I mean, I think we all know by now… that I affectionately call myself, “that girl” and that I always have.
Whenever people would roll their eyes at me as I fumbled through security at the airport.
Every time a cop pulled me over and I cried.
DEFINITELY when I neglected to put oil in my car for a year and a half and killed my engine.
Let’s just say, I make it easy for people to make fun of me. I used to remember every joke, thinking there had to be truth in it. I probably should not stand out so much, right? Give so much material to work with every time I take a step in this world.
SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ME.
Back story; I am forever a recovering perfectionist. You can read here about what happened when I stopped praising perfectionism and the truth of how it affected me here.
I thought that surely, a perfect person would not give anybody a reason to make a joke out of their life. So I shall strive to be a person that is never deemed “that girl” again.
Fast forward to two years ago, when I finally took the plunge and went to therapy (I highly recommend it) when I realized that while things I do and say might be flawed - I WAS NOT CREATED FLAWED.
Say that out loud, on repeat. Right now… please :) (If it is my blog, do I have permission to be demanding)?
Now a lot came out of that realization, but one great thing came… I embraced that I will always march to the beat of my own drum and it will always look different than the person next to me. Different than the twenty people, the hundred people, the five hundred people around me and it birthed a celebration in me.
A celebration that not only am I created so uniquely, but EVERYONE else is too!
I remember laying in bed in an area of San Diego called Golden Hill, in a house with women that celebrated people by allowing them to live out WHO they are, and contemplating the diversity of all of us. It is hard for me to articulate, especially since I am such a visual person. So I will tell you exactly what I would imagine… I would just envision the CEO going to work to manage Southwest Airlines. Paint an image in my mind of someone that goes from running an operation, overseeing thousands of individuals to create transportation for people like us to travel. Then envision these people being transported and realize they are community leaders, preschool teachers, janitors, children and a thousand other things. That they do to contribute and best of all – they are influencers.
Influence has always existed, we have just main streamed it and told everyone it looks like a particular thing. Think about it though, who has had the most influence in your life?
I bet it is your teacher, your parents, your mentor, your Pastor, your boss, siblings, nanny, Rabi… so many people are likely to have assisted you to sit where you are and usher you into a place in life to read THIS.
Now, what if those people had not shown up fully? What if they withheld their personality, their life story, their grievances and joys, the intimate burnings in their heart and soul (all of which, is their contribution)?
I am guessing your largest influences did not just lend you the parts of them that society deemed worthy, appropriate, beautiful and inspiring. I can wager they showed up FULLY.
Fully displaying their hurts, anger, joy, triumphs. You saw THEM. I will also guess that when you saw them up close, it was also fascinating at just how different they were from anyone else you knew.
I can also assume, you have experienced the opposite. Someone with a thousand walls, hurt by society’s judgment and therefore retreating into what they know everyone else will love… the version of themselves that looks like everyone else. So they conform and hide anything that looks different.
I don’t know about you, but my heart breaks for these people. Perhaps, because my heart breaks for that version of myself… the one I broke up with years ago. I had been there, so many times. Feeling like belonging looked like conforming.
Growing up in church, I just wanted to look like I belonged. As I got older, I wanted to be worthy of the love of a husband one day. You can read more about my journey of leaving that mentality here.
So I went into organized ministry in an extreme that was obsessive. I did not want time to think of my misery, my unresolved anger and insecurity. My intense feeling of affection and my need to look perfect. I mean, can’t I at least LOOK perfect?!
The thing is that I did look perfect… to an extent, but I was still “That girl” through and through. At this time in my life I was mostly; “That girl who cries a lot” (no joke… this is how people knew me).
It took leaving all of that, stepping out of the comfortable walls I once knew - to embrace my individuality. This shaped my life in so many ways, but I will attempt to nail it down to just five outcomes of embracing my individual contribution:
It gave me the allowance to show up fully.
I talk about this in my post on perfection in an elaborate way. I will probably mention this in every post because it is important. It is, because YOU ARE so important in this world and so is your contribution.
I had come to realize that hiding had a lot to do with not wanting to be “that girl.” THAT could not be my contribution (all pun intended). Then I came to realize, that if I was not “that girl” – I would be someone else. We are all THAT person in some way, shape or form. It should be celebrated because you were created to give ALL of yourself to this world. I mean, why try and show up perfectly in an imperfect world?
What qualities make you THAT person? I literally want you to stop for a second, write them down and then CELEBRATE them because you were created so uniquely, so beautifully and YOUR contribution is so important.
It gave me the ability to celebrate others’.
In hiding, it is extremely difficult to truly know other people. When you don’t let them in, the door is closed – there is no just cracking it to see people fully. I found that when I was willing to be different, to celebrate it and LOVE myself in that place… I was giving others’ permission to reveal themselves to me.
I no longer needed to be tidy and buttoned up, only revealing my best revelation as of late and hide the struggles I drowned in day in and day out. The more I released this pressure, others’ were relieved of it as well. I am convinced that when we see people up close, we cannot help but love and celebrate them. Their journey, WHO they are and even things they have done. It is then, that we can celebrate their goodness. Their passions and hearts, their desire to create change in this world.
Do you love yourself up close? If not, I encourage you to know someone else in a new way. In that very awkward, vulnerable, intimate way. You will fall in love. Then come back to yourself and realize YOUR up close story… is just as valuable.
I no longer blamed those that mocked me.
WHEW. This one took some time. I have always received a few compliments that were very consistent, one being that I am so confident. This is true most of the time NOW, but when this was told to me three years ago, it was not the case. Since I was an INCREDIBLE actress (obviously) people thought nothing they said could possibly penetrate my heart. Besides, it is all in good fun… right?
Little did they know, I had stored up years of jokes. Not in a; “I write them on the wall of my closet and cry every night” kind of way. But in a way where I had heard them so much, I let those “jokes” shape me. To tell me how I should change.
The funny thing, is that when you celebrate being made differently, you can teach others to do the same for yourself and for THEM. So now, when they make fun of me, I (usually) chock it up to a teaching moment. Now I know, I sound high and mighty… that’s fine. It is really how I see it, that nobody EVER told them it is so incredible to be unique and different. To allow yourself to FULLY be seen in order to fully believe you are TRULY loved. To contribute to this beautiful world in the exact way you were made to.
And we all need to hear it. Relentlessly. So please, make fun of me. I will take it as my contribution to teach you in return :) (am I sassy)?
While there is so much I have learned from embracing my “that girl-ness” I have learned the innate value of every person around me and their beautiful contribution. Had I never accepted and believed this for myself, I never could have for others’.
The truth of it is, I would not want to be any other way. Let’s face it, somedays I am imperfect, - calling someone a jack*** when they cut me off on the freeway. But when I take that deep breath, I remember what I really believe about them (and that I am that person that cuts people off on freeways too).
So take that step, ask if you are fully showing up. What is holding you back? What norms do you abide by that actually make you cringe? Would it be so bad to show WHO you really are? If you don’t, can you live out the life and live in the community you truly want?
These questions are hard and big, and if you are scared to ask them, I invite you to read my post about what happened when I stopped being scared to ask big questions.
Let me know what is on your heart in the comments, email me and pin this if you love it. It goes a long way and let's chat again soon, okay?!