Have you ever been around someone who made you feel incredibly uncomfortable? No matter what you said or how you tried to connect and please that person; your attempts were never quite good enough? Maybe it was a teacher, coach, or family member…but this person made you feel like there was something innately wrong with you at your very core?
I recently had a run-in with an adult who made me feel incredibly small. He was correcting me on the most minute of details…speaking over me…cutting me off and so on. This interaction took me rip roaring back to some unhealthy childhood relationships–relationships where I was constantly walking on eggshells. I was able to exit the presence of this person relatively quickly because clearly he was a bit unstable. I can now recognize–he was trying to throw me off balance to bring about his own stability.
I remember the day Lela Serapin spit in my face on the playground. We were standing near the metal dome-shaped soccer ball climby-thing. I remember standing there stunned wondering what in the world I had done to receive such treatment and why in the world she was so angry? I think we were talking about our backgrounds…and I shared a bit about my families’ faith…I might have uttered the name of Jesus. What I quickly discovered was her background and the offense she took of his claim to be more than a man. Whatever the words spoken that day…she was cut deep and I was devastated. Not only because my face was covered in humiliation and saliva…but also because I never intended her harm.
This blog stems from a deep desire in me to not add to the negative voices in the universe. The voices whispering, “You are not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, creative enough…simply…you are not enough.” I hope to communicate a strategy I have adopted that has sent me to a different place with my children, friends and family. It has quieted some of the critical voices and shifted my semantics to speak life and love in to those around me.
Not exactly a title that most Christian magazines want plastered across their pages. So I won’t be waiting by the mailbox for a request for further writing opportunities from their editors! I have always promised to be honest and the reality is…life with God is tougher than you think.
Confession: I’ve stopped trying to heal.
I came home from Uganda in April…shell-shocked and in survival mode. We let down our defenses and I immediately got to work…doing my best big girl job to heal. I did all the right things…went to my counselor within less than 24 hours of arriving on US soil. We took a month at the beach to adjust to the western culture and to quietly unlock the grief box. And I did pretty well. I grew angry and shook my fist at God, I doubted and questioned, and then grew sad–unashamedly sad, and the stages of grief rapidly unfolded in textbook fashion.
Most of the boys I dated in high school were super smart. I was never able to take the AP classes they had on their schedules. In fact I took two study halls to be able to complete all of the work assigned to me on a daily basis. One of my old beys graduated salutatorian, something I had to spell check because oh my goodness, absolutely. no. idea. One of the other smart boys I dated was looking at Duke and other fine institutions for college while I was praying my SAT scores would land me somewhere…anywhere. The boys I dated grew up to be men who became doctors and lawyers and such. I’ll never forget one night when “Eli” gazed in to my eyes and said he never dreamed he would date a girl as beautiful as me–and I quickly responded I could not believe I would ever date a boy as smart as he. I doubt either of us left very satisfied from this awkward label making session.
Has anyone ever made you feel stupid? Or extremely small?
As an adult in those circumstances, I roll my eyes on the inside. I realize the person making me feel small is probably hurting far worse than they made me feel. I mentally place my hand on my shoulder and dust it off. But sometimes that person is from our past and our memories are more inked in. The words are on a permanent feedback loop. Or sometimes, like me, you suppress those mean messages right up until they randomly fall out of your head. Continue reading