Here it is. The deep (well, deepish) post I promised you. Get comfy.
I've been reading a book by Beth Moore called So Long, Insecurity . Now, if you know me in real life, and know me as a musician, that might seem weird to you. I mean, I play flute--we're the divas of the orchestra world. However, if you've known me for a long time--long enough, say, to remember my terribly awkward pre-teen and teen years--this will seem just about right. (And about time, maybe?)
Yup. I deal with insecurity all the time. It looks a little different on me now than it used to, but it's still there. But not for long. (Mwah ha ha ha....) But before I get to that, let me own my insecurity for what it was, and what it is now.
When I was a kid, I was, shall we say, oversensitive. Which, I can see now, was a result of my own insecurity. Even the kindest, well-intentioned critique could send me to tears. I thought it meant I wasn't good enough. I was terrified my friends would find better friends. I lived in horror of being made fun of.
Then I got to high school. Somewhere in there, my wavy hair became full-on curly. Only no one told me. So I kept brushing my hair out as normal. And it got bigger. And fluffier. It was bad, people. So there's me: frizzy hair, the inability to apply make-up properly, and oh--I thought I was fat. (I wasn't, but try convincing a teenager of that.)
I was so nervous talking to boys. My insecurity in this area had some sad consequences (I came off as a boy-hater) and occasionally, some hilarious consequences. (That's for another post. It can be your reward for making it all the way through this one.)
I spent an inordinate amount of time comparing myself to other girls. Was I pretty enough? Talented enough? Even in my youth group, I worried I wasn't even spiritual enough.
This isn't to say that there were people in my life who were necessarily making me feel this way. Perhaps in some areas you could trace my feelings back to a specific person or event, but more often it was my own imaginings and oversensitivity.
Eventually, I made it to college. It was like a fresh start for me--no one knew me, I didn't have to be that shy frizzhead anymore. I'd figured out how to do my hair. I was a little more talkative. On the outside, it probably looked like I was shedding many insecurities. In some ways, perhaps I was. And then. Oh then. Senior year.
Senior year had some serious challenges, but some pretty cool things happened, too. I lost about 30 pounds. I learned to straighten my hair. I still remember the first time I walked into a crowded room with my new, silky straight hair. It was our homecoming concert, and I walked into the hall to warm up with the rest of the wind ensemble. Heads actually turned. This had never happened to me. Ever. (Or ever since, incidentally!) That's a pretty powerful feeling.
No longer were boys telling me I was "special" but not someone they wanted to date. Suddenly, they were interested. And I loved it. I was outgoing, talkative, and seemingly confident. And in lots of ways, I really was. But I hadn't licked the whole insecurity thing. Not for good.
When I met the Rev, I felt like the most special woman in the world. He had (and still does have) a way of making me feel that way. Wiggle Man, too. There is nothing like hearing Wiggles should "Mama!" from across the room, and see him come charging over to bear hug me. You'd think that would be enough to make any woman feel secure.
And, of course, it goes a long way. But insecurity is a deep down problem for me. Being skinny masked it for a while. But when the weight came back, so did the pit in my stomach that I wasn't good enough. Smart enough. Pretty enough. Talented enough. (Funny how for me, all those things can be tied to a number on the scale, or on a tag on my jeans.)
I'm not saying there was anything wrong with me being skinny--I was healthier (physically), and that was good. What I'm saying is it hid my deeper emotional (and yes, spiritual) problem for awhile. The problem was tying up all my worth as a woman, and as a daughter of God in my external appearance.
Looking back, I can see insecurity plaguing me even when I seemed to have it all. I could blame it on being a musician--after all, we're bred to compare ourselves to others. But I found myself then, as I find myself now, comparing myself to others. If I don't like my shoes, I realise I'm checking out everyone's shoes to see how I rank. I shake my head at the silliness of it all, even as I type this.
That brings me to now. Slowly but surely, I'm getting back in shape. Inside and out. I'm hoping that as my outside gets smaller, my inside gets bigger this time. (In a good way, not the crazed egomaniac kind of way.) That I remember who I am in Christ, and allow Him to give me my security instead of basing it on my circumstances. For me, this is a process, a lesson learned and learning, and a lifelong journey.