there’s something adorable and endearing but impossibly frustrating about a woman who doesn’t know or recognize her worth. when i see it, something in me wants to stop everything and risk the awkward moment to tell her – you are worthy and you are beautiful without doing a single thing. nothing from your past effects how you are now. you are pure, whole, and untouched. don’t you see it? i see it so clearly and wish you did too. i want to shout it, yell it, repeat it until she gets it. i feel like others might want to do the same to me as well. it can be confused as being sweet, or unsure of myself – but it’s just this relentless war with owning ones worthiness. maybe we should – shout it and yell it and repeat it – when we recognize it. maybe it’s up to us to uplift each other and remind each other of ones loveliness.
in 6th grade my mom said no make up for you, so i said okay and smuggled eyeliner and makeup remover in a small ziplock bag to school. at this point i just did it as a rebellious and defiant act. i never thought i was ugly without it or beautiful with it. it just was something my parents didn’t want me to do so i did it, naturally. i should also mention i loved avril lavigne and wanted to be her. i wore heavy eyeliner on my bottom eyelids and that’s it. it was a weird, weird look. but i liked it. i did this from 6th grade to 10th grade. in 11th grade my hair grew longer, i finally got my braces off, and i discovered eyeliner on the top eyelid doesn’t look so bad.
what came with this newfound discovery, sadly, is a complete and utter rejection of my natural face. it started out slowly but became self hate every time i wiped the eye makeup away. no one must know turned into no one will love you which turned into you’re faking the world! i felt trapped by the cycle i created for myself and wanted to be free. on halloween during my freshman year of college i posted a blurry photo of me without make up on in the car with my best friend. later i read online that i was ugly without make up. i believe specific words were “she’s beat without makeup”. (beat: extremely ugly).
that was almost exactly 9 years ago and for 9 years you would never see me without make up if I could prevent it. maybe once i went to pinkberry without makeup. it wasn’t until a recent trip to mammoth in august when something shifted. we were going out for the bride’s night out, which usually meant in my mind: okay yes smokey eyes let’s go! however, i did not want to put that eyeliner on. i had eyeshadow on and some eyeliner on the top eyelid but none on the bottom. i stood in the mirror with the eyeliner in hand. my friend came up and said you look good. i shared that i didn’t want to put on more makeup and she said, so don’t. i put the bottom eyeliner on one eye and made her tell me which side looks better, like how girls put on different shoes and ask which looks better. her response changed everything.
“both are beautiful, we are just used to seeing that one and not used to seeing the other. but both are beautiful.”
both?? both are beautiful?
the next day i didn’t want to put make up on. like any. i voiced it out loud and again the girls said “so don’t.” so i didn’t. for the rest of the day. lately i’ve been going on runs without make up on. the funny thing is that what needed to happen was not other people but me, me getting used to my own natural face. a couple days ago i met my friend in corona del mar at inspiration point with NO make up on. i’m at a point now where i believe both are beautiful. or at least one is “acceptable enough to be out in public”. baby steps you know what i mean?
the point is, when an anonymous voice confirmed my deepest insecurity i believed it without question. i am ugly. they said it. it must be. for 9 years i hid and i felt ugly and i felt trapped. students today report being bullied mostly about their looks and weight (PACERS Bullying Statistics). children are believing lies about themselves. those lies and the effects of the lies will last not just for the duration of school but for years after. it’s so important to intervene, to stop, listen, and affirm. words can damage, but words can also heal.
“i’m talking too much about myself”
“do you have to go soon?”
I had just finished talking to a friend about suffering from a worthiness imbalance. i view everyone on pedestals, almost in an unhealthy way. it leads me to be easily intimidated, scared of social interactions, and feeling like “everyone is better than me”. i think everyone is perfect but i see myself as an unredeemable pile of problems. even if you share with me your “issues” i can find a positive spin on it. i’m like a mom who can’t see a single flaw in their beloved son or daughter. you’re a perfectionist? you must be detail oriented. you don’t trust people? that’s good, i trust too easily. i can’t find fault with you ever. but i can find 100 faults for me in one second flat. it’s the job of our inner bullies. and my inner bully works HARD. we are all hard on ourselves. but can i just say my inner bully is a real butthole. see below for evidence:
andi long: yeah so i feel like i’m not deemed worthy like others are
inner bully: Shuuuut UP. Stop talking about yourself. That’s ALL you do. And they’re bored. Excuse them at once so they don’t have to spend one more minute with your sorry self.
andi long: *thinks to herself* ‘oh my god you’re right. thank you for bringing that to my attention.’
“i’m talking too much about myself, do you have to go soon?”
It was a horrifying yet amusing moment to hear myself spit those words out. horrifying because i knew it came from that place of unworthiness i was just talking about and amusing because for the first time i caught it. it was like aha! there’s your unworthiness fully clothed and ready to shine in all its glory. hand in hand with your inner bully. dream team.
My friend was like “that was the farthest thing on my mind. you are not talking too much. and no i’m good on time how are you?”
AYEEE inner bully, take that. You shut up.
expose that inner bully every chance you get. show it that it’s all talk and no substance. this is only one example of many, many other incidents, just this is the first time i saw it in action like that and ready to party. this is necessary work. bullying is intense. bullying is no joke. including when it’s yourself who is doing the bullying. expose expose expose. inner bullies are delusional, untrustworthy liars. i’m being bullied right now, but i’ve had it.
Before, when I would read or watch Brene Brown sharing on ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ I would “woohoo!” or say “amen!” with a little fist in the air. It inspires me. I love pretending I’m being vulnerable and sharing a little bit that is scandalous enough I’m like ooh I’m sharing but also not the full story or anything too shameful.
The easiest way to explain an example is: I believed that I was weird and alone so I did everything I could to hide that I was weird and alone not knowing that if I shared that I was weird and alone I would no longer be weird and alone.
Yesterday I actually did experience the power of vulnerability because for the first time I was freak-ing vulnerable. I acknowledged my walls upfront. I talked about those in the beginning and I shared. For AN HOUR. I endured questions. I followed up with even more information than asked because I felt prompted. I shared about deep, dark, stuff. I had to bring up my old self again – the one I feel unattached to and ashamed of. I fought back tears, I fiddled with my hair, I was hot and I started sweating. And then it was over.
And I was met with compassion. I was affirmed. I was encouraged.
I had a vision this morning on my run of a flower in a vase. Like a rose. Some type of fancy beauty and the beast flower in a glass vase. That’s how I was for a little. Then the vase started to get opaque and covered with other things. That’s how I was with social media. I upload highlights, or enough images and quotes to paint a picture of who I want to be perceived as. That’s how I was with my addiction to makeup. Look at this instead! The real me perished inside as those things were blocking the sunlight. And then pretty soon no one could see the flower.
Yesterday as I shared my story, the power of transparency and vulnerability shattered the glass vase and guess what. It turns out I’m not a perfect, beautiful little rose. I’m a messy, adventurous WILDFLOWER. I was never meant to be contained. I was never meant to be in glass, like an isolated fish in a glass bowl. I was a wildflower meant to soak up the sun, bring beauty, pop up in unexpected places and most importantly – be WITH other wildflowers. Be in a community of other likeminded and beautiful wildflowers. That’s the thing with wildflowers – you never see them alone. It’s always fields of wildflowers and that’s what makes them beautiful.
Break that glass vase, it’s costing you your life. Share in a safe space. Find your wildflower tribe. Always face the light. Your shame is not your story. Share and be set free.
I don’t talk about my faith as much as I want to. Even though it’s becoming the most important thing in my life. Maybe for fear of judgement or maybe it’s me not wanting to push it on people. Maybe because since I was born to when I was 19, I had a negative idea of Christians and “the religious” and ran the opposite way when they brought up God. What I realize now is it’s not about being religious at all. I didn’t grow up religious and am still not religious. But I do have a relationship with God. The God of the Universe. Jesus Christ. My hope, my strength, my reason for change.
I recently saw a picture of my old self. Not a photo, but heard stories that painted a picture of who I was. It wasn’t pretty. The picture I saw was someone who was self-centered, a little reckless, and kind of on a path to self-destruction. It was scary and sobering quite honestly, because I forgot. I began having a relationship with God in 2009 when I was 19 years old and slowly, I changed. It wasn’t until recently I was able to see just how much change happened since. I’m trying to pinpoint what I mean by change – and I think it might simply be this: I have this hope. I have this hope in God. I have this renewed mind. I have a new life, and I’m a new creation who is kinder to herself and to others. I’m so much lighter and filled with light. Change is inevitable because once you experience God’s love in a real way, you’re never the same. All that said I’m still far, far, far from perfect and am battling my own personal fights daily but all under the grace, love and mercy of God – thank God, really though.
The truth of the matter is God loves you. He loves you so much… and there’s an invitation specifically to you! That’s why I’m writing this – trust me I’m scared lol but if you’re reading this and reading all of this it’s probably for you to understand that he’s available and he’s open if you are. It could be going to church or starting an open and honest conversation with Him privately. I’m just so glad I answered yes to my invitation 8 years ago because it’s made all the difference. I have this hope.
we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19)
i’ve rediscovered i have “empathy sickness” and i’m having a hard time, lol. i know there are others like this out there. you might identify with it too: when someone says they suffer from something you begin to suffer from it too. or maybe your heart feels extra fragile and soft and malleable. or it could be you don’t know why you always feel so dang much.
in middle school i remember asking my friends to use a code word to describe a headache because when they said they had a headache i began to get one like clockwork.
i think it can be a strength, if controlled and applied with boundaries. but it’s also at times painful and confusing. so just wanted to put that out there. if this is you, i get it. i get your hurt of bearing other people’s hurt and pain. (because I have to, it’s my nature lol!!) but this song has been soothing to my soul lately and i hope it helps! light some candles and put on some eucalyptus essential oils. this is going to pass, whatever it is. leon bridges wrote this song in hopes it would be a “message of light”
I’m not the best problem solver. So it’s easy for me to get stuck or overwhelmed or just become unable to can. My college roommate, Loren, is a great problem solver. Any issue or problem we’d have she would fix. She made things easier, less complicated. Always smiled. I told her so many times, you are such a good problem solver!
What I’m realizing now, as I get older or whatever, I can solve problems. Like it’s not that hard to move things around. If things aren’t fitting, move them! If you don’t have space and need space, make space! Things aren’t glued around you. Things aren’t covered in permanent, sticky glue. And you yourself, you are not a tree. You are not stuck where you are. If things aren’t working, move it around!
I’m realizing – we make a dent in this world, if we wanted to. Things do not have to remain as they are. The injustices there are, the sadness, the problems…we can solve them. We can give our own little gifts towards these problems. We can change the direction of sails. There’s a lot we CAN do.
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – steve jobs
i suffer from people pleasing
i say yes when you say yes
i say no when you say no
who am i really then?
who is there to get to know?
i’m going to stand for something
i’ll disagree. i’ll make my point.
i don’t want to just be a mirror, a smile, a nod.
you are not a bundle of problems!
someone said that to me before.
i appreciate that.
sometimes it’s easy to walk around thinking you are
but i reminded another person a few months ago – you’re not messy. sure you got layers. but kind of like a flower has petals. you’re a rose. you got this!
People will say what they want to say.
When I was in college, the guy who I was dated at the time told me that his ex girlfriend (which I should have known wouldn’t have had the most charming things to say about me) told him that she saw me walking around talking to myself and that I was “weird”.
HELP! I hated being called weird. I hated the idea of being labeled as weird, abnormal, strange. No! I wanted to fit in. I wanted my image to be of someone cool – someone that doesn’t talk to herself! The thing is, now that I’m older I can see what she means, haha. I definitely do, talk to myself. My mind is runnnning with thoughts (whose isn’t!?) and I take them to see where they can go. I think about things differently, I think. I’m proud of it. Even if it makes me (ugh) *weird*.
But the thing is, as depicted by my ex’s ex…people talk about you! What are you going to do?
Another time in college – I was in line at the cafeteria and someone came up to me and started talking to me with enthusiasm. We talked for a bit, both of us friendly and animated. As he left my friend whom I was with asked me if I knew him and I said no. I later was called a b*tch.
Things will be said. Assumptions will be made. I was so frustrated with being misunderstood.
There is beauty in getting older. My mentor told me years ago – in your twenties you think about yourself and in your thirties and forties you think of others more. Me being in my twenties I remember thinking “I’m not self absorbed!” Yes I am. I can see exactly what she means. I’m only 26 but now I care much, much less about what others think or say about me vs me when I was 20 years old. And it totally is because I am gaining more of a sense of who I am. Sure, in college my identity was super shaky. But that was then. This is now.
People will say what they want to say. Sometimes they might be right about me. Sometimes they’ll be dead wrong. But my goal now is not to be understood. I’m okay with being misunderstood. I know who I am now.