Growing up I was teased unrelentingly. I was singled out over and over again, called hurtful names, and made to feel like something was wrong with me. I was an awkward little girl. I came from a poor family, wore glasses, and had frizzy curly hair. I was very shy as well. Let’s just say an easy target. All the way to adulthood I struggled with self-worth, self-image, and acceptance. At times I still do.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
I just read an article about a girl who had plastic surgery because of bullying. Oh how my heart aches for hers. After reading this article I was moved and wrote a poem based on how I felt growing up. Like her and many others I was teased.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall what I see I don’t like at all. Why do you scream that I am fat, that I am ugly, and that I am flawed? Can’t you see my tears and my fears? All I want is to be beautiful, accepted and loved. When I leave your sight mirror I will still believe the lies. I will try to hide in the shadows and not be noticed by anyone in fear of hearing the taunting words that say there is something wrong with me. In my heart I want to be accepted but that would take someone noticing me. So I stay invisible in hopes that my heart would be spared. Only if someone out there truly cared. To walk around unseen, unnoticed, and unloved hurts me so. I start to put on a mask to cover the real me in fear someone will see. I start acting as a stranger to my soul and changing myself, my likes, my actions, my thoughts. I try to change the way I look, so I decorate my mask more. In my heart I am so torn. The world tells me I have to look, act, and think a certain way. But, this is not me or who God intended me to be. I am stuck inside a shell pounding and crying to get out. I live in fear of the real me being seen. I walk through the crowd with me head down in shame. Inside I am crying when on the outside I put on a fake smile. What I fail to realize is that I am not alone. There are other invisibles out there. All walking around in the shadows all trapped behind a mask, just hoping for others to see them, to accept them, and to be loved. Most of all that they are loved from above. God never intended for us to feel this way. He created us beautiful, wonderful, and with a purpose. Oh God, let me see myself through Your eyes the way you intended me to. Show me that I am ok, that I am beautiful, and loved. With tears in my eyes I cry to God asking for Him to show Himself to me and to set my heart free. Free from the lies that plague my heart. I pray that He heals me and gives me a new start. I pray that I will be able to stand tall and proud. I pray that I will be able to take off my mask as I walk through the crowd. God made me, He loves me, and by knowing this I am better than ok. I am a gift. I am precious in His sight, I am seen. I am His daughter. If God is prefect than what does that make me? I am His handy work. I am His creation. I am His. He takes pride in me. He sets me free. I am me! So Mirror, mirror on the wall you can’t intimidate me at all. I no longer will believe the lies.
When I was in kindergarten and all throughout grade school I remember sitting alone watching all of the other kids play and never being included. In the background I heard the laughs and the name calling. One of my most hurtful memories was when I was in 7th grade. I had just transferred schools because of the teasing and others physical hurting me and it was picture day. Oh how wonderful, the first day at my new school and it was picture day. As we stood in line waiting to get our pictures taken I heard a voice say “Can I go before her because if she goes first she will break the camera.” Everyone started laughing and joining in on the comments. They started pushing me and calling me names. I was horrified. As the tears started flowing the kids started teasing me even more. I tried to leave but the teacher there stop me and told me to get back in line. She heard the comments but didn’t say anything. When it was my turn to take my picture everyone in line yelled out its ugly’s turn. Morgan the girl who started the teasing yelled out “oh great there goes the camera.” With tears in my eyes I set there and took my picture. Morgan from that day on made it her mission in life to make mine as miserable as possible.
Another one of my most hurtful memories was again in Middle school. In English class we had to give a demonstrative speech. A girl asked if she could use me as a model on how to put on makeup. She told me how beautiful I was and how prefect I would be for this. At first I didn’t want to but she seemed sincere so I said yes. In class she demonstrated how to put makeup on and at the end of her speech she said “see this is how you make a nerd somewhat presentable.” The entire class laughed including the teacher. I got up and ran out in tears. After that I was known as Goober face.
Those are two of countless stories of teasing. Needless to say I learned to be invisible. Better to be not seen than to be hurt. That alone was a life sentence of its own. I was alone, unloved, and unwanted. All I wanted was to have a friend, to be accepted, and to like myself. My best friend was my dog Tippy. Tippy and I would sit in my back yard chewing bubble gum together as I told him about my day. I went through life hiding from the world.
The older I became I started to change who I was to get others to like me. I put on a mask. I started making up stories about myself to try to impress others and it started to work. In the process of changing myself I lost touch with who I really was. I didn’t feel better about myself, if anything I felt worse. They still didn’t like me for me, but they liked a make believe me. Beside they weren’t really friends. They were pretending as well. Most of them hung around me and found ways to use me to get what they wanted. I never felt truly accepted.
I hate to say it but it wasn’t until a few years ago did I come face to face with myself image. I was in a bible study with several ladies and we had a guest speaker one night. He singled me out and told me things I felt deep from within my heart. He told me that I wasn’t invisible that God sees me and loves me. Oh how freeing was that moment. After that God put it on the heart to seek out the other invisibles and share with them the same message. I started working with the youth at our church. I would see those who thought they were invisible. I would see these beautiful young ladies struggle with their self- image and God placed it on my heart to set up a girls retreat to show these girls who they are in Christ. I thought to myself how can I do this when I still struggle with the same thing? God didn’t let up. My heart was breaking for these girls. I gathered myself and mustard up enough courage and asked our youth pastor at the time if I could put on a retreat for the girls about finding out their identity in Christ. Without hesitation he said yes. I was so excited and so scared at the same time. I am still shy and wasn’t sure how I was going to get up in front of these girls and talk. God is good. He gave me everything I needed to do this from the theme, the format, and the speakers. It all came together despite me and the opposition I faced.
The first time I was in front of the girls I thought I was going to lose it, but God showed up and lead my every word. One activity I had the girls do was to write down a lie that they believed about themselves without their name on it and give them to me. A couple of ladies and I covered a picture I drew of a girl holding a mask over her face. I took the lies one by one and read the aloud as I tore the lie in half. There were lies like I am ugly, fat, not worth it, and I wish I wasn’t even alive. My heart broke for each and every one of those girls because they truly believed this about themselves. But every time one of those lies were ripped in half I would see the girls shell break as tears flowed from their eyes. At that moment they realized that they weren’t alone and for the first time realized that those things they wrote down on that piece of paper were indeed a lie. As God’s truth was revealed to these girls of who they on in Christ my heart was healed as well. How freeing was that moment for all. Since that first retreat I have come to realize that I am not invisible and I am a beautiful creation of God made for a purpose.
Looking back on my life and the teasing I can now say that I am thankful for every negative torment sent my way. If anything God has turned those tears of hurt into a mission for the hearts of the invisible. I can truly understand the pain and the healing that comes with it.
“Thank you God for all the pain I have felt in my life, for all the negative comments, and all the lies sent my way. Thank you for turning those tears of pain into a mission for the invisible. From my hurts and tears have come new strength and a testimony of Your love. I pray that I never forget who I am in You. I pray for those who still believe the lies and struggle alone in the shadows. Please help they come to know who they are in You as well. Thank you for loving me and healing my heart.”