The other evening someone said something about me that kind of made me become very introspective. A guy i work with has mutual friends with this guy i may fancy just a little. I don’t know him personally but i like what I’ve seen so far. At least. Anyway. He said I’m shy, and i don’t make eye contact. I thought about it all night, i still think about it. If anyone knows me, they know I’m not a shy person, i guess that’s the impression people who don’t know me get? I was like, what would even make him think that? Because the few times he’s come to our restaurant I’ve not acted like i wanted to have every conversation under the sun with him? I’ve acted completely unaffected and blase? (Well the one time, not so blase, but that’s another story). I got defensive. I am defensive. I guess.
The truth is, I don’t make eye contact. I had to dig deep inside of myself and figure out why this lack of apparent self confidence reared its head in this way. There was a lot of thinking involved, a lot of crying too. I recalled the times i was bullied in primary school, the people who made high school less than pleasant. This guy who called me ‘ugly’ for three years like it was my name, just because he could. The depression. The times i wasn’t strong enough, and couldn’t fight back. I didn’t even know how to. The anger i felt because I wasn’t able to stand up for myself. I’ve never been a fighter, physically. I was just a nerd, and i was alright with that.
I think the effects went deeper than I realise. I think I’m not a shy person, and I have a modicum of self confidence but maybe part of me is still that 16 year old girl who was ashamed to be completely herself. There were times I dumbed myself down because I didn’t want to sound more intelligent than my peers, when a girl who intimidated me questioned my use of the word “nevertheless.” There were many times I thought there was something wrong with me.
If I’d been who I am now I would’ve fought for me. I would’ve been there. I would’ve opened up about it. I would’ve reinforced the name-calling with affirmation. I would tell myself that these boys and girls won’t even matter in the future. In the greater scheme of things.
The result of these experiences is a less than confident person in her twenties, I guess. Taking a walk down memory lane caused me to deal with some things i thought I’d buried; Behaviour patterns that I don’t want to carry into the future. I had to forgive younger me for not knowing better. For not being stronger. For allowing myself to be pushed around and being a person that wasn’t, fully, me.
Because I can’t change the past. While those experiences helped shape me, they also reinforced my resolve that I won’t be that person again. I will fight for me. I will choose me. I will stand up for the weaker ones, the way I needed someone to stand up for me.
I think I lost myself for a while. And i think in this Holy Spirit has been saying “I will find you, I will always find you.”
“Don’t believe the lies that they have told to you, not one word is true; you’re alright
You’re alright.” (Lifehouse, Simon.)
Grace and peace.