Compliments make me uncomfortable, especially when tied to my physical appearance.
I scurry into my shell like a turtle when it senses danger. That or I flip the script with the speed of a Bugatti (Veyron Super Sport), 0 – 60 in 2.4 seconds. In that moment, I could very well be a pronghorn antelope running from its predator, or Twista (Chicago rapper), spitting bars with speed lightning to reroute attention. Mostly though, I write if off.
It was two-pronged. On the one hand, I weaved attention like it was a plague. Yet, I craved it almost as much as I do white bread, the evidential villain in the fight for abs.
Here is why…
I was sexually molested as a child by an uncle. It wasn’t long or drawn out, but it was enough time to poke holes in my veil of innocence. It left an invisible crack, which only widened the older I got.
I told on him (like a child would), but I was silenced, and then told to remain silent. No one was to hear of this she said, it would destroy the family.
What does one confused and hurting child matter right? I knew then that I should have gone to my mother first, but my child self thought it was too late.
It soon became a trend. A lesson teacher here, a mentor there. It seemed like this beautiful thing only attracted flies, or more appropriately, vultures.
Growing up, I was somewhat of a love magnet. Folks often caught a mild case of hysterics. It seemed my face had admirable qualities. Everyone loved my face, so beautiful they said. Just so beautiful. I blossomed rather fast. I had full formed boobs when my friends still had dots. A child in a woman’s body. I guess that didn’t help. But there was a glaring disconnect for me here. Why would anyone want to tarnish something seen as beautiful? And so began my journey to disassociate myself from beauty. The compromise was frenemies.
As instructed though, silence. I remained silent.
The actions of one man took me years to sort through. He made his sickness my mess, and left me with adult problems I was ill-prepared for. He went on to blame the devil, the devil made me do it he said. While I went on to blame God.
Your brain does not connect the dots immediately, but the further along in life you go, the more visible the pattern gets. The trust issues muddled with the need to please. The desire to hide, mixed up in the need to be seen. The love/hate relationship with self. The feelings of unworthiness. The years of grieving a loss deemed too taboo to share. Forcing my warped views into rose coloured glasses to fit in. I was bridled by all of it, and soon found myself in relationships and situations I had no business being in. Relationships that further cemented that I was not worth more than cents. But my days, was I ever so good at putting on a show. My beautiful face never showed the ugliness I felt within, and I never intended to take that mask off.
Then the same God I blamed walked in, ever so gentle, ever so kind, ever so loving. Though I could not see myself in the words He spoke, He remained patient. You are beautifully and wonderfully made He said. Then why…? was always my response. I am your God He said. Then where were you? I said. You are loved He said. Really? How can I be when…? I said. That was the invitation He needed to paint a different picture for me.
Ya, I painted God with the same brush I did my uncle, and the others. The quintessential male, coming in to take over. But no, God is not man. He was not appalled by my scared nakedness. In fact, the more layers I peeled off, the more loved I was. He saw the carcass of a child killed by a broken world, and breathed life into it. For a long while, I was stalled, chained to harness of unforgiveness. Then God. This new life that beckoned for a release. Then God. This new love that cascaded down, overpowering every self-deprecating thought that had me bowed over in guilt and shame. Then God. This amazing God that called purpose out of a place of pain.
What is sickening is how much of an epidemic this is. My story is not unique, and will probably rate as the least gory of the bunch.
What I do know is this. None of this was God’s plan. His plan is always good, so much so that nothing is too broken for Him to bring back to life. No matter how dark it gets, light always prevail.
The world is the world. All it knows to do is take. It’ll bleed you all the way down to ground zero if you let it. But in my experience, right there, right in that place of resounding nothingness is a God who is in the business of restoration. He is always ready, always willing, and always able.
I still struggle with receiving compliments, but that’s more so ‘cuz I’m as humble as a lamb. 😊🙃
Dear Lord, I am here today as your daughter. The one you called, the one you chose. Thank you for the life of grace that you have called me to. Thank you for the hearts that you have placed in my path. Let my words be a healing balm to all that read them. Let your unfailing love overwhelm them with peace. Help them see that they are worthy, and loved beyond the boundaries of this world. I know Lord that you are stronger that any storm, and though the issues of life weigh a ton, they are but a speck of dust to you. Have mercy on our souls Lord, and please continue to do what only you can, healing brokenness in hearts, and homes across the world. Thank you for restoration Lord, for giving us back the pieces that were once stolen, and loving us to a place of wholeness. I stand on your promise Lord that we will see your goodness in the land of living, and declare it so in Jesus name. Amen.
ᴘɪᴄᴛᴜʀᴇ- @ᴘɪɴᴛᴇʀᴇꜱᴛ, ʙᴜᴛ ɪ ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ ɪᴛꜱ ᴏʀɪɢɪɴᴀʟʟʏ ʙʏ ꜱᴇʀɢᴇᴊʙᴀɢ.