Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let your freak flag fly.

Song for this post: "Diamonds on the Inside" ~ Ben Harper

I have these nightmares that I'm in a public place or with someone I'm trying to impress and something awful happens, like my hair falls out or I pee all over myself. You know...things that are fairly unbecoming. I think it's a lingering and deep seeded "ugly duckling" psychosis that never left me. I wasn't very popular in school.  I didn't have it as hard as some but I was definitely the girl who did everything wrong. If there was a chance for embarrassment, I seemed to take the ball and run with it.  School for me was like a shotput...only the ball was my own humiliation. Obviously, as I've gotten older, I've realized that we ALL felt that way; like we didn't fit in.  We felt like, any moment, we were going to say something stupid or, worse, our bizarre teenaged bodies were going to rebel against us in some mortifying and unforgivable way.

I didn't really embrace the fact that I was a girl until close to my senior year.  Before that, I wore baggy t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers just about every day. I didn't feel pretty and, by extension, didn't feel girly. I didn't feel like I had any right to dress up because everyone would most likely point and laugh. "She doesn't belong in those clothes!" At some point I overdeveloped and it became impossible to not be thought of as a girl. It also became impossible for anyone to look at anything but my chest.  The combination of the tomboyishness and my overly developed physical features made for a lot of insecurities that have stuck with me my entire life. Even at 30 I still get anxiety meeting new people. A friend of mine invited me to her housewarming party recently and I didn't go. I knew there were going to be lots of women there I'd never met. Women who are gutsy enough to have stylish hair cuts, wear bold lipstick, and live on the edge of fashion...girls who would surely see me for the mousy pretender I still feel like.

What's my point?

It's simple and it's something you've heard before. We ALL feel that way to some degree or another.  And that makes me feel better. Yup, I'm saying you're insecurities give me comfort.

I was out with some girlfriends a few months back and just about had a heart attack when they said they always saw me as a strong, confident woman. The idea that they could see me as something I SO don't feel like blew my mind. It's stayed in my mind ever since and, to a degree, it's starting to flourish there.  That knowledge kind of rocked my world and made me think about who I am and what I've done with my life. I ended up coming to a pretty incredible realization.

They were right.

Even though I always feel like the freak and the loser, the girl no one would date or ask to the prom, the girl who always says the wrong thing and feels awkward in ALL social situations, that's never stopped me from pushing through. And you're insecurities, that little voice in your head that makes you feel like you're less than you are, shouldn't stop you either.

We are all amazing. We are all beautiful.  It's the flaws in people that I love so much.  I don't want you to be perfect. I just want you to be I can be we can love each other for who we are and celebrate our humanness.

We don't need to be perfect...because we already are.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, and very personal perspective you given on your own individuality. It struck me as funny, because I shared exactly what your friends believed about you: a strong, intelligent, and very confident young woman. Even back in high school, I thought you were more certain of who you were than most other people believed about themselves, myself included. And that's what I thought made you somewhat unapproachable back then; you brought a lot to the table that most of our peers couldn't (again, myself included). And that was very admirable to me.

    On a personal note, I didn't really get comfortable with who I was until my mid-twenties. I felt I was in a very bizarre position in high school: a geek who enjoyed most things geek related, willingly engaging socially in a environment where he was awkward and goofy at best (band), having friends in what was perceived as in both high and low places, aspiring to become something more than what he was. But even after high school, I still had this dilemma.

    Early in my military career, there were a lot of expectations, certain levels of competence I had to meet before I was accepted as a peer among those of similar rank. But I had little in common with them at that time: a lot of them had spent a few years (either in college or civilian life) before they enlisted, and all I had was high school experience and my interests. But they appreciated that I was willing to work hard and promptly, and kept an open mind about a lot of things, and it worked in my benefit. Over time, I was able to build a foundation of confidence in myself, based on my work ethic and my abilities, not because I wanted the glory or the spotlight, but because I wanted to ensure that the job was done right and that my peers and superiors could trust me to do that. And it came with a lesson I'll never forget: respect is earned, not given.

    Everyone possesses insecurities at some level. When we truly shine is when we don't let these things hold us down, and it benefits not only ourselves, but others as well. You had those qualities back then, and still have them now. And what's most reassuring, is that you use them for the right reasons. A lot of people held a great deal of respect for you back then, and still do now.