I remember one Sunday afternoon when I was in 6th grade I was up in my room trying to find a way to make my thrift store wardrobe even a little bit stylish. I had on a button down shirt and I had tied it a little above my waist. It wasn't high but I knew when my dad yelled for me to come downstairs that I needed to untie it and FAST. I couldn't get the knot out, and he yelled again so I went downstairs as I was. He took one look at me and when into a rage, yelling at me saying I looked like a stripper at a bar. I was crushed. I can't remember what he called me downstairs for, but I've never forgotten the cruel words that once again spilled from his drunken mouth.
I always struggled to feel "normal" and like I fit in...but I never did. My clothes were old and ill fitting, I had red stringy hair, wore glasses and was taller than all the boys in my class and all my teachers. I was ridiculed by the other kids because they could hear my "wino" father screaming at us in our house when they walked by on the sidewalk.
The feelings I had back then have followed me my whole life. Oh, I do have good periods where I remember that my Heavenly Father loves me and that He's my real daddy. I know that I am reasonably intelligent and capable. But sometimes (way more often than I care to admit) I still battle feelings of inadequacy.
I've made a lot of really poor choices in my life in an effort to feel valued and normal. I've made more mistakes than I can count and I have regrets enough to fill a dozen or more volumes.
I'm tired of living that way now. I'm tired of feeling awful about myself. I'm tired of being full of regrets for the things I've done and the people I've hurt. I'm so weary of feeling like I'm not good enough and like I'm incapable of getting life right. And I'm tired of feeling all alone.
I know I'm not really alone. I understand that there are many who have also been hurt much worse than I was and there are also many who have made mistakes in their lives.
And I know God, who has never left me for a moment. I struggle and probably always will, but that doesn't make me different or odd, it just makes me human.
I'm determined to keep on trying, to keep on moving forward, and, most of all, I'm determined to learn how to forgive myself so I can truly live. These burdens have weighed me down in so many ways and it's time to let go and stop letting these things define me.
I am not my past, I am not my parents, I am not my pain.
I am strong! I am smart! I am capable! And I am worth the effort it takes to get fit and healthy and to improve my life!!
I will not be like this any longer: