Somewhere along the way, I developed the idea that I was less.
Less than beautiful.
Less than capable.
Less than desirable.
I don't know exactly when the thoughts began to occur or where exactly they stem from. What I do know is that they were and are there.
I began to imagine that people only saw my acne scarred face, my greasy hair.
I began to imagine that when I walked, my movements were disgusting and awkward and that my running posture was nothing if not highly laughable.
I began to think that my speaking voice was annoyingly high pitched and my singing voice like nails on a chalkboard.
I began to think that I wasn't capable of successful completing everyday tasks, much less complicated endeavors.
I began to think that my needs, thoughts and feelings didn't matter. That they imposed to much on others.
If I think about it I can try to pinpoint certain phrases I've heard, from people near and dear, and from people, who for one moment had more impact than they will ever realize. Maybe there were phrases I heard once in jest, and magnified in my head. Maybe there were phrases repeated to me-whether in jest or not.
Regardless, I began to try to change my body, my movements.
I began to feel less important than those around me and began to minimize the discomfort I thought I was causing others.
My speaking voice grew quieter and quieter. Some days it is barely audible and my husband frustratedly asks me to repeat myself.
My singing voice grew dim, a mere echo of the joy I used to (harmoniously or not) release into the world.
My walk grew more stiff. My body stiffened, trying to stifle any movements that would cause laughter or disdain. My posture suffered and my eyes grew accustomed to the view of my feet.
I let others take over tasks for me, believing that I couldn't do them properly myself, or that I would take to long to complete them.
I began to refuse drink and food when offered, internally reasoning that to agree would be to much of a inconvenience for my host. When sharing food, I always chose the smallest pieces, thinking that someone else deserved the bigger portions.
When being treated to dinner, I agonized over choosing the least expensive meal I would enjoy.
Only with my truest and dearest friends could I be my whole, genuine self. And even then, I struggled to come out of the shell I had become.
Today, it all changes. For sometime, I have been struggling (with the support of my husband) to overcome these beliefs. To be a strong woman, not just under the guise of one.
Today, at a church gathering I was prompted to pray and ask God how he sees me.And so I prayed.
And as always, God answered with the perfect response.
My daughter, echoed in my head
My daughter, my daughter, my daughter reverberated through out my body, and to the deepest parts of my soul.
I am His daughter.
He created me.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am beautiful and worthy, because of Him. Because of the blood shed by the only one who is the Holy One.
I have a place to stand, with all of God's other children. I can freely stand among them.
I am that me that He has made.