This week I was having one of my little sob-fests. It’s been an emotional week and I decided it was time for me to have a time to cry and get over it. What was my final trigger? Disney’s Pirate Fairy. Yep. One year ago we bought that movie by accident because I forgot to decline it with our Disney Movie Club membership. When I opened the package I laughed, “Pirate Fairy??? With three boys?? Yeah…maybe I’ll give it away.” Well, we ended up watching it and it was really good. The boys loved it. I loved it. We watched it over and over and over and over…
It was early May. My lemon tree was blooming. The mornings were cool and crisp. The air smelled amazing. We had just begun to discuss moving across the country. Hope was in the air. New beginnings were on the horizon. Life was good. It was exciting. And we watched A LOT of the Pirate Fairy.
Fast-forward to this week…
I haven’t slept for days. I have showered one time in a week. I can’t drive. I can’t breathe. This week…this year has been a real challenge. Hearing the intro to Pirate Fairy was just more than I could handle. I began to sob. Hearing that song transported me to a time before my surgery, before Little Man’s surgeries, before prescriptions, before tests…to a time of hope. I was packing for our move to that song. I was playing games with good friends to that movie. I was making delicious lattes and having coffee with friends to that movie. I was listening to little boys run in the sprinklers to that movie. It brings back so many happy memories.
Then it hit me that this was the same issue I had this last Christmas. Every time I’d hear the music that plays during the DVD menu for Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns it would transport me to December of 2010. I was pregnant with Middle Man. Big Man had just turned 2. We had just moved into a great, new apartment that we LOVED and I unpacked while he played with his toys and that movie ran. Big Man loved Frosty. Instead of feeling happy, it made me feel a little depressed.
As I began to sob I unloaded 5 1/2 years worth of memories onto Josh. I cried about how Big Man and I had so much one-on-one time. I remembered how we would sit down at the pool at our first apartment in Riverside…just the two of us. He was only Little Man’s age and his legs are just the same! I remembered really fun times playing Nintendo with good friends in one of our apartments. I dumped out all of the wonderful memories of our home in Rancho. Our lemon tree, friends we made, church, game nights, Bible Study, nightly neighborhood walks. And NO DISEASE!
One particular memory I had was that of two close friends of ours. I remember the first time I saw them. “They were, like, the ‘cool kids,'” I sobbed to Josh, “I mean, they led a Bible Study! I didn’t think they’d want to be our friends. They were so good at everything and knew everyone. But they became our friends! They will never know how thankful I am that they became our friends!” I just kept crying…and then I started laughing at how ridiculous that sounded. Now that I’ve been friends with them for a few years I know that they’re not “too cool” for anyone. They’re some of the most kind and welcoming people I’ve ever met and I’ve enjoyed our friendship so much!
All of this led me to a great realization. I have been living the grand majority of my life feeling like I’m not “good enough.” I don’t mean in some spiritual way…but in a tangible way. I’m not smart enough, talented enough, pretty enough, funny enough… I’m not enough. If I’ve ever come across as confident then I must be good at one thing: pretending. Inside, I am terrified.
I’m terrified of being judged. I’m terrified of not being liked. I’m afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and accidentally hurting someone’s feelings. I’m afraid of getting in trouble. When I get a phone call or text from my boss, I’m afraid I’m going to be fired. I’m afraid of screwing up my kids. I’m afraid that I’m going to disappoint my family. I’m so afraid. I’m afraid that I will let everyone down.
In school I knew I wasn’t as good as everyone else. I wasn’t the best athlete, musician, student… I wasn’t as smart as my classmates. I felt like an idiot all the time. I wanted to have fun and to be silly, but I felt like everyone thought I was a total airhead. I was just easily excited! So at some point, I stopped. I thought I needed to be smarter…calmer…more thoughtful. Then in college I felt like I didn’t know who I was. I wanted to fit in. I watched the “cool kids” and saw only differences between them and myself. They were funnier. They were better looking. They were more confident. They knew all the right things to say. I mean, they even took pretty “ugly” pictures. I cannot do that. I told myself that I wasn’t good enough to fit in. I needed to either change, or just accept that I wasn’t going to fit. I eventually found friends that I blended well with. I felt loved, accepted, and encouraged. We were all flawed. It was amazing. But it was only with them. If I met new people, I retreat into myself.
Then I moved across the country…twice. “I’m not good enough to be her friend. I have absolutely nothing to offer. She will spend time with me and I will bore her. She will think I’m stupid…or a know-it-all…or we just won’t click. I’m going to talk too much…or not enough…or just say the wrong thing.” Looking back I probably appeared stand-offish to other people…but it wasn’t because I was stuck up or snobby…but because I was afraid of not being accepted.
That’s the sticking point.
I have been so afraid that I may be pushing other people away. I have been so afraid of being not good enough, that I haven’t befriended the person who maybe needed someone the most. I’ve been so scared of being rejected, talked about behind my back, disliked, and unwanted that I have probably made others feel exactly what I was afraid of feeling. (How could you be so stupid?! Is what naturally goes through my brain at that moment…)
In some ways it has been helpful to me. I remember being a freshman in high school and there was one senior guy in particular who would harass me during my gym class. I’m sure he did it to a lot of girls. When he asked me to come to his house for lunch sometime I laughed. Yeah right. I’m not a complete moron. I know that there’s no way on this planet that you’re actually interested in me. I know that you’re just trying to humiliate me. See? That was beneficial!
Why am I like this? I’d love to be able to say something profound. I’d love to have some amazing insight…but I don’t. I don’t know why I’m like this. I doubt I was born this way…but life happens, ya know? I don’t know when it started or how. Maybe it was gradually over time. In fact, I’m sure that it was. How do I change it?? Well, I don’t know that either. Over the last several months a woman, with whom I’ve become close, has said so many wonderful and encouraging things to me. She has complimented my heart, my brain, my spirit. She has told me all of these good things about myself and I’ve really had a hard time believing her…accepting what she says to be true. I appreciate her compliments, but when she says, “you’re such a quick learner! You really absorb information!” I think, “No I’m not. You should meet so-and-so. She’s a lot smarter than I am…” When she asked me if I’d ever consider going back to school and pursuing my doctorate like I’d originally intended I thought, “I can’t do that now. I’d never be accepted.”
I don’t think the answer is showering me with compliments. I think that is ridiculous. But I would appreciate some prayer…and I’m going to begin to pray and ask God what He would like to teach me through this. I’d like to tell Him that I often feel like Moses– “but I’m not a good speaker…I can’t do it. Aaron would be way better than I would be at this job…I’m not qualified.” I’d like to ask him to strengthen those areas which need strengthening…not with false arrogance and showy confidence. But the confidence that I know I was created by a God who doesn’t make mistakes…by a God who started a good work in me and will be faithful to complete it.