From my kitchen I could hear the television in our living room. I caught the end of an interview of a young woman.
I listened as she tried to explain why she had been bleaching and lightening her skin. She described what it felt like to experience feelings of inadequacy and when she began to view herself as ‘different’ and why she equated that with not being good enough.
She wanted to belong.
I could relate to this person on so many levels. There was a time that believed that I had to be anything but ‘me’ in order to belong.
Here are 3 of ridiculous things that I believed wholeheartedly:
1. Living from the outside-in was the only way to live.
This was a place where physical appearance ruled my perspective on everything.
The size of my boobs or the smoothness of my thighs or the level of my tan or the length of my hair had nothing to do with who I was a person, but you couldn’t have convinced me otherwise.
Men liked me, and for a while, I thought a couple of them truly loved me.
I may have accepted and ignored physical abuse and emotional abuse but I felt loved. The
men boys who I chose may have been emotionally unavailable and mostly project men for my own fixing pleasure, but they wanted me.
I thought that this sick dysfunctional cycle that I was stuck in, was love.
Why I was wrong:
It took me around twenty-five years to understand that feeling good on the outside cannot seep into my soul and change how I feel on the inside.
It happens the other way around.
Change starts in our heart and manifests and changes us on the outside.
We do have a glow and it’s full of self-love and confidence.
And when we realize this and allow ourselves to experience it, not only do we grow exponentially but we are able to set higher standards for ourselves. Our definition of love changes forever.
2. I thought that I had to fit in with everyone else in order to matter.
I was around seven-years-old when I looked around and noticed that my world didn’t quite match everyone else’s. So I began to take meticulous notes. I would use them to compare and contrast and berate myself.
According to my calculations my life was completely fucked up.
I didn’t really have a plan but I did know that people couldn’t know about my real life.
Why I was wrong:
I started to believe that in order to fit I had to be just like the rest of them or as close as possible. So for me, that meant denying who I was and where I came from and what I was experiencing and how I was feeling. I denied all of it and refused to believe that I could be good enough the way that I was. I couldn’t belong or be accepted if people knew that I was broken and damaged. In order to deny all of those things I had to pretend a lot.
And on my quest to fit with everyone else I lost myself.
3. I didn’t deserve anything that looked or felt like consistency or healthy.
Much like that young woman on television I had one constant voice of reason who did try on numerous occasions to sit me down and tell me that I deserved more. That I was loved and smart and capable of awesome shit.
But I was not able to see what she could see.
I didn’t know that person that described.
She saw qualities and potential that I still had no idea existed, and it annoyed me.
It made me feel angry that she kept trying to force me to look.
Why I was wrong:
I felt like I had to fill certain criteria in order to like who I was. It took me quite a few years to see that there is so much value in all of my weak areas and a lot to be gained from mistakes and none of those things dictate my value or capabilities as a woman.
So many of us begin our decent into that hollow, dark, empty place that we are all familiar with by believing that we are not good enough the way that we are.
Or that where we come from or where we find ourselves is too embarrassing or not normal enough to make the cut that society will deem as acceptable.
At some point we trade any authenticity for belonging at all costs.
We don’t believe that boldly owning our battle scars could possibly be as effective or as powerful as sweeping them under the rug and shamefully hiding their existence.
And in the end we are left with nothing.
We don’t even feel accepted or like we belong.
It was all for nothing.
We are void of connection to self and others and we have no idea why or how to get back up again.
But we can, and we do.
And when you’re ready to reach out, you will be introduced and welcomed and loved on in a realm that you might not have believed actually existed.
It is one full of people who are welcoming and loving and wiling to connect.
These people are like us.
They desire real, raw, meaty, relationships that have only one requirement:
We come as we are.
So if you’re new here please know that you are accepted and you belong somewhere.