I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time. Quite some time indeed – because it’s going to be me putting my most vulnerable parts out there. For all to judge.
But, it’s time.
On Saturday I had a 12-mile run in preparation for my upcoming half-marathon. I spent most of the run thinking about this post…thinking about how I would say what I need to say. How blunt would I be? How much would I put out there? How honest could I really get?
Here it goes…
It’s true that everything in our life prepares us for something else. As my husband says, ‘You can’t just believe in God’s plan when everything is going well. If you believe in such a thing you have to believe the bad, the hurt, the ache is all preparing you for something else…something better.’
About four years ago a fellow adult referred to me as ‘just a fat, theatre chic.’ (Obviously this person was not a friend and yes, I’m shocked that adults would ever refer to each other in such juvenile ways.) I was 35 years old and it still cut like a knife. We’ll work backwards on that phrase…
Little did that person know…I am quite a strong proponent of being a woman and have fought against ‘chic’ stereotypes.
I am of Generation X. My mother and her generation fought for equal rights. It was impressed upon me from generations of strong women in my family that I should never take that lightly. Nor should I ever bring another woman down – society does enough of that. I should carry myself with dignity and grace, always – no matter what faced me.
Little did that person know…I have struggled with my creative identity for much of my life.
I was creative in a time and environment when creativity wasn’t well supported. Now, my parents did what they could – I’m positive of that. We were miles from a children’s theatre and art museums. I had books and my imagination. I spent hours playing amongst the trees, making up my own songs, being the star of my own show, and being…alone.
It took me a VERY long time to be comfortable with this love, with this passion. I didn’t know anyone who had this passion, I didn’t have occupational role models to look towards. I almost always felt out of place. I dreamed of being Meryl Streep at an early age – I didn’t want to be Debbie Gibson or Tiffany – I wanted depth. Even at family reunions, I am still just different. While I now see it as lovely – for much of my life I struggled with ‘who I am.’
Little did that person know…I have battled weight issues my entire life.
For real – all the years I’ve been alive. I eat healthy, I exercise, I get enough sleep. I’m still about the same size as I have always been. I once dropped a size – that’s when I was bartending all night long and eating about 400 calories per day. When I was in elementary my mom made most of my clothes. At the time I thought it was because we didn’t have much [money]. At the time I thought it was because she just loved to sew and create. At the time I thought it was because she wanted me to be able to be creative with my clothing.
Now I realize that it may have been those factors – but with age comes clarity. She didn’t make her clothes, she didn’t make my brother’s or my dad’s clothes. So the more likely answer? She didn’t want to see my heart break as I didn’t fit into yet another dress. Girls my size didn’t get cute clothes – in the mid-1980’s plus size girls wore plus size clothing. That clothing? Not flattering…not one bit. Her homemade clothes? Super cute…
It’s taken me a VERY long time to be marginally okay with my body. It’s evident I’m still not there. So, on that run on Saturday I cried. I cried because it still hurts. I cried because I still felt like the fat little 10 year old girl…even though I was at mile eight. I cried because those words, even at 36 still cut so deep.
Little did that person know…I have struggled with ‘just’ my entire life.
I wasn’t a stellar athlete.
I wasn’t the most beautiful.
I wasn’t gifted.
I wasn’t the most popular.
I wasn’t a party girl.
I wasn’t the smartest.
I wasn’t the star of the play.
I wasn’t ‘the catch.’
I wasn’t the the lead in the musical.
I was ‘just’ and at the risk of sounding like a whiner – just is tough. When you are just you don’t get invites to special programs and/or conferences. You don’t get awards and/or accolades. You don’t get extra help to get caught up. You don’t get free help or have the money/talent/time to receive extra help. At the same time – I recognize others would love to be just.
So, when you read my blog posts and you wonder…
…how I can be so calm
…where my insane levels of compassion comes from
…how I work to have an understanding of Tucker – and every other human
…why I continuously fight for equality and the ‘little guy’
…how it is that I cannot bring myself to yell at my child
…why I find it nearly impossible to say mean things, ever
Think about a chunky, spunky 10 year old who wanted nothing more that to be the most important to someone and the best at something.
That was me.
Evidently, that still is me.
And now in retrospect, I understand it all. Without experiencing that pain and heartache I would not be as vigilant about advocating for Tucker. I would not be so concerned with him feeling valuable, useful, and amazing. I would not feel his pain way, way down in my heart. I could not be all the things I need to be for him – because all of those things come from my own hurt, my own sadness, my own feelings of inadequacies.
So, if you are hurting – just know that you are being prepared for something great, something wonderful.
I was and still am.
I was being prepared for motherhood – and not just any ‘ol motherhood. This fat theatre chick was being prepared to be the sidekick to a most remarkable human being, Tucker.