Becoming comfortable with me

I have no idea when it began, but I have never been comfortable being me. I have never liked me, even as a kid, I think that has been true. I say, “I think,” because I don’t really have very many memories, just a lot of impressions, a few images, and knowledge about the facts and sequence of certain events.

Anyway, I have always felt apart and alienated from everyone whom I have encountered. This will probably surprise many people who have known me over the years. Others would nod their heads and think, “Yeah? Okay, tell me something I didn’t know.”

Even as young as five or six years old I felt there was something wrong with me, that I didn’t fit with my own mother or other kids my age. One memory that resurfaced for me sometime in the past year or two was from that time.

My mom wasn’t really what could be considered domestic but she was creative and somewhat crafty. She had a sewing machine and she went through a period where she made hand-made Kitchen Witch dolls from dried and shellacked apples for heads and stuffed nylon stockings for bodies.

This was not an activity that interested me much at all. I don’t recall being interested in much of anything other than reading books. I didn’t really have much contact with other kids. When I did get around them they played physical games I couldn’t keep up with or didn’t understand.

So, I didn’t connect well with my mom and couldn’t connect with other kids. Even at five and six years of age I felt disconnected and somehow less than those around me.

My mom had this friend, who was also a single mom. I think she and her son either lived with her sister or they both lived in apartments in the same building we were living in at the time. I think Billy was a few months younger than I, but seemed older to me. Who knows, it may have been the other way around.

He had blond hair, blue eyes, fair skin, and a smattering of freckles across the equator of his face. He was everything I wasn’t: athletic, outgoing, engaging, and if not popular, he at least knew how to relate to the other kids in the complex. I may have had a crush on him. I definitely envied him and admired him. I might even have wanted to trade lives with him.

I remember one day my mom was trying to teach me about making her dolls and Billy was there too. What I actually remember is me watching the two of them connecting and interacting with each other comfortably and with smiles, laughter, and interest. I held myself off to the side, feeling sulky, excluded, and hurt even as I knew I wasn’t joining in because I wasn’t interested.

I felt that he was better than me and just knew that my mom would prefer him as her son over having me as her daughter.

I was also very upset that neither one of them seemed to notice or pay attention to how excluded I felt. I decided that I didn’t matter to them and they didn’t care about me. So, I told myself to not care about them.

This was the pattern of the remainder of my childhood and most of my early adolescence. In late adolescence and into adulthood I would latch onto relationships (platonic and romantic) and get overly attached way too fast only to push the people away and just let them go.

I’ve always measured myself against others and found myself lacking: someone else was always better, smarter, more talented, athletic, capable, or better off than me. Alternately, I also wasn’t bad enough: someone was always suffering more, in deeper crisis, or more damaged than me.

I’m not sure when this started transitioning for me, possibly before I began this blog, but I don’t think so. I think it’s quite a recent development that has been in progress for the past few months. The realization occurred to me today that I’m starting to become comfortable being me.

God has been working on opening my eyes to the truth that the fact that He loves me means I have never been and never will be less than another human being, regardless of any status or distinction we humans utilize to categorize one another.

I had a rare opportunity to talk through some of the things that have happened recently with my son. It was amazing and restorative. He reminded me of God’s love for me and provision in our lives and reassured me of his own love for me.

At a church service the next day, I heard variations of some of the same thoughts and themes my son had expressed in the sermon.

What it boils down to for me is that there have always been these loud, staticky, interfering, internal voices drowning out the whispering voice of God’s love and acceptance. I need to learn to focus on the one and tune out the others.

Afterward, during the soup and sandwich potluck, I discovered I was engaging in conversation with a woman I’ve always admired and wanted a friendship with as though we were friends, on the same level, as equals and not me being less than her. We even talked about that for a minute. It was quite liberating to have that realization. What a gift from God.

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14 comments

  1. Every step matters. I’ve often felt invisible and forgotten–some of that is my own fault, some isn’t. But I know I’m the only one who can make myself seen and heard. Keep reaching out, Kina.

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    1. Mary,
      You are so right that we are the only ones who can step through out curtain of invisibility that separates us from others. I just want you to know that the encouragement and support that I have received from yourself and others has helped me to grow in strength and courage to move that curtain away a little bit more.

      Thank you for your continued presence and for sharing yourself here.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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  2. I have the staticy internal voices, also – and hearing from God the way so many other’s claim to, and the way I have ALWAYS wanted to, eludes me. I’ve been told that God IS speaking, but I just can’t hear Him. Yeah, well, I have tried to rectify that but haven’t gotten there, and somehow think if He knows me so well, He knows what it takes to have me hear Him (like maybe a telegram or, if that is too extreme, maybe a blinding light on the road to Damascus? Doesn’t hurt to ask. :-)) So I am listening to you, and interested to hear how you’re doing with that – maybe I can learn something! You are an encouragement, and I so enjoy your writing.

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    1. Thank you very much. As far as hearing from God, it is definitely a hit or miss proposition for me. About 15 years ago I went through a study called Experiencing God. Henry Blackaby (so?) was the primary author. That study helped me to understand that God meets us where we are at and gets His message to us in a variety of ways.

      The biggest problem in me hearing Him has been my misunderstanding Him, his nature, and who I am to him. Whenever I act as if I have to do the work, which is most of the time, I forget to let Him do what His Word and promises have told me He wants to do.

      God loves you, regardless of what your life experiences have been, irrespective of whether or not you are or have been a good or bad person.

      That message and understanding of God’s nature gets lost, twisted, and distorted from our experiences and interactions within this damaged world and the things we learn to believe about ourselves, others, and God.

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    1. Thank you Kat. I honestly believe that it has been because of this blog and the encouragement and support I’ve received from those who have chosen to comment that I’ve been able to reach this point. I am profoundly grateful for each of you. I am also greatly honored and frequently surprised when I get feedback that reading what I am writing is benefitting more than just me.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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  3. I love this post Kina. I think you voiced something we all feel. That we don’t quite measure up to the next person. Funny thing is that a lot of the time they may feel the same way about us. A few times people have said to me that admire certain things about me and I find myself thinking what the heck are they talking about?? You know what I mean? I think I admire the strengths in others that I don’t have but we can’t all be gifted in everything, can we? so that’s why we need each other and why community is so important to me: where I am weak or not talented, someone else is…

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    1. Diana,
      Thank you for that.perspective. It’s really the kind of thing my friend and I were talking about yesterday. She said something that really struck me as profoundly sad and true about how we view ourselves. I had to ask her to repeat it and even now I can’t grasp it exactly. It was something about how at one point she regretted that she existed because that meant there weren’t more bridge builders in the world. Actual architects and builders of physical bridges.

      This is a woman who has always epitomized what I wanted to be, at least from my external and limited viewpoint. She’s college educated and has a professional background in social services. She has a solid marriage to a university educator, and is in the process of raising four apparently happy, well-adjusted, and strong-willed children.

      Just about every other time I’ve spoken with her I’ve been in some sort of emotional & psychological crisis and always wound up blubbering and somehow talking about my lack.

      Yesterday, we laughed at our follies and that of our pastor’s. We spoke honestly about how we viewed ourselves and each other. I realized during that conversation that I’m finally beginning to just accept myself and others as we are and be okay with it.

      It’s good to know that others feel and experience the world in ways similar to me, even as I begin to understand how good it is that we are not each other and each have our own individual strengths and weaknesses and that’s okay too.

      Thanks for being part of my journey.

      Be well,
      Kina

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      1. I would have been delighted to have been part of that conversation! Our friends are a great source of strength for us, aren’t they? I mean they know us well and still love us. What an amazing gift.

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        1. It was a good conversation. The context of our friendship has always been within the context of the times we encountered each other during church gathering times. We are Facebook friends, but neither of us are very interactive, she much less than I. We have exchanged email addresses and phone numbers but neither of us have used them much.

          So, it’s rather quite a miracle that we have reached this level of friendship. I guess I can be grateful for the fact of my ability to share and talk about the raw and deep issues I struggle with to near strangers, lol.

          It was really nice to have an actual dialogue where our two voices were the only ones speaking. The internal narrative that has almost run continually telling me what the other person really was thinking of me and how I could never be on the same level was silent.

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  4. What a beautiful and honest story, thank you for sharing. I had a similar journey as a child but mostly love who I am now. I wish you continued success on your journey of love and acceptance!

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    1. Minette,
      Thank you for visiting and commenting. It’s good to meet others who have had similar experiences and have come through them. It bolsters my hope and offers encouragement that I’m on the right track.

      Be well,
      Kina

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