Let me preface this post by saying that I am NOT fishing for compliments. I am only sharing my feelings and hoping that someone comments that they understand or feel or have felt the same way. That is my disclaimer.
A few weeks ago I went looking for a picture of a friend of mine from high school to post on his birthday (thanks Gabe for bringing all this up). And while I was trying to find his picture, I perused my photo albums from high school that I hadn't looked at in a long time. And I was struck with something profound. Are you ready?
When I think back to high school, I do have fond memories, but over all, think of it as a very depressing, stressful, not fun time. I remember feeling ugly, lonely, struggled with not having a boyfriend or getting asked to dances. I remember dealing with all the teenage girl stuff of trying to be popular, but as a Christian, knowing that wasn't important. But looking at my photo album, I realized I was pretty cute, and I had a great smile, and was smiling in my pictures really big, like I was having the best time of my life! My mom always told me I was pretty, but that didn't count. Don't get me wrong. Seventh grade, that was another story. I was ugly then. But high school, I really wasn't that bad. And I had tons of pictures with tons of friends. So why do I think back to that time in my life as depressing and ugly and lonely?
And now, I'm almost 36, and still struggle with my self-confidence. I still think I'm ugly, even more now with an extra 20 pounds and stretch-marks that my 3 sweet gifts have left me. I still struggle with thinking I don't have a lot of friends. I know who I could call in the middle of the night and that gives me great comfort. But its so hard to actually do things with friends when you have kids and jobs and husbands, so I still feel friendless sometimes. And now, as a mom and wife, struggle with not feeling like I can keep up with this house and laundry and my job, and still do the work I need to do with my relationships with my husband and children and God. And I struggle with wanting to dress cuter, but not wanting to be high maintenance or spending more than I need to on myself.
As a believer, I know that God has made me in His image with a great plan for my life. And most days I feel like I am right in the middle of it, and that brings me joy. But years from now will I look back at pictures of myself from these days and think the same things, that I really was cute, and happy and content, and yet remember these days as hard and ugly and stressful and lonely? Is this just something that women all deal with? No matter what we look like or how many friends we have, we are destined to feel lonely and ugly? I don't know if this makes any sense at all. I tried to talk to my sweet husband about it, but I don't think he could follow my train of thought. And when you ask your husband about how you look, its kind of a trap. Was I ugly then or am I ugly now? Yeah, he's not going to enter into that conversation.
So, what's the answer to the question that I really haven't posted clearly? I don't know. I do know that I am so blessed with my husband, children, home, and job. I am blessed with enough money to buy the clothes I need, to get haircuts when I need them, and to spend the time at home that I need to. I do know I need to stop sometimes with the worrying about getting things done and just sit down with my kids and make memories. I want to look back at pictures of myself from these days and smile at how happy I look. I want to be at peace with myself. Something to ponder. Of course, there aren't that many pictures of me! I take them all. Another problem of being a mom I guess!