Writing a blog about your (Lifetime movie drama level) life leaves you raw and open to criticism and rejection. Here’s to facing fears.
When it comes to lists, I can be a little compulsive.
If you know me at all you know my love for lists and crossing things off of them. Wedding planning makes for a lot of potential lists. So today, I started making them. They started out harmless enough. Decorations and supplies needed for the ceremony and reception. What needed to be ordered, bought, and made between now and then. But then I began a list that became potentially destructive.
The list of all the things I needed to do and change about myself before saying “I do”.
All the things that would make me the most beautiful and envy of all other brides on my wedding day. It began harmless enough, a haircut, eyebrow threading, typical pre-wedding “grooming”, and quickly delineated into all the things I needed to change about my body. Lose a few pounds here, tighten that up, make sure this was toned, and that didn’t jiggle. It didn’t just become a list of all the things I needed to change. It became a list of all the things I hated about my body. I considered buying a Groupon for laser liposuction.
Then I had a “what the hell” moment. I ripped the list up.
What’s even more disturbing is my list is not the first list a soon to be bride has made of this sort. These types of lists are, dare I say it, encouraged. Is there any other time in someone’s life they are so highly encouraged to not just improve but change or alter their appearance?
Your wedding day is the day captured in photographs and displayed for the rest of your life. So sure become a size 0 (no hate to those who are naturally small) and drop down to a weight you can not maintain in a healthy lifestyle. It’s just one day.
I’m calling bull.
I think wanting to look and feel healthy and beautiful on my wedding day is a perfectly fine desire. Even hoping for this in everyday life is completely okay.
Being encouraged and wanting to look like anything other than myself, however, is not. Will didn’t ask me to marry him because of my pant size, weight or anything else. People are not coming to my wedding based on my appearance.
I didn’t make that list because I wanted to look and feel healthy. I made it because I wanted other people to think I looked beautiful. Because I wanted others to be jealous of me.
How sick is that?
I considered charging down a path of destructive self talk, thought, and behavior with nothing but insecurity at the core. I want to look perfect on my wedding day. Not because I think it will make me feel more beautiful but because I feel like that’s the expectation (real or perceived).
And it’s not just my wedding day.
I want to appear perfect always.
I fear that if I am not or at least do not appear perfect then people will leave. I fear rejection. If you’re perfect then you can’t be rejected. Yes, it’s a control thing too, still rooted in fear though. Unfortunately, because of my upbringing and the circumstances of the first 14 years of my life it seems this fear has been confirmed. I was not a perfect child. In size or behavior. If I had been, maybe my dad wouldn’t have said those cruel things about my appearance. Maybe if I had been perfect my dad wouldn’t have chosen to have an affair. Maybe he wouldn’t have taken my mom. Maybe my mom would’ve left before he had the chance to harm her.
Obviously, this isn’t rational thinking.
Unfortunately, striving for perfection can bring out the worst. In myself and in others. I had little to no control over the majority my childhood circumstances. The manipulation regarding appearance in my house at the mouth of my father ran rampant. Yet, hearing my mom criticize her appearance and weight helped feed my ideas about my own appearance. And eventually, my behavior.
I hate to admit that I too often let fear win. I give into a sick desire for perfection out of fear. Because if I am not perfect then what good am I? People can just move on to the next person.
I forget that I am unique. I have things to offer that others don’t. Others have things to offer that I don’t. That without acknowledging my own talents and shortcomings I cannot see how others around me are unique also. That often, someone else’s strengths will be my weakness and vice versa. That we can compliment each other in these ways. That rejection is at times an unfortunate part of life. That imperfection is the reality. Everything else that’s been covered up, touched up, made up, fixed up, trimmed down and beyond is fake.
If I take a good hard look I can tell you people have loved me better at my worst than when I was trying to be perfect. Although perfection is what we are sold, it isn’t actually what we’re looking for. It’s not what I’m looking for at least. I am made perfect through Christ alone and this requires acknowledgment of all my shortcomings and and imperfections. What a relief it isn’t actually up to me. His perfect acceptance is the only thing from which I will never have to fear rejection.
So, for my wedding day and all the days before and after I will hope for excellence and expect imperfection. Health in all areas will be the goal, and there will be grace waiting when shortcomings occur. I think health sometimes must begin with a grounded level of realism.
Yes, I still want to look and feel beautiful on my wedding day.
I want the whole dang thing to be beautiful. I think that will happen regardless any imperfection. My wedding day isn’t actually about me and my appearance or the level of perfection around me. It is about Will and I coming together in marriage and what that union represents. That representation would be cheapened if it were covered with an air of fake perfection.
So here is my invitation for my wedding (pictures for many of you, sorry), this blog, and it’s January so, 2016: let’s explore this story that is mine to tell, with all it’s heartbreak, scars, flaws and incredible amounts of imperfection. Let’s see where the mess is made beautiful and the shattered pieces into something new.
Psalm 139:14 ” I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works: my soul knows it very well.”