I want to be myself. I really do. But the who the heck is that?
I want others to know me. But I feel like I barely know myself. I have spent my life not just putting on a mask, but covering myself in a full-body lacquer to attempt to protect myself from feelings that aren’t happy. The trouble is, like 3-day old nail polish, the lacquer often chips.
So what would happen if I stripped off the lacquer? What if I exposed my real self? What would I find? What would others see?
- I am a hopeless romantic that often wears black leather and acts like I’m too tough for that crap.
- I am terrified to disappoint people I love and people I respect.
- When I am afraid, I run and hide.
- My fear manifests in physical ailments that make me high maintenance.
- I am wicked critical of myself and convinced others are, too.
- I am funny.
- I can remember song lyrics and movie quotes like no one’s business but have no idea why I would have this ‘gift.’
- I have always wanted to be a writer, a singer, an actor, a wedding planner, a motivational speaker, a CEO, an interior decorator, a photographer, a best friend, a success.
- I measure success straight up by public opinion.
- I go to bed every night feeling like I didn’t get enough done.
- I hate to be cold and/or wet. Cold and wet together is the worst.
- I don’t think I am pretty or stylish.
- At my core I am a total nerd but have fought against it my whole life, trying desperately to be a cool kid but feeling constantly rejected by those I considered cool.
- I am tired. All.The.Time.
- I am an emotional abuse and bullying survivor. And by survivor, I mean I am still here.
- I would love for someone famous to tell me that I am special.
- I HATE fighting with people. Mostly because “What if I am wrong?”
- Deep friendships and dinner parties are just opportunities for people to see the cracks in my lacquer. So I avoid them.
I am certain there is much more. Like an onion, there are many stinky layers to peel through. The question is, IF I peel them all back, what will I find?
This isn’t about people pleasing. This is about whether or not I can accept myself. Can I stop trying to change myself long enough to truly even appreciate my good, bad and ugly? I don’t change myself to please others. I change myself to convince myself that I am good. And to avoid any weakness that others might see and criticize me for.
The truly twisted thing is that I KNOW I am strong. I am brave. I am loved. I am worthy. I am smart. I am funny. I have gifts and a purpose.
But how do I convince my stupid emotions and my physical self that betray me every day?
I am SO MUCH better since discovering God less than a decade ago. I actively work to believe what He says about me is true. I give myself grace now that I didn’t used to. I just have a long way to go. I do not yet see the light at the end of the tunnel. Have no idea what I will find as I do the hard work of being me. I only know that I can’t continue like this. Like a virus eating away at me, or like a cancer silently taking every cell, this anxiety, this fear grows. It overwhelms me sometimes and I fear it’s affecting my kids now, too. It has got to stop.
"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
So here goes nothin’.