We’re continuing with intro week here on Just.Be.Enough. Yesterday, Robin shared her story about what Just.Be.Enough. means to her.
Today is Jen’s turn.
Where do I begin to tell you my story?
Do I tell you about how I once told a classmate that I’d lost 20 lbs over the weekend and then sucked in my belly to make it look as though I did? And how she expressed approval and told me how much better I looked? We were in the first grade, by the way.
Do I tell you about the fact that every.single.one of my girlfriends had boys chasing after them when we were kids, and how I was looked at with that weird mixture of pity/resentment reserved for the friend the boys merely put up with?
How about the fact that I spent the evening of my Junior Prom going to dinner and a movie with my mom?
Or the fact that my freshman year English teacher, who I idolized, convinced me that my dreams were ridiculous?
Clearly I could go on and on but suffice it to say I’ve spent most of my life feeling inferior. As though I had to apologize for my very existence. Like my dreams weren’t good enough. And somehow? I started to believe all of it. I guess it’s inevitable after enough time passes.
By the time I turned 26 I had myself convinced that love and dreams weren’t for me. Some people just don’t get what they want, I told myself, and I’d better get used to it if I wanted to avoid pain. I didn’t think of myself as a woman – so few men ever had. All it brought me was pain. I was too down on myself to even consider following my dreams. I wasn’t even sure what my dreams were, honestly.
Then one day, and I have no idea what spurred this, everything changed. I suddenly stopped caring about all the other stuff – all the negativity and the hurt and the exclusion I’d ever felt. It didn’t matter anymore. I was too tired of it all.
I also didn’t care anymore about trying to fit myself into a mold in order to find a guy – feeling like I had to apologize for being plus-sized, feeling sad and “less than” when they didn’t reply after receiving a second photo of me from a dating site. Knowing exactly why their interest faded.
So I put up a classified ad and let it all out – my size, my sarcasm, my abilities and my new-found “I don’t care if you don’t like me, don’t waste my time” attitude.
Later that very day I was emailed by my husband-to-be.
What’s the point of me telling you all this? Well, I see it this way: If that one decision to pack away all the pain and hurt and self-loathing that I’d been carrying with me most of my life led me to meeting my husband THAT SAME DAY, what else am I capable of?
What else are we all capable of?
Sure, over the past 5+ years I’ve often found myself back in that dark place. It didn’t go away. I doubt, I condemn myself, I put myself down for daring to dream. I curse my body and my penchant for loving food too much. I tell myself “it’s not possible” more times in the course of a single day than I can count.
If I can just make one positive change every day. One moment of clarity, one moment of truly being with myself and being present in my thoughts. If I can listen to myself and hear the things I say and immediately refute them, rather than just letting them pop-up at random and stick in my subconscious – then who knows what I can accomplish?
Because I am enough. I am good enough. I am smart and funny and wise and warm and talented. Even though I’m clumsy, even though I’m overweight. Even though I say awkward things and I’m afraid to drive and I “only” have a few hundred followers on my blog and I have big feet.
I am still loved. I am me for a reason.
I am enough, and I am worthy of my own kindness. And so are you.