I don’t know if I was born thinking I wasn’t enough or if it was learned behavior from the years of bullying, where people told me I wasn’t enough for so long I actually believed it.
It’s worth mentioning that this is by far the most vulnerable thing I feel like I could ever talk about, but also the foundation on which my story starts and my life was built. I’m trying to give you some sense of where I came from, of who I am, of all of the things I have experienced in my life to get me to where I am.
I don’t really know which answer is right: Was I “born broken,” or did I have “learned behavior”?
Or, was it a culmination of the two? I don’t really know if it matters except for helping to maybe paint another storyline.
I’m sure some combination of the two lead me to a rather painful, pretty unhappy childhood.
I don’t remember much from early childhood, except I remember being angry that my little sister was born. (Hello, jealousy!) I instantly felt like I had to compete. (There, that’s my work. That’s part of what makes me think I was born unsure of my worthiness.)
But pretty rapidly from when I was in first grade on, I was bullied. It was pretty clear for whatever reason I wasn’t like the other kids, and they wanted to make me aware of that, and I JUST WANTED TO FIT IN. Desperately. I just wanted to be one of the “cool kids” so badly.
My childhood could be summed up in these few experiences.
I was fat. (Need I say more?)
I’ll never forget the day. I was in seventh grade, I had just walked out of the lunch line toward a table of my soccer-team peers, and I went to sit down. But the chair wouldn’t come out from under the table. I didn’t understand why, so I pulled harder and then somehow it caught my eye that two of the girls had locked their legs on the the legs of the chair so that I couldn’t sit with them. When I realized what was happening, I grabbed my lunch and walked over to another table to sit by myself. But I can tell you, in that moment, in front of all of the other tables that could see what had just happened, my heart was broken. I didn’t know how to cry then or feel the hurt that I felt so deeply. It just turned into even more unworthiness, even more rage.
Boys used to tell me that I would probably actually be pretty if I was skinny and that, until then, no one would ever like me or love me.
They called me Halley’s comet (because I was the size of one) and Hale-Bopp, which I’m pretty sure was another comet that came along at some point in our childhood.
They called me fat and every term that resembles fat and always added that I would be so much more worthy or better if I wasn’t fat.
While I could keep going, I think or hope the picture is clear. I actually believed their words so much. I never actually thought anyone would or could love me because I wasn’t thin. Because I wasn’t enough.
I mean, pretty close to 18 years of that is a long time. By the time I was in high school, I had been put into counseling, tried every diet known to man and further instilled into myself that I wasn’t enough as who I was because that’s what the people who I thought mattered kept telling me.
The people who did matter (aka my mom) did everything in her power to tell me I was enough, I was worthy, that these people and the things they said weren’t true and didn’t matter. Every day. Every time. Consistently.
Thank you, God, that she did that, because as I’ve had the opportunity to relearn and grow, her words were like mustard seeds of truth for me to build on.
I think actually now that I reflect on these experience’s and on my life, I realize I never had a thought to whether I was enough or not and before I could even have one, there were lots of people telling me that I wasn’t.
So you know, fast-forward a little bit and these experiences were foundational building blocks to so many things.
I learned that just because people are “cool” doesn’t mean we are the same kind of people (over and over and over again, as I kept trying to be friends with people who just never wanted me).
I learned that people could and do love me. Just as I am. For who I am. That I am enough. (Although I often think about my first “serious” relationship, I remember being in awe that someone actually liked me, that someone actually wanted to be with me.)
It’s baby steps, friends.
I have fallen on my knees lots of times and danced with what “enough” means to me.
I’ve sought out ALL of the counselors.
I’ve learned what real friendship is.
I’ve learned what love felt like and looked like and most definitely what love is not. 😂
I’ve learned to look at what my part in all of those situations and experiences was, where my work was, where my responsibility is.
I’ve spent a lot of time with myself, learning who I am, what makes me happy and sad, what feels good and what doesn’t. I’ve learned that no matter what you look like, you are worthy of being loved.
I’ve learned: You are alive = You are worthy.
Nothing and no one should take that from you or make you question that you are enough.
If they do, I hope you find the courage from within to get out, to save yourself and do the work to know you are so much more than enough. You always will be too.
It’s unlearning everything you think you know or have been told and baby-stepping your way out ...
Into who you actually are.
Into what really is the truth for you.
Into happy, joyous and free.
Into anything you could ever imagine.
Because who you are is ENOUGH. And really, what more matters than that?
Vulnerably enough … xoxo,