Am I beautiful in this skin?

Isn’t it funny how little things remind you of other little things?  How everything seems to be connected sometimes, in ways you don’t expect?

Tonight I went to Dana’s.  She had a girls’ night in, with snacks and games and such.  There were a couple of us from work there, and also a few other friends of Dana’s.  One of Dana’s friends brought a friend who I actually know from my preschool staff development!  Connection number one! 

Hanging out with those girls tonight made me realize how much I enjoy just doing low-key things like playing games and chatting.  I’m not sure how to explaing this clearly.  Sometimes I get caught up in wanting to “be accepted” and “belong” with the girls at work.  But it’s better to know who I am and what I want, and hang out with people who make me feel like that’s okay.  Everyone at work is very nice, and it’s fun to go to work every day and see them.  But with a certain group that I hang out with sometimes, I feel like I want to change to be more like them, so that they will like me.  The fact of the matter is, I am who I am.  God made me this way.  I won’t be happy if I’m always focused on what I wish I could change about myself.  For example, sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who would be nasty and mean and judgemental.  But why would I wish that?  I’m uncomfortable when other people get nasty and mean, why would I want to be that person?  Just to “belong”???  This is an issue that I’ve always struggled with, the feeling of wanting to “fit in.”  I assume I will always struggle with it a little bit. 

As I was thinking about that tonight, I thought about the people who I consider true friends: Tara, Chad, Becky, Blake, and now Dana and Greg are beginning to fall in that category too.  (Yes, I see the pattern.  I tend to befriend couples.  To defend myself, I was friends with Tara and Becky before they were with Chad and Blake.  And depending on if they screwed over Tara and Becky, I would still want to be friends with Chad and Blake if they weren’t with them anymore, hypothetically speaking.  )  Anyway, the fact is, when I’m with those friends, I never feel like I need to “change” or “fake it” to make sure that I am accepted.  For example, Tara and I have days where we can entertain ourselves for hours just talking about other people.  You know, just girly gossip.  But I never feel like she will bad-mouth me to somebody else, and I’m sure she knows that I would never talk negatively about her to somebody else.  I don’t need to worry about showing my best side to Tara, because she sees all the ugly and stupid and immature that is in me, and as far as I know, she loves me anyway. 

But there are two more people that once belonged in this category, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot for the past week or so, tonight especially.  (It’s another couple, of course!)  This friend and I were very close, and she taught me a lot about being comfortable in my own skin.  To tell you the truth, she was the first person who ever made me understand that being comfortable with myself doesn’t mean trying to change to acheive what I think other people’s ideal “self” would be.  I don’t know why it took me so long, but I guess that’s some of that “stupid and immature” that Tara and Becky deal with in me.  This friend is always so content and so beautiful in her own skin, she sent me off into the world to find that contentment for myself, without her or me realizing it at the time.  I miss her, and I hope I haven’t lost all hope of rekindling that frienship, no matter how small a portion it may be.  It’s my fault that we are distant right now, and that kills me.  I pray that God leads me in the right direction to shorten that distance.

Truthfully, a lot of days I still am searching for that contentment with my own skin.  So many days I go to bed feeling like if ANYONE had to see what I just saw when I looked in the mirror, I’d have no friends or family left.  I know that’s not true, but some days it’s hard to hold onto.  I don’t really mean physical appearance, althought that’s part of it.  I mean, little things like my coffee table is covered with bills that I’ve paid.  No one else could possibly leave their paid bills sitting out, right?  I’d be completely embarrassed if someone came over and saw all my old bills from last month sitting there, wouldn’t I?  Or, I’m not prepared for a lesson tomorrow, so I’m going to have to wing it.  Does anyone else wing it?  It’s my first year, I’m supposed to be proving myself, proving that I can do a good job.  Am I just faking it?  Any day, they’re going to realize what a bad idea it was to hire me.  Actually, Bristol has pretty much talked me out of that last one, but I thought that way for a long time this school year.  But do you see what I mean?  It’s like I’m striving for perfection, but I obviously am human and do not have the ability to actually achieve perfection.  And I know this, I’m not expecting that I will acheive perfection, but I am unwilling to accept myself the way I am, with all these imperfections.

Well, I never thought of it THAT way before…

I accept others completely, embracing their imperfections and uniqueness.  I need to start expecting that they will accept me as well.  And to do that, I need to accept myself with my own faults.  It’s great to strive to better yourself, of course.  But I need to come to a place where I am okay, even if I’m never as skinny as I was when I was 18, even if I never keep a perfectly neat house, and ESPECIALLY if (when) I never become a perfect teacher.  I think each of the people in my life is a wonderful, beautiful person in his or her own skin.  I need to accept myself just as easily, completely, and unconditionally.

And now that I’ve rambled on until almost 3 in the morning (!!!!), I’d better get some sleep!    I’m probably not even making any sense anymore, right?  Becky, I hope this one satisfies your need to get some “Dawn thoughts,” because I poured it all out tonight!  …All for the world to read…I’d better post this quick and go to bed before I change my mind about wanting the world to read all this!!….

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