Posts Tagged ‘womanhood’

Imposer, Imposter.

Let me begin by apologizing.  I am afraid that you think I only complain, that I live in a world of melancholy.  That is not true.  I just pull from the inmost recesses of my heart when I write, and that is a place of messy corners and tangled emotions.  I have also been displaced from anything that is considered “normal” for over a year.  I think that justifies me a bit in my grumblings. 🙂

The holidays.  My favorite time of year.

I live for this time of year.  I pull out my autumn garlands, homemade wreaths, my sparkly arrangements and I light my “Home for the Holidays” candles.  I keep a fire in the fireplace.  I bake spritz cookies with holiday jam centers, pumpkin pies, and anything cinnamon.

This will be my second holiday season without these things.

We found out this week that we will not be moving out of my grandparents home this month the way we had hoped to.   We will be keeping them displaced.  They don’t mind — they genuinely like us here — but we feel so awful.  Moochers.

I wanted to have a home this holiday season.  I wanted to invite family over for a holiday get-together.  I wanted to bake goodies and play hostess.  We will have Thanksgiving at my grandparents (our) home this year.  It’s not MINE, but it’s something, at least.  Still, it feels like I’m just a imposter, playing hostess to a home that is not mine.

This Christmas will be equally unsettling.  All of our Christmas decorations are still packed away.  I always wanted to give my baby a picture-perfect Christmas, even though it’s just for me.  I wanted to put her “baby’s first Christmas” ornament on our tree.  Her stocking next to ours.  It’s just weird.  Nothing’s the same, anymore.  Last year’s Christmas at the in-laws was strange, because we were snowed out and we had to come later.  It was a gathering of just my husband and I opening gifts a week or two after Christmas while his family watched.  It was awkward and sad for me… it just seemed like a reminder that nothing was the same.

This year, we’re traveling to our BIL and SIL’s house.  It’s going to be Christmas in a new place (although it’s for our traveling ease, and I am thankful for that) and that’s going to be so weird for me.  I’m also a little jealous (yes, I just admitted that).  My SIL, who has been in the family for 9+ months will get to play hostess in her home.  I will have nothing to do.  I will be at loose ends, feeling like I don’t have a role, and therefore feeling like I’m not quite belonging. I already feel like I ceased being me when the baby was born.  I feel so second-rate.  Doesn’t feel fair.

Ha.  Haven’t I learned that already?  Life’s not fair.

That’s my confession.  One of my desires is to be the hostess in my home.  The center of the family like my grandmother has been for years.  I know this year isn’t going to be awful.  It will be sweet and beautiful in its own way.  I just struggle with the changes, and mourn the fact that I don’t get my own personal pride-booster of being told that I’m the perfect hostess, that people love being around me.

See? I’m both and imposer and an imposter.

Is this a normal reaction or am I as crazy as I sound?

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Does God think I’m fat?

This facebook post by a beautiful friend of mine got me thinking:

I have come to the conclusion that I will never be a size 0, or 6 or even a 10 for that matter. But my body has remained healthy for 40 years, has endured several surgeries and healed remarkable well. It has carried, delivered and sustained three beautiful babies. So I have curves and jiggly parts, SO WHAT! My husband loves me. I am tired of the media making me feel like I’m fat! Why don’t all the magazines and commercials get models that are healthy sizes and shapes so our young girls will have realistic models to try and emulate. I’m 40 years old and still struggle with the fact that I don’t look like all the movie stars and models I am constantly bombarded with every time I pick up a magazine or turn on the TV.

Amen, sister!

I have been made to feel fat my entire life.  I was told by my grandmother that I was “pretty, but I’d never be beautiful” and that I would “always be a big girl.”  I took diet pills at 16 because I wasn’t the size of my other friends.  I was the biggest girl on the cheerleading squad.  I did the Atkins diet at 17.  I have sustained myself off of coffee, pretzels, and peanut butter crackers (college). I played softball, cheered, exercised.  It was never enough.

I brought a little girl into a world that teaches that EVERYTHING makes you fat.  No more bologna and cheese sandwiches like my mom used to eat, or standing in line for the ice cream man (who didn’t love hearing the truck’s jingle a 1/2 mile away– begging every adult within earshot for ice cream money?). Sample sizes are a 2 and a 4… and you probably should be 5’9″ in order for that to be really legit.  Anything over a size 6 is considered plus size modeling. I eat whole wheat bread, fruit and veggies, and I love everything green.  I drink unsweet (I know! It’s like I’m not Southern!) tea because it’s calorie free.  I exercise (not as much as I should… but isn’t that most everyone?) and I choose the calorie-burning option 90% of the time.

I am a size 16.

There. I said it.

Granted, I had a baby 6 months ago, but I was a 12/14 when I got pregnant.  That’s where I usually am.  My mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law are easily half that (and my mom eats ONLY junk food!).  I am usually miserable when any one of these beautiful ladies decide to diet… because it makes me feel like more of a failure.

Why in the world should I feel that way?!?

“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.” Psalm 139:14

Would God “knit me together” and think … “Eh, I could do better”?  Does God think I’m “fat” because I don’t fit modern society’s preconceived notions of beauty?  I have a friend who is 6 ft tall and is beautiful.  I have a friend who is 5’9″, a size 2 and is beautiful.  I have a friend who is 5’2″ and is not a size 2 and is beautiful.

How dare society tell us that we are not ideal?  How dare we believe the lies that society tells us?

I remember being a little girl, looking in the mirror, thinking, “I’m really cute!” Ha, I really did!  You know what?  I WAS! I AM.

My daughter is breathtaking.  I will not tell her that she will “never be beautiful” or “always be big.”  I don’t believe God made a mistake when she was made.  Why should I believe the same about me?

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL IN YOUR OWN PERFECTLY, WONDERFULLY, UNIQUE WAY.  DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE.

Thanks, my friend, for reminding me of this tonight.

the moments I remember

I remember walking out of the church one late summer evening, while the sky was streaked with colors of tangerine and magenta.  The sun hit my face just right, enough to warm the cheeks from hours of air-conditioning. I remember peace – the feeling that God loved me and that everything would be okay.  For a moment, I was not a child of a broken home.  I was not broken or misunderstood.  I belonged.

I remember the first time I walked into the quiet church, lights off in every room except the bathroom and kitchen. I could smell brownies baking in the fellowship hall kitchen.  I was scared to go in because it was a room of girls.  Would they be kind? That was the day I met Kristen, who spoke of love and generosity.  She taught us about inner beauty.  Strength.  Benevolence.

I remember notes she would write in her perfect cursive, just the right amount of flourish, on paper with roses around the border. She would write the words, “you are beautiful.”  I think it may have been the first time I had truly ever heard that.

One summer day, we sat in a circle on a drive under the awning while it rained all around.  We talked about nursing homes and the elderly, of loving others unselfishly.  We made plans to visit them and talk to them of their lives.

I remember learning about God in those early days, about someone who loved me, broken pieces and all.  A kid who thought too much, afraid of her own shadow.  A kid who thought that no one would ever love her, that girls would always pick on her, and boys would always ignore her.  A kid who talked of things too uncomfortable, too perceptive for her age.  Too poor.  Unchurched.

Those years, I was taught of a God whom I have not seen in a church often.  There were no boundaries, no limitations on love or acceptance.  There was no hierarchy of privilege versus poverty.  We were taught to give. Love. Search. Question.

I know that what I saw was most likely different than what they could see, but when I drive down an Oklahoma road in the summer, or see a sunset, or drink a glass of strawberry lemonade, I think of that first summer. I think of Kristen, who still listens with her whole heart, who accepts unconditionally.  I think of her doe eyes that link themselves to you and feel every joy and pain you have.  She was like an older sister — teaching me how to grow without growing up.

Those are a few moments I remember.