If you feel like you are too overweight, if you feel like you are too skinny, this is for you. If you look in the mirror and see dark circles around your eyes, this is for you. If you stand on the scale and the numbers make you openly weep, this is for you. If you check your outfit and change six different times before going to class or work, this is for you. This is for all of us whom society has told we’re not pretty enough, too short, too tall, too thin, too fat, too young looking, too old looking and everything in between.
This is for me just as much as it for you, beloved. You see, websites like Bustle, Buzzfeed and articles on the HuffingtonPost etc all feed in to our insecurities. “What if I don’t look professional enough? Am I wearing the right shoes? Will they notice that I don’t adhere to shaving standards? Will they pick someone who looks their age over me? What if my weight is used against me? What if it’s used in my favor?” – these are all thoughts and fodder for the growing articles and meme’s that infiltrate our timelines and twitter feeds and they tear us down.
Since I was young, I was told that I could do and be anything that I wanted. What I wasn’t told was that society would place limits on me. Or convince me that there were limits. “Oh, I wish I could look that young!” is one of the most common things that I’ve heard over the past 10 years. I’m closer to thirty than I am 25, and yet, I still look like I’m 18. There isn’t much I can do to change my genetics, (shoutout to Granny Bowman for the fantastic always young genes), but I can change my clothes. In fact, I have and it’s still an issue. I’ve changed my clothes, my make up, my hair and my attitude. Yet it doesn’t stop me from feeling inadequate.
I know that it doesn’t matter what society tells me. I know what is appropriate for different situations. I know what my style is, I know how I like to look and what does and doesn’t look good on me. What I do not like is that no matter what I try, I still feel less than.
I know that my worth and value as a child of God cannot be changed. I know that I am loved beyond measure. I know that it doesn’t matter what is on the outside, because inside I am a fountain. I know that I am not the only one who struggles with this. My friend Carrie shared her own struggles recently here. I shared my frustrations on Twitter and my male friends told me to grow a beard – I know they were joking and well intentioned, but it’s still something I cannot control.
I cannot offer a fix, I cannot provide you with great words of wisdom and advice, but I can promise you this: you are so loved, more than you will ever know. Your worth and value is not tied to a number on a scale, or the way you’ve decided to dye your hair. You are a fountain. Full of beauty, full of brains and wit and sarcasm. You can move mountains with the power that resides within you. You are loved by a God who created and knows every single hair on your head.
If you ever feel like you are alone in this world, that your insecurities are greater than your strengths, know that you are so deeply loved. That this is a safe space. That there are people ready and willing to hear your goofy jokes and entertain you dancing around the kitchen while you listen to soul music. Know that you are not alone. Take a moment to stop in the midst of the tears that fall from your eyes and breathe. Feel the breath rise and fall within you. Remember that you are enough. Exactly as you are. That I love you. Even if we’ve never met. Even if you stumble upon this. You are so loved.
So, laugh your goofy awkward laugh. Tell that bad joke. Give yourself room to be yourself and love yourself. That is my prayer for myself, and for you.