In 2nd grade a fellow classmate got braces. Everyone thought they were cool, probably just because they were different and no one else our age had braces yet, so they seemed to make her more ‘grown-up.’ So I told everyone I was getting braces too. They started asking me every day where my braces were, eventually figuring out I was lying. But no, no, I insisted I was going to be cool just like the other girl.
In 3rd grade I copied an excerpt from my book obsession, “Lassie.” I wrote it out by hand and brought it to my teacher and told her I found it in my grandmother’s journal from under her old bed. I said my parents wouldn’t let me bring the old journal in because it was delicate and falling apart so I had to copy it to that piece of paper. My teacher read to the class all about my grandma’s desires for a real sheep farm someday.
In 4th grade my parents took me to The American Girl Place in downtown Chicago. One of the perks offered for little American Girl doll lovers was being able to get your picture on the cover of an American Girl magazine. It wasn’t a real issue that people would find in their mailboxes, but it was a real magazine that you could hold in your hand and take home with you as a keepsake. I brought it to school and kept it in my desk and showed half my classmates. I was a model.
In 5th grade I started a journal of funny stories about my cat, Whiskers, and her adventures. I showed my teacher. When my cat wasn’t doing anything very interesting, I made stuff up. It was important to me that I contribute this little dose of humor to my teacher’s life. I thought it would make her like me more.
In 6th grade I decided I wanted a sister, so I told one of my friends that my parents were adopting one for me.
In 7th grade I wore an ear wrap around the cartilage of my left ear, and insisted it was a piercing. I didn’t even have my ears pierced at all. And I felt like I was lacking somehow because I didn’t have any holes in my body.
I guess the point is, I never thought I was good enough. No matter how much I had, no matter how much my parents gave me or did for me… No matter who I was, or what my cat did… I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t interesting enough, fun enough, pretty enough. I fully believed I couldn’t just be accepted for who I was, so I had to take control of how others’ perceived me by painting whatever picture I thought they wanted to see.
Fortunately, the process of growing up, and the help of
a little a lot of therapy, I discovered that the flaws were not in me, but in my thinking. I discovered I was wrong. I didn’t need to change the truth because the truth was enough. I was enough.
Somewhere along the line, the world feeds us the lie that we aren’t good enough and we eat it up like a delicious afternoon snack. The percentage of people we meet each day who don’t feel like they are “enough” in one way or another is alarming. We’re not pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, strong enough, successful enough, talented enough, etc.
In this constant drive, we never appreciate the moment we are in now. We never embrace who we really are. The competition isn’t between us and someone else, it’s between who we are today and who we were yesterday. We are called to take what we have and do the best we can with it, to strive to better ourselves each day, and through that, inevitably leave a positive impact on those around us. That’s all we can ever do. Do the best with what we are given. And that is enough.
I’ve come across some people that still do what I did in grammar school, even as grown adults. For one, it saddens me. For two, it shows me that this isn’t always just some phase one will eventually grow out of. Sometimes it’s more about insecurity and a lack of self-acceptance. People don’t magically know that they were made exactly the way they are for a reason, because that’s not what the world tells us. The world tries to tell us what we are supposed to be, what we should be. But this is what God says:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
So the whole point of this, is to tell you, in case no one ever has, that you were made for a reason and with a purpose. Your life may not look like someone else’s but you have a purpose all your own, even if you haven’t found it yet. You are beautiful, and you are loved beyond measure. The Creator of the universe, the One who placed the stars in the sky and can count every grain of sand on the beaches, knows every hair on your head and He calls YOU by name.