We all crave to be accepted, to be wanted, and loved just the way we are- and not for something that we used to be or could be, but who we are right now. You know, its ironic that for many, the search for acceptance spans a lifetime and in the end, rather than feeling accepted, they just end up isolated, afraid, and alone, never realizing that perhaps they were loved the whole time. Maybe its fear of rejection that does that to people. And bitterness. I know those have been obstacles in my own life. Heck, sometimes it feels as if its a daily battle. I think of how often when I was young, I was misunderstood by my peers. Dismissed because I was too emotional, flighty, talkative, or... weird. How, even as I grew older, and even though I had a handful of friends over the years that truly did understand me, I was mocked, ignored, taunted. And how those things never did a thing to bolster my self esteem. And how even though some people were awful- seriously, kids can be cruel- I still had friends who loved me. I still had my brothers and sisters. I still had my parents and grandparents. And they all loved me for me, even if sometimes I was overemotional, melodramatic, talkative, and... weird. And even though I had all of those people in my life through the years, who loved me unconditionally, I still struggled to fit in with those who did not see me, appreciate me, or care about me. I still desperately wanted to be accepted by the people who mocked me and made my life hell. I'm still not sure why I strived for that. But, I know what it is like to be a misfit. I know what it is like to be bullied. And I know what it is like to feel alone in a sea of people. And I know what it is like to be loved.
Funny how sometimes a person can't see past the nose on their face. Or perhaps, in my case, I had a bit of a farsighted issue. I couldn't see what I had right in front of me, and ached for things that were oh so far away. Funny.
I can remember the day I wanted to go to that unique little high school that could. They were different. I was different. I thought that finally I would be in a place where I would feel like I fit in. And my 3 years there, I did fit in. And I didn't. Some people saw me as the goody goody church girl. Others saw me the same way people had been seeing me for years: over emotional, melodramatic, talkative, and... weird. And even others saw me for who I was, sensitive, creative, and insecure. Like them. Wanting to fit in, needing friends.
Like most people, high school was a tumultuous time for me. I struggled with making sense of a lot of things that wouldn't make sense to normal people. And in spite of the tumultuosity (I tend to make up words...sorry), I forged my way through. I made my friends. Made my memories. And I graduated into life.
As the years go by, it has become easier and easier for me to see that I am not an outcast, or a reject, or a misfit. There are certainly those people who would judge me for the choices I make, the things I like, or the words I say. Of course, I still want to be accepted and loved, but not at the price of changing who I am. And I have found a place where I can be who I am and feel like I belong without trying to be something I'm not. Without trying to impress people that just simply won't be impressed. I don't care if people think I'm a terrible person for getting a tattoo or liking Dungeons and Dragons. I don't care if people think I'm a crazy Pentecostal or a tree-hugging hippy. I don't care if people give me grief over the books and movies I like, or how I raise my children. I've finally become happy with who I am, and I can finally see right in front of me. And I live a very full and blessed life. Sometimes I can be so blinded by my own melodrama to see that I really matter to other people, that I have friends who love me for me. This quest of mine to fit in has been vain, as I already fit in. I've been seeing quotes all over Facebook over the last few weeks on accepting who you are, being content with the person God made you, and the like. It's funny. All the anxiety seems to melt away when I look right around me. I have a husband that loves me even though I can be an emotional basket case that talks to much. My children adore me. I have the best friends a girl could ask for. And I love my church family. This morning in church, Pastor Glen took time to ask people to praise God for blessings in their lives. There seemed to be a theme in what people had to say. Family. Acceptance. Belonging. Nearly everyone in church this morning that spoke, vocalized some of the same feelings and fears that I have struggled with for almost my whole life. And the funny thing is, they all felt the same thing I did. That they were finally in a place where they felt they belonged. They were accepted. They were no longer brushed aside, and they had a family. I think everyone in that sanctuary this morning felt a sense of connectedness. It was beautiful. I should have expected it too, because I wore mascara. I got all teary. I always get teary when I wear mascara. But the beautiful part wasn't that I felt like I belonged somewhere. Or that I was surrounded by people who loved me. No. THe beautiful part this morning was that, even though those things are true, they are merely the reflection of something greater. God's Love. God created me, quirks and all. He Loves me for me, and He loves me much more than anyone else can. And you know what's funny? He loved me the whole time. Strange how some things can be so obvious you have trouble seeing it. So, to some people, I might always be over emotional, melodramatic, talkative, and... weird. But God sees me as empathetic, passionate, articulate, and creative. And the amazing thing is, with just a small change of perspective, a girl's self esteem is no longer in danger of her own self. I belong. And I'm grateful for every single person in my life that loves me for me... but even more so, I'm thankful that God loves me more.