Today is International Women's Day, so I thought I'd introduce THIS woman a little. It seems like when we take off our masks and allow others to see us for who we are, we find that deep down we're all so similar and after the same things. We feel empowered. When we celebrate ourselves and own and love who we are, we are then better able to celebrate and love each other.
I'm a recovering people pleaser, an enabler in transition. I was a little girl who let anyone and everyone take what they wanted from me, afraid to retaliate for fear of any disapproval and too unaware of my worth to speak up when I was wronged. Even in the face of grave injustice, I kept my mouth shut. I would rather have carried the weight of shame and pain than get anyone in trouble. My boundaries waxed and waned depending on who sat in front of me, the kind of chameleon only sexual abuse can create. I conditioned myself to be someone's object, someone's silent muse. If my boyfriend didn't like my blue eye shadow, I quickly wiped it off. If someone critiqued me, I fell apart. I sought approval everywhere I turned and did whatever was asked to keep that approval. When I could no longer aqueous, I began to crumble and my every desperate cry for help became cheap small town fodder. I stood alone, humiliated and facing more disapproval and criticism than I thought I could bear. It was well deserved so I did not fight or resent it, but the disapproval hovered over me like an oppressive cloud. My head literally hung everywhere I walked, too ashamed to acknowledge anyone I knew and too overwhelmed to stand seeing judgement in yet another set of eyes.
A friend had observed me entering church one Sunday and sent me a text that I will never forget. She told me to lift my head. She told me that it was okay to make mistakes. She told me that making mistakes didn't make me worthless or unredeemable.
I cautiously raised my eyes a little.
I began to meet the gazes that were meant to hurt me. I felt the hurt and then let it go. I checked these people off my list of "Need Approval"- they could give their approval or withhold it- it was no longer my problem.
I heard the wild stories and rumors disguised as "prayer requests" and eventually let them roll off my back. If something was true, I was ready to own it, but exaggerations and blame shifting were none of my business because they weren't mine to carry.
I began accepting whatever love or respect was given without demanding or reaching for more. If you don't love me, that's fine. If you do, that's fine too- neither will make or break my world.
I stopped feeling the need to owe answers. I stopped feeling the need to explain myself. I stopped feeling the need for others to be okay with me. If I'm okay with me, I'm okay.
I began seeing myself exactly as I am, no more and no less- a sinner capable of inflicting horrible pain and a little girl who needed to put the pieces of her soul back together. A woman who deserved to wear whatever eye shadow she liked and say "no" if she didn't want to do something.
These days, I'm still a conflict avoider (I just don't love fighting- I know I'm always right. Lol!) Some days I'm a Proverbs 31 wife. Some days I'm a constant dripping. I'm unbothered by bullies and I don't feel the need to respond when people criticize. If what they're saying is right, then why be mad at the truth? I just need to adjust. If what they're saying is wrong, I don't have to give it another thought.
I'm hard to offend and struggle to relate to people who are sensitive. I'm not especially hospitable. I'm an average cook. I'm a good dancer, moderate singer and increasingly poor violinist (You were right about practicing, Mom!). I'm awkward in social settings and I'm shy in large groups. I'm secretly funny. I'm only now learning to be comfortable in my skin. I'm uncomfortable around messes. I love to make my bed. I'm an ex-runner (and I think about getting back together with my old hobby all the time). I cuss when I'm alone. I could eat sushi for every meal. I love roller coasters. I loathe the winter. There's always a Drake song stuck in my head. I'm obsessed with flowers.
I'm a jack of all trades and the master of none. I'm cocky and I'm insecure. I'm a thorn and a rose. I'm deeply flawed and yet perfectly equipped for my life. I'm a former romantic who learned the hard way that feelings are the enemy of logic and reason. I'm easy going. I crave simplicity and seek to simplify every process I come across- always searching for a better way. I'm an artist with a brain for medicine (my favorite subject).
I'm the 5th of 8 children with the best family a girl could asked for- they are all my favorite people. I was raised better than I behave. I was homeschooled. I graduated high school at 15 and attended Bible college.
I'm Margaret, but go by Meg. 27. Mom to three. Wife to one. Lover of Jesus and Americanos. Nice to meet you.
I hope you celebrate yourself today, in all your flaws. I hope you know that you are stronger than you know. I hope you know that your stretch marks are just features, not your identity. I hope you know that you are not the mistakes you've made. I hope you know that you are a glorious creature who runs the world and I hope you live like you know it. Lift your head, babe. Happy International Women's Day!