I am pretty honest about the fact that I have never “belonged.” I was the rebellious teen, the “backslidden” Christian, the fallen virgin.
The most difficult thing I have ever done is learning to love myself. It is sometimes a painful process that forces me to face my insecurities.
I am discovering that my differences make me interesting. My inability to fit in makes me uniquely me. I am profoundly quirky, a beautiful renegade. My style, my honesty, and my vulnerabilities are exactly what make me perfectly me.
I do not belong in a small-minded world. I long for a world of tolerance, love, acceptance, and respect. I am creating that world for myself.
The family within my 2,000 square feet is open, honest and loving. I created that.
The friends and family that share our lives are accepting and kind. I have chosen them.
I experience a fair share of raised eyebrows and sideways looks, some of them more subtle than others. I dress too young for my age. I wear my tattoos proudly. For the better part of a year, I had a bright blue faux-hawk, and now I am rocking platinum blonde.
When the receptionist started with, “that’s an interesting outfit,” I ignored it as a weird backhanded compliment. When she continued with, “where in the world did you get that shirt?” I assumed she was clueless when choosing her words.
When she went on to say, “that explains it. I wondered what was going on. I thought it was some sort of mid-life crisis,” I quickly checked in for my appointment. And when she ended with, “you used to be such a nice mom,” her words barely registered.
As I waited for my appointment, I replayed the exchange. I simply couldn’t believe the ignorance and judgment she had displayed. I became angry that I should hear such ridiculous comments when simply checking in with a receptionist.
When I needed to return a few days later, I confronted her. I had not been able to shake off her comments. I couldn’t let it go. I was nervous about a confrontation, but I was determined not to be a victim of her ridiculous character assessment. I needed to stand up for myself.
So I did.
I told her that her words were out of line. She should have never let those thoughts pass her lips. They were hurtful, insensitive, and incredibly ignorant. I believe I actually used the word “bullshit”.
I was annoyed with myself when I showed too much of my vulnerability, telling her that I preferred the company of tattooed people who live outside the “normal” bounds of society over the company of small-minded people.
I wanted to be invincible and badass, but my softer side was just under the surface of my bravado.
She began to sweat and I fed off her fear. With wide eyes, she tried to apologize and tell me that she had not meant anything by her comments.
“I should never have to face ignorance and judgment when I come to a place of business,” I said.
I did not hug it out like she wanted. I wouldn’t let her off that easily. I wanted her to be uncomfortable with the consequences of her words.
I was proud of myself, but I also thought I was going to cry on my way home. I didn’t understand my conflicting emotions, until Hubby summed it up in a text message.
“You stood up for yourself… where for years you were judged and just took it. You have never really stood up for yourself face to face with someone. You should cry! Good for you!”
In that moment, that one silly woman represented every face that has ever looked at me with judgment. Her words were the ones that had cut me from some of my earliest memories. She was the embodiment of every person who claimed to love me, yet judged me the harshest of all.
And I stood up to her. I refused to accept her criticism, in spite of my fear.
Even the most “badass” among us is afraid.
Don’t be afraid of your vulnerability. Show your fears. Wear your scars. Every time that you do, you give power and courage to each of us who have ever felt alone or afraid.
You are beautiful. You are loved. You are worthy.
We all are.