It didn't take me long to noticed that I was different then all the other kids in my school growing up. Standing next to my peers I felt like I was standing next to mountains. I never really fit in, not really. I remember having my lunch thrown around the play ground. I remember having knots in my stomach when I would have to go to school. The teasing and criticism were tossed around like a ball in the game of 4 square. Everyone had to take a swipe and it hurt. After school I came home and would be mean to my younger siblings as a way to cope with the frustration. What my Mom must have felt knowing that I was being treated this way! It took a while for her to figure out what was really going on as well.
I didn't know why being smaller than all my classmates meant until the teasing started. I was made to feel like I should be ashamed of who I was and that being small was a handicap. It really became unbearable. I remember putting my head down on the desk and crying. Other times I tried to carry on with my day like those words didn't mean anything. What I didn't realize was the wall I was building around me This wall has been around me for over 30 years! My mother tried to lift me up by saying good things come in small packages. All I could think was I wish someone would package me up and send me away.
This wall would surround me as I grew and went to high school and college. This feeling of not belonging. Sometimes I would get the courage to stand on this wall and fight! But, I was always defeated and retreating back inside. I am pretty sure I have had depression all my life and the cruelty of others just fueled the flames.
Critics followed me all my life. Some I even came to call friends. As an adult I still feel like this little girl sometimes. There are people who have tried to tear me down and tell me all the ways I am wrong or not perfect. Some just stopped talking to me one day or stopped coming over. A few ripped me to shreds verbally and emotionally. I still feel judged and tiny. I couldn't figure out why I was so down on myself and insecure. Then I realized it was because it was like I took each of these criticisms and made a collage in my mind. The tittle would be something like "All that is wrong with me."Anytime anything happened it became a trigger. Just thinking about what someone thinks about my messy house or that I still can't keep up with other people can send me into a downward spiral. When I am feeling this way I am really saying help, I feel overwhelmed or lost. Finding someone you can trust and talk to is very important to begin to figure things out and get help and support. It has only been the last few years that I really feel that I can open up again. I can share what I have gone through and be a comfort to others.
Good things do come in small packages, especially jewelry! More than this though, is that I am a daughter of God. I am not defined by what others see. I am not defined by what others say. Words of any kind cannot define me unless I let them penetrate my heart. Often we let someone's judgment of us have power to define us. Words only have the power we let them. I am only beginning to learn how powerful it is to believe, truly, believe that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father. I have felt so much hurt and confusion for so long. But now I am focusing on me and my relationship with God. Who am I to him? If I pray and listen he tells me exactly who I am and I can feel his love anytime I want to! I have been reading and searching for what others can't tell me. You have been given things that is unique to you and the path you must take. I truly believe that!
I am still peeling away layers to break down this wall I have created. I have been thinking a lot about if where I am going in my life is the right path. What do I feel is my call? This is not a quick or easy discovery. It is an eye opening experience to see how much you have held onto all your life. Peel away those layers one by one. One layer is being honest with yourself. Another layer could be taking the time to find out who you are. Another could be things that happened in the past or fears you have about the future. The point is you just start realizing that you are complex and deeper than you think you are.
Learn the art of not caring what other people say even if you may feel isolated for a while. Recognize when you are being unkind to yourself. We all do it! We can all recognize it for the lie that it is. A tree does not change being a tree if it is carved into. These alterations cannot change the make up of what is once was. It is still a tree. Like each of us, it has a story to tell and it can stand strong in any weather. I could let the very definition of mental health measure my worth as a person and carve a negative self image. By the worlds standards I am failing in many ways. There is something wrong with me. I don't fit a healthy person's definition of life but I am living life aren't I? Labels like "lazy', "unhappy", "stupid", "crazy" are like being put in a box of sorts. We think this is where you fit or this is where you belong. How silly our society can be and how easily influenced. To truly believe its okay to be who you are, you have to live it and love it! Live a life you love! You can!
Are you okay with who you are? Do you let what people say influence your perception of yourself? Maybe you need to dig deep to uncover where your insecurities lie? There is really no timeline or formula to follow. It is personal and healing takes time. You just have to willing to dig deep and really want answers. It can happen and you can be happy because it is your choice. You are much more than you realize. Find out what you are made of and where you are going. You are enough and you can keep growing whatever your limitations. For we are only truly limited by our thoughts and actions. I want to end with this quote:
“Stand a little taller and work a little harder and value a little greater"-President Gordon B. Hinckley