I mentioned last week that I would bring you guest posts and interviews of others that have decided to live unapologetically! Now, I can say that I am introducing the first of those in the SorryNotSorry series!
Holly is a 30-year-old writer who strives to share honestly and transparently in hopes that it will encourage others to be open about their own struggles and lessons learned. She’s been accused of being sassy, which she finds to be an admirable attribute. Her favorite things include: making people laugh, chocolate, sweatshirt weather and authentic conversations over coffee. One day she hopes to find herself a bearded lumberjack to call her own. You can find her blog at www.thecommonqueen.com
I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to be someone else.
In second grade, there was this girl in my class named Vicki. She had the big, puppy-dog brown eyes, perfect dimples framing her mouth and a skinny, petite little body. I was short, with big chubby cheeks and blonde hair that my mom would often curl using sponge curlers. My nickname throughout all of Grade School was “Miss Piggy” because if anyone looked like a human incarnation of the muppet, it was me. During free time, Vicki would draw princesses in big puffy sleeved dresses. I tried drawing as well, but my princesses looked like they were on steroids. On Valentine’s Day, all the boys gave her their favorite wrestling themed valentines while I got whatever ones they didn’t care about.
As a little girl, I’d spend my nights praying that I could be pretty like Vicki. If only I looked liked her or drew like her than maybe I wouldn’t get picked on. Maybe then the boys would like me–especially Ian– the boy who sat next to me. I was pretty sure I was in love with him. A hopeless romantic before I could even add double digit numbers.
In Middle School, I decided I’d never be the dainty preppy girl, but I could try and be the athletic tough girl. My mom had gone to high school with the Basketball coach so I decided to sign-up and give it a try. After one practice I was sitting on my bathroom floor weeping begging my mom to let me drop out, but she refused. I was going to remain the fat, slow kid on the team. Besides the physical aspect of the sport, I couldn’t figure out the rules of the game and decided to just run up and down the court until my coach would bench me and let a better kid play. This worked extremely well until our last game of the season. We were winning by a huge margin and my coach decided to keep me in the game since there’d be no way for us to lose. Since I hadn’t scored any points all year, he instructed the team to keep feeding me the ball so I could take shots. Time and time again, I’d miss. It got so painful that the other team felt bad for me and started throwing me the ball too.
We may have won the game that night, but I left the gym defeated and ashamed that I couldn’t be good at basketball like my other teammates.
In High School, I went through every fashion fad available in the late 90’s. I started out wearing wide leg JNCO jeans with matching wallet chain and finished out my career wearing American Eagle Khakis with popped collar polo shirts. I dated guys to match my clothing evolution. There was my older, pot smoking skater boyfriend my Freshman year and by Senior year I was dating a starter on the Varsity Boys’ Soccer team.
I did my very best to be who I thought these guys wanted me to be. If that meant listening to punk music and watching my boyfriend skate at the local park then that’s the girl I was. If it meant taking a semester of Latin, forming an eating disorder to drop a few and cheering from the soccer sidelines then I was that girl.
Each year I may have gotten older, but my insecurities remained the same. All of my insecurities would always point to one major lie I believed about myself: Holly, you aren’t good enough.
I hated myself. My curvy, full body. My laugh that would fill a room. My lack of athletic ability. The fact that I had to study religiously in order to do well. Everyone seemed to have what I wanted–the looks, the brains, the talents.
Things began to change some in college. I met some people who I felt more comfortable around. They didn’t seem to mind my loud laugh or the fact that I couldn’t shoot a two-pointer on the basketball court. They didn’t mind my extra curves or the fact that I wasn’t the next Einstein.
Actually, it not just that they didn’t seem to mind me, but actually liked me. They loved the way that I’d have the entire lunch table laughing with something awkward that had happened that day. They loved my smile and my curly blonde hair (no sponge curlers this time, but hot curlers)…and never once called me names or likened me to a pig puppet. They loved the fact that I cared a lot about serving and working with children at camps. They loved me for me.
It’s one thing for others to love you. It’s another thing to actually love yourself.
When people would compliment me I would laugh it off. Literally. I’d give a giggle and dismiss it. Sometimes I’d give a sarcastic “ya, thanks” figuring they couldn’t honestly believe I was as amazing as they were saying. How could they like me….let alone love me?
My freshman year at college, I met a guy that I was sure was the hottest guy I’d ever meet. We locked eyes across the room while we stood in line at registration. He smiled. I smiled. We became friends, but I was sure someone like him would never love someone like me. He was not only attractive, but was fun to be around. He laughed at my jokes, which is always a plus and he had a heart for Jesus. He was the whole package. I was sure of it.
I was also sure he’d never love me.
Except he did. The problem was I couldn’t believe it and in not believing it I didn’t accept it. Years later, when he told me he loved me I was shocked. So shocked in fact that I called my best friend and asked her what he meant.
“Like friends?” I asked.
“Holly, he loves you.”
I just couldn’t even begin to process it because it seemed so unreal. It was very real though and one of the most amazing loves that I’ve ever come across. God used that man to show me I was lovable. That I was, in fact, worth loving.
Three months after his admission, the man I loved and who loved me died, but the love he showed me never did. In my grief, I’d repeatedly ask God why He took this man from me so soon. I still haven’t gotten any answers, but I have been reminded time and time again of the impact he made on my heart.
Often times we forget that God will use other people to love us and be an example of His love. He’s done that for me time and time again. He uses my friends and those close to me to speak Truth and love and encouragement to my soul– to remind me that I am enough. That I don’t need a runway body, but that I’ve got a heart made of diamonds. I don’t need to be someone or something I’m not because God created me to be ME.
And God doesn’t make mistakes.