Monday, 8 June 2015

That Humbling Thorn

I just had my 20 year grad reunion. (I know, I know, hard to believe.) I'll tell you, I was pleased as punch it wasn't in 2013. Only two years difference. But I am certain the whole venture would have been incomparable if I hadn't gone through the recent struggles that seemed to cement the journeys that began nine years ago with marriage and intensified with motherhood, with all the roller coaster rides in between through to this day. 

I've probably changed more over the years than the average person. Though I'm sure I need to give others more credit for their improvements and their growing up. I'm not saying I'm anything special. To say I needed plenty of work is an understatement. 

Two years ago I was finally learning to love who I was and what I could do. This was following a very rough year of postpartum depression. My search for a path out of dismay led me through diet and activity changes that really augmented my influence on my own health. (Really, there was a time I thought healthy meant adding veggies to Kraft Dinner.) I became physically fit and gained energy. And as I felt better about how I looked I realized that I had actually criticized who I had been too much (like everyone else does to themselves). I went from feeling that I used to be ugly to maybe thinking that I've been acceptable, or even more than good enough, all along. (Maturing is so nice. Imagine having confidence in high school?) 

But pride is a very slippery slope. I began to become obsessed with my workout routine. Sure the endorphins were exhilarating. And quite stress releasing (I am married, after all). But so was the weight loss. If I had stayed in that state of mind I would have become quite fixated on how I would look to those who attended my 20 year grad reunion. I would have compared my weight to the other ladies. I would have probably had a melt-down trying to choose appropriate attire that I would feel comfortable wearing that would show off the efforts that I had made to be trim and muscular.

With all that personal focus, what else would I have been worried about? I know that 20 years ago I thought proper grammar use was an indicator of all-encompassing value in a person. And I was controlled by the idea that admitting any shortcomings in any area was announcing that one was a complete failure. And we won't even get started on past hair issues. 

Would I have even attended? These anxieties were enough in the halls of high school. Who needs them in their late thirties?

Maybe my tremendous insecurity was actually rooted out of my judgment of everyone else?

But I now know that value comes in all forms. People have many different purposes. Many. Different. Purposes. And in order to fully serve those purposes they can't be everything. 

I can't be everything. And that's okay. And because of an injury, I couldn't be that girl who competed in mud runs and races. I couldn't brag about my ability to do push ups or run steep hills or climb the monkey bars. Those were things of the past. That thorn in my side had humbled me. 

Instead, I was able to just enjoy being with people I went to school with without worrying about what they thought about me. I wasn't the smartest or slimmest or prettiest or the "est" of any category. But that wasn't even on my mind.

(Seriously. It wasn't. Tell that to 18-year-old me.)

And as the weekend concluded I was kind of thankful for the injury that put my daily exercising to a halt. Maybe one day I'll be healthy enough to get back into it to some extent. (For sure. I gotta get running again.) But I won't be comparing the results to how anyone else appears.

Life isn't about being pretty enough or smart enough or having nice enough hair. It's about enjoying people. Sure, it's easier to do certain things with those who are like minded in a particular area. But I like having people in my life who encompass all the different ways this universe can be experienced. 

Experienced with people. Not in comparison to them. 

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