me? I was also in some hand me downs. I was awkward. Plain. I wanted to have friends and be liked, but I felt like an outsider that entire trip. There were 5 or 6 other moms on that trip, and only one was a friend. The rest of the moms were super close, and are still friends, but half of them unfriended me on fb by the end of that summer. Because I was awkward? Poor? Nerdy? I’ll never know.
It just hit me this week how big my struggle is with who I am. Half of me is so comfortable with myself, and my personality, my hobbies, my life. But there’s this other part of me that feels I need to smile all the time and pretend I don’t really know that just because I like myself doesn’t mean anyone else does. Isn’t that awful??
I’m planner/list maker type. I like forming a plan and doing it. If I don’t like something, I analyze, make changes, and try a different approach.
One should not be having dreams that the world thinks they are ugly or unlovable, and will never belong. One should analyze why they are having those dreams and move forward. That is what I’m doing.
So far, I’ve come up with a few ideas.
1. I’m at the heaviest weight I have ever been, and I feel fat and ugly. I refuse to be one of the countless women who complain about their weight, or are unhappy with it, but never do anything about it. I need to do something about it.
2. When I went through my 20’s and all it’s life-altering events (wedding, multiple births, and a divorce), something had to give. I didn’t have it in me to take care of myself and my kids, so I chose my kids, naturally. I’m 34 now, almost 2 years into a new marriage with a wonderful man who helps me take care of those kids. I can start taking care of myself again. I finally *want* to take care of myself again.
3. The drama and emotions of grade school never really go away. Adults can be bullies, too. Grown ups can struggle with the same insecurities they had as a youth. But fortunately, the older you get, the more you can teach yourself to not care what others think, and the more power you have to change hurtful situations. Looking back, I should have spent that trip to Mackinac spending quality time with the friend who was there, instead of trying so desperately to fit in with women who didn’t want me. I’m confident I would handle it different now.
I wrote about this today because of the growth beginning in me again, and wanting to document it. There’s so much change that occurred in the past 7 years, but at times it was such an ugly, imperfect journey and I chose to keep most of it hidden. I kind of regret that now. It would be neat to look at the growth. Instead, I see my old Facebook statuses and I cringe, and thank the Lord I’m not that girl anymore. ? I like this one so much better. I can only imagine who I’ll be at 40, if I continue to surrender to the workings of the Holy Spirit.
So that’s today’s post. I survived the season of my life that was survival/devoting all of myself to my kids. I’ve rested and recovered, and realized that I’m not okay with this version of myself anymore. It’s time to figure out who I want to be. ? And if other people don’t like who I am or who I’ll be, I’m okay with it, because I’m blessed with so many who do. ❤️