Husband thought we should clean the basement. I personally believe the basement exists for the sole reason of having somewhere you don’t have to clean. We compromised meaning he brought up a couple boxes for me to look through. I found some long-lost treasures that quickly made their way to the Goodwill pile AND I discovered my old journals from middle school and early high school. I’ve asked Husband to start reading them to me before we go to bed. It’s been bonding to explore my childhood together and search for insights from my older and hopefully wiser self. Sometimes I root for my younger self and sometimes I tell myself to chill out. And sometimes I just feel really old.
My journals are not my only past writing, however. I’ve actually had two previous blogs: one was Xanga (anyone remember those?) from high school and another was Blogspot from when I first moved to Indianapolis in 2010. I checked them out this week and sadly, my Xanga posts are no more, but my old Blogspot is still up! With all of my 9 followers! I’ve enjoyed looking back and remembering my transition to a new stage of life just as I feel this blog documents my adjustment to marriage and life changes due to my PhD program.
My former self had some good thoughts, though, so I thought in honor of a new month, I would share an old post. Enjoy 🙂
I judged a speech and debate tournament this past weekend. It was a crazy flash back. Speech and debate used to be my thing. I traveled all over the country for competitions and even won scholarship money for winning speech tournaments. And I was such a nerd. As I looked into these young debater’s eyes as they shook my hand and thanked me for judging, I remembered what it was to be in the same shoes of acne, bad haircuts, and general awkwardness. Intelligence? Yes. Suave? No.
I used to wear crazy long skirts and have crazy long curly hair and drive a crazy old beat up van. I’ve run so far from that. Not saying that I have a perfectly polished wardrobe or incredible grace in social situations, but I try. I go to one of the best hair salons in the city. I get my nails done. I have Dolce & Gabbana glasses. I pierced my nose. I have a cute, red car. I have smart and beautiful friends. At least I have made progress.
Or have I? Not gonna lie, my biggest fear about my upcoming missions trip was being without the stuff that made the new “me”. I am terrified of running around Mexico in t-shirts and cargos with no hairdryer, nail salon, name brand clothes, cute jewelry, or rescue make up. I will have no Mac computer or grad school classes or cute guy friends to prove my worth. Take that all away and what do you get? The “awkward me” with acne, ill-fitting clothes, flat feet, thick glasses, and bad hair. It’s kind of like going to a party…naked. And that scares me. I thought that I never wanted to see that version of myself again. I thought I had buried her long ago in a lost high school yearbook.
This got me thinking about how much our society loves to cover up our insecurities and flaws. We bleach our hair, our teeth, and our facial features. We tan our bodies, wear shoes that hurt our feet and spend way too much money on clothes. We try to prove our worth by our accomplishments, possessions, and social status. But it isn’t working. We are in more debt, see more therapists, and pop more pills than ever before in history, but still manage to be the loneliest and most insecure, discontent people of all time.
At least in high school, I knew my worth did not come from how many times I went to the mall or how current I was on pop culture trivia or many dates I had been on in the past month. I knew that worth came only from God and that people trying to compete with one another for acceptance and value was just a sign of brokenness and a sign that something was desperately wrong so we needed Someone to save us and make us whole. We were created to be secure and safe and naked at one point in that foreign garden, but we messed it all up. Maybe I needed speech and debate and Mexico and insecurities to remind me, yet again, that perhaps I have been looking for approval from all the wrong places. Maybe I should not be so quick to hide from my former self—as long as we can skip looking over the scrapbook photos… 🙂