Are you with me?
I don't think I ever asked for this, don't think I wrote in scribbled crayon letters, right below requests for light up tennis shoes and pillow pets, "Dear Santa, Please make me a punch line." Perhaps, in the comments section, my mom can even back me up on this. But none the less, it happened. Whether from mixed-up relationships, anti-social tendencies, negativity, geographical location or air pressure, I became a cutter of emotional proportions. To set the record straight, I am a tall, smiley 24-year-old who is married, gainfully employed and somewhere in the middle weight-wise when it comes to big girls. I have three loving dogs, a massive and loving family (and family-in-law), supportive friends, a good sense of humor. I'd like to think I'm kind to others—though David may dispute that ;)— but it's kindness, compassion to myself that I struggle with. I am not in denial about who I am or where I am, I acknowledge these things hourly, as the minutes pass me by, and I accept that I am not a failure, a flunky, floozy or a fatty. (Sorry, that just felt right.) I am also not in denial about the way I treat myself internally, and how true it is that I need to change. Because for too long, I have taken that self-consciousness and turned it all into a joke—Oh, it's no big deal, it's fine, I don't care—when it is a big deal, it's not fine, and I do care, a lot. I can't call the other person on this or that issue, so I will just make a joke of myself.
No need to feel inferior: I am a frumpy, oversized 24-year-old with a boring life, 100 bucks to her name and a dead-end job. I might as well be 50! Ha!
Whatever you have accomplished is far more important than what I've done: Everyday I go into a job I'm not crazy about and let those cowboys walk all over me! Ha!
You look great in that new outfit, I love your shoes: Here comes disheveled Lia, holes in the elbows of her sweaters, holes in her shoes, stains on her shirt. Ha!
Your opinions are probably more informed and significant than mine: I'm just here, taking orders, doing what's expected of me, staying in line. Go ahead, I'm listening! Ha!
It's not funny anymore.
Self-consciousness, on a surface level, could seem like the most opposite of self-involved or selfish, but lately I can't help but feel they are more similar than you might imagine. You think of the self-conscious girl—knobby-kneed, wearing glasses, big teeth, awkward—and then the self-involved girl—impossibly thin, white teeth, good hair, graceful—and that might be an accurate depiction in most cases, but that doesn't mean the thin graceful one is any more selfish than the other. You see, all these years I have been acknowledging my self-consciousness and rejecting the idea that I could also be selfish. The two are on opposite sides, right?
Not so fast. How can I honestly say that being self-conscious—everything you own makes you look frumpy, why can't you be a better sister, your hair sucks, why can't your stomach be more toned, you don't get what you deserve because you won't stand up for yourself (because you suck)—is not just all about me. It's not about struggling to achieve world peace, or shuttling orphans from war zones, it's about how I feel about me. How other people respond to me, how that, in turn, makes me feel about what they might feel about me. It's the "me" show. I take things too personally, because, well, my self is the number one concern on my mind. I can't make a big change, because my own oversized body is sitting on my potential.
Am I making any sense?
Can a gal be her own major problem and the solution, too? I know I need to make a change, to the find confidence, self-worth and pride that is inside of me, and let it all flourish. But first I have to get out of my own way. I promise I don't suffer from multiple personalities, I understand that this is not a me-myself-and-I situation, but it sort of is. Because it's no one's fault but mine, and the person it is hurting most is me.
I'm ready to stop feeling sorry for myself all of the time, like all of the eyes in a room are on me— scrutinizing everything I do, that each of my coworkers is slumping down into his chair and sighing at my ineptitude. I need to stand up taller, maintain eye contact, be proud of my accomplishments, my wit, even my figure. Embrace all of it, embrace myself.
I am worthy, I am no punch line. A girl with a few jokes, yes, but a walking punch line? No, not ever.