When you don't like who you are.

2:44 PM

 


   It feels so strange, almost foreign, to be on such a blogging roll lately....as opposed to the stretch of April-May which felt particularly dry and empty.

  I'm sure it feels weird to you too, "Why is she blogging SO much? Doesn't she have anything better to do?!"  And I don't really know why either.  Trust me, I still have laundry and kids and berry picking and so on and so forth, so I'm not even sure where I'm finding the extra time.  I mean, I know why I didn't blog much before, but I'm not sure why it's all gushing forth like Old Faithful now.  I know that general busy-ness was a big part of the reason for the lack of blogging earlier, but...if I'm honest, an even bigger part was due to something much more.

   I went through a really low, dark time this spring and it's not something I hope to revisit any time soon.  And I am not writing this for pity, truly.  I'm not even sure why I am writing about it.  Maybe because I just finally feel like I can write about it, and so I do, because that's kind of what I do.  I write.  It's the way I process things, the way I make sense out of the hopeless jumble that is also known as my head.
 
   Sometimes when I haven't written for a really long time, it starts to feel like everything inside of me that needs to be written about is trying to escape. And I'm never sure when or how that will take form, and so that's a little scary.  It also feels like it wants to eat me.  And that's not a great feeling so.......I write.

   So take it for what you will, or even better, take it for nothing at all but just what it is.  Things are not always as they appear.  People who seem really happy are not always just that.  Sometimes the most confidant of characters, is the one shrinking daily underneath the Mount Everest of their insecurities until it threatens to swallow them whole.

I once confided in a friend a little bit about my insecurities.

   Not the deepest, darkest, completely-freak-you-out stuff, but just the surfacey stuff.  And even THAT surprised her.  She could not hardly believe that I would ever struggle with insecurity.  And it left me feeling even more hopeless than before.

   I was left wondering....why?  Why do I seem impervious to that particular struggle?  What is it about me that makes people (wrongly) assume that I wouldn't battle insecurity as ferociously as the next person?  Is it because I'm outgoing?  Because I talk a lot?  Because I blog?

*Silently curses for being extroverted*

   I'm not even entirely sure I AM extroverted.  But I supposed by most definitions I am.  But that doesn't mean I always like it.  It boxes you in, and shuts you up tight in a narrow definition of what everyone assumes you to be.....happy, bubbly, confidant, secure.  Always sure of who you are and where you are going, and how exactly to get there.  Living the life you've always dreamed of and perhaps even a little bit more.

   Is that really the way it seems?  Just because my personality is outgoing, it makes it seem as if I am invincible to pain?  Struggle?  Loneliness? Jealousy? Fear? Comparison?

Spoiler alert:  I'M NOT.

    Sometimes I feel as if extroverts suffer more than anyone, because they have that much more to lose.  By constantly placing themselves out there and extending themselves to other people, they greatly benefit in the areas of communication and relationships, but they also experience great pain in miscommunication and broken relationships.

   Confidant people are not infallible.  They fall just as hard, and just as often as anyone else, but they get back up again and try again.

   Sometimes I wish I wasn't who I am.  I wish I was more quiet, meek and mild.  Seen and not heard.  The type of girl who holds her tongue, and never finds herself at the center of a debate or discussion.  She keeps her opinions to herself, her tongue in check, and never finds herself desperately wishing she could eat her words, because they never leave in the first place.

  That person is liked by EVERYONE, because they never offend anyone.  That person is perceived as sweet as honey, delicate as a rose, and gentle as a fawn, because they never shout, trample, or grasp.  They never barge.  They never protest.  They never......anything.

And I find myself wishing......desperately and achingly.....to be more like that.  If only I wasn't me!

   But I'm not.  Oh, I'm far from that.  And I know some women who are just what I described and more, and nothing makes me shrivel up into a pile of self-loathing quicker than being in their presence.  I just feel like a big, lumbering, oaf around them.  Not graceful enough, not dainty or tiny enough, not prim and proper enough, not domestic enough, not mild-mannered enough, not nurturing enough........everything about me just screams "TOO MUCH!"  Too much volume, too much opinion, too much restlessness in my bones.

Just too much of me.

   It was this, (and other things that I won't mention) that had me in a rather dark place.  Hence the lack of blogging.   When I find myself sinking down into that pit, I start to run out of air a little, and my writing dries up quicker than a wet towel on a hot July day, and I just have nothing left to offer.

   And while I can't say that those feelings/that struggle is all behind me, I CAN say that I am seeing some progress in the battle.  I am taking it day by day and step by step and at times when I feel it closing in all around me I just cry "Jesus."  I recite verses if I can think of any and if my brain is much too muddled for that, I sing.  And getting in the Word helps too.  And little by little, I climb back up out of that pit, (or rather, am pulled out) and I can begin to breathe again.

   And before I go, I feel I must mention this......back around the beginning of May, someone (an angel, really) took the time to email me, saying they thought I seemed depressed.  They then proceeded to share from their own experiences, and offer some of the most helpful tips for dealing with it I have ever come across.  I remember feeling so many simultaneous emotions when receiving that email.  Surprise, embarrassment, fear, and then.....relief.  At least I wasn't completely invisible.  Because I suppose I had gotten really good at hiding my truest self from all of those around me.  Well, except for Randy.  I can never really hide from him for long, and he knows more about me than anyone else ever will.  But this was from someone else.....someone who had an objective point of view and could share their learned advice and wisdom and.....it was just priceless.

   I am still not quite sure where I would be, had that person not taken the time to email me.  I hope that I would still be making progress, (thanks to God not giving up on me) but I'm not sure if I would be so honest with myself today, or if I would be at all brave enough to talk about it.  Well, I'm not quite sure if I'm brave yet, but I'm at least writing about it.

   And I write because I think that it thrives when we keep in it the shadows.  I think that's where it lives and breathes and grows, and I think that it shrivels up a bit when you bring it out into the light.  So, that's why I guess.

   Perhaps there is someone in your life that you are supposed to be that email Angel to.   Someone that you see going through a similar struggle that you yourself have faced, or someone dealing with someone you have a little experience with.  SPEAK UP.  You have no idea of the lifesaver you may be tossing out with your words.  It may be coming at a moment when they would not even be able to ask for help, or even know that they should be asking, and that is the beauty of you just offering.

  And one last thing....






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17 comments

  1. Its good for me to hear this. I feel like I live in a world of self doubt with no confidence at all. I thought by the time I turn 30 I would have my act together. Thank God for His grace.
    Tori

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  2. This is an incredible post. You are a seriously gifted writer! Honestly, I am pretty sure that everyone struggles with this to some extent. I know I do and being more of an introvert myself I struggle with wanting to be more talkative and outgoing. So i guess it's just learning to be content in who God has made us (easier said than done :))Also, I LOVE that quote at the end!
    Emily

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  3. This is a great post! I'm 43 and making progress in learning to know myself. Depression, the medicated kind, is part of my story. I try to share my story with others so they know they aren't alone and also as tribute to the women who have gone before me. It hasn't always been acceptable in Christian circles to be depressed and need meds. While I am not openly criticized for it I know others have been. I feel like I am benefiting from their hardship and going before me.

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  4. I resonate so much with the paragraph where you talk about feeling like "too much." I know that feeling. Too loud, too awkward, too snarky, too opinionated, too emotional. And those are the surface ones. Some cut much deeper. Thanks for expressing that so honestly.

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  5. I've never forgotten what you shared in--a Sunday school class I think--that the messages (lies) women are told are that they are either too much or not enough. I think of that so often. Such a shaming message and so easy to pick up on and believe, especially, as you said, in the presence of someone who seems to have the right quantities all around. Bless you for putting words to what's going on in your heart.

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  6. such good thoughts...I totally agree. thanks so much for sharing!
    www.chelsyrenee.com

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  7. Aww, Shelley just makes me want to hug you! I wish we could be chatting at a coffee shop somewhere...I love how you share what is on your heart, you are never too much. I could listen to some of your animated tales right about now!
    Jewel

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  8. So so true about the feeling "too much!" I love how you put that; it's not a nice feeling. I've also heard it related to women and weight: we're always either too fat, or too skinny! Either someone to be pitied, or someone to be envied!

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  9. I love this, Shelley! I tend to share only the good feeling and thoughts with others and try to bury all of the sad and lonely and less-than-desirable feelings. I do find, however, that when people I admire share their hearts, including their insecurities, I view them differently - but in a good way. They suddenly become more relatable and brokenly beautiful.

    This world needs a perfect mixture of dainty and volume, of silent and loud. I am all for ending the stereotype of what a "beautiful woman" is. It is time we as a culture realize that "beautiful femininity" doesn't have a single definition, but is vast and very different.

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  10. I too have always thought I was too much. You could have written that paragraph about me. I always had it in my mind that the proverbs 31 lady was always meek and mild. And maybe she is/was. But I know that isn't me. But 1 morning, before Christ my Savior the words sunk in that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God made me. He gave me the personality that I have. And while there are parts of my humor and personality that need to die to Him daily, He still made me... "too much" and I am learning that that is ok.

    I wish I could meet you in person. I think we would be friends. :)

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  11. Me too. Me too is about all I can say. The curse of the extrovert, yes, how well I know. I think I'm gonna go read this again! Thanks for taking the time and effort to write this out.

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  13. What you wrote about the need to write and how it just builds up and eats at you until you do. I feel that too. I am a coward when it comes to honesty and such transparency... b/c my posts that share from the heart like this one are usually protected posts.

    I have went through a really lonely season in my life and it has been hard. I'm the quiet introvert who has zero grace and I am completely socially awkward. In fact, if you meet me for the first time I will probably apologize for this at least 3x in our introductions. Always self conscious... It doesn't matter our natural role in relationship, I think we all look over the fence and think it is greener. Woman need to especially stop comparing and start encouraging each others unique qualities. I love our blogging circle b/c those ladies do that.

    I went through Beth Moore's Bible Study "So Long Insecurity" and it really helped me to address the source of a lot of my insecurities. I still struggle. I like to love well, but struggle on how to let others love me well, including God.

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  14. I stumbled upon this via facebook and found myself nodding along with everything you said! I can definitely relate and was encouraged by your story! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. I love reading your blog. You are interesting and a gifted writer and just a fantastic person. But what makes me truly love your blog is your openness. I am only fourteen, but I so appreciate your honesty. I know how hard it is to really put yourself out there. (I have a fear of rejection.) But you do it, no matter what some people might think. I'm still figuring this whole "life thing" out, and it frustrates me to no end when adults can't relate to me or brush off my current crisis as a "typical teenager thing." Whether you meant to or not, you can relate to teenagers too, not just mothers. :) You don't pretend to have it all together. You show that life is beautiful and messy, not perfect. You show that you love your kids, but they aren't perfect. You show that you love being a mother, but you aren't perfect. Cheers to you! Your darling children won't be teenagers for quite awhile yet, but when they are, I know you're going to handle those years in a fantastic manner.
    Have the best day ever. :)

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  16. I was having one of "those" days with a mountain of silly feelings and insecurities and if onlys, and my mind went to this post of yours. I read it and now I am filled with a new courage and peace.

    Thank you.

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  17. Seems many struggle with this battle between not good enough or too much. Comparing breeds insecurities. A new book by Jenni Catron called 'Clout' has been an encouragement to me - maybe would be to you also. :) thank you for being courageous and sharing your struggle - you're not alone!

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