Wednesday, December 25, 2013

When Being {REAL} isn't pretty - Part II

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They are all emotions.

They are all sins.

But they are all also REAL.

I'm a REAL person, only human, with REAL emotions.

As ugly as it is, I'm in that pit tonight.
I'm trying my best to stay REAL - true to myself, while also being Christlike in my actions & reactions.

I have this family member who really despises me. Says that it's me that despises them. Has been a part of my family for at least 8 years & this has been an issue most of that time.
Quite frankly, I feel "damned if I do, damned if I don't."

I'm angry because I only get to see my brother once a year. I want to spend time with him & the rest of my family with fun, love, & laughter - no drama. This person sees that there is drama by simply making a point NOT to speak to me. Everyone can see & feel the tension even when I do my best to ignore it.

I'm not jealous of this person, but I am jealous for something that I feel is lacking - quality time with my family & the ability to NOT care what this person thinks of me. Because truthfully, no matter how much this person's words & actions hurt me, I still care that they don't like me. I wish I didn't care - life would be easier if I just didn't care.

I'm frustrated for all the reasons I already mentioned PLUS I thought we'd worked through this two years ago. I'm tired of trying quite honestly. I think adults should act like adults & I'm fed up with juvenile behavior. I spoke "Hello" (or maybe it was "Hey") when I arrived today & was completely ignored.

I wouldn't say I'm prideful about this situation, but it is easy to feel justified & I think those two things are close. I feel like I've more than done my part & that communication works both ways. Why should I have to be the one to make the extra effort when it isn't returned? 

While I feel like my actions, reactions, & emotions are justified, I still want to be sure I'm handling my end of this thing as best I can.

Believe me when I say, I have searched myself over this!

I have asked...
"am I a hateful person?"

"is this my fault/responsibility?"

"am I jealous & reacting accordingly?"

"could I have done (or be doing) something differently?"

When I say I've searched myself, I'm not kidding. I really did some prayerful searching more than once. 
I know from experience that being dishonest with yourself is just a recipe for disaster. 

My honest answer to all those questions was "no."

This person and I even had an email conversation a couple of years ago & I thought we'd made a lot of progress. I opened up and shared that family gatherings & crowds are really hard for me. I'm not a hugger either & it's not because I'm trying to be snobby or standoffish or I'm a germa-phob. I'm none of those things. 

I'm a shy person & I have been since birth.
I don't like being the center of attention & walking into a room full of people is uncomfortable at best.  I cannot imagine that it will ever be otherwise for me; it's just part of who I am.  I'm not rude, but just like a shy child, it takes me a few minutes to "warm up."

I've tried to get to know this person, because as I said, relationships of any kind are a two way street. I completely expect the return courtesy from this person & I don't think that's expecting too much!
Basically what I'm saying is, "Please don't judge me as snobby or rude when you know nothing about me & you haven't even bothered to try to know me."

I really try not to reciprocate the treatment that I get. 

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I learned The Golden Rule at a young age & I SO want to live it. I just never knew it could be so hard.

My REAL human feelings on the matter have been stuffed down for so long & I wonder how long I can hold them in.
I'm not an angry person, but I can only take so much before I speak my mind.
I don't want to explode because I know it will be REAL, but it will also be UGLY.

This isn't someone I can separate myself from or sever ties with.
I would never ask my family to choose sides, but seriously? Sometimes you just want somebody to stick up for you & ask the other person, "Hey! What the heck is your problem?"

It's a tough spot for all of us I suppose.
It's REAL. It's UGLY. I'm hoping & praying it doesn't get REAL UGLY before it gets worked out. 

In fact, my prayer has been ALL about this person & their needs, & very little about my own (although I'd be lying if I said my feelings weren't wrapped up in it a little). 
I am trying my best to love this person - hard as it may be.

I've come to realize that most of us know very little about love.

REAL love means caring for the other person & putting his or her needs above your own. It means doing this with no thought of reciprocation.  It means doing this in the face of hate.  It means doing this in every situation, no matter what!

Lord, please help me love with no conditions!

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friday, December 20, 2013

When Being {REAL} isn't Pretty...

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Lest you think this is a post about how a Barbie doesn't look like a REAL woman, I'll go ahead and tell you now - it's not! But it is about being {REAL}...

I've spent a lot of my time and energy the past few years learning about myself.
Trying to accept myself for who I am, all flaws included, and bare that {REAL} version of myself to others even when it's difficult and uncomfortable.

I read this book (maybe you have too?) and among others that I've read in the same time period, it radically changed the way I think about and live my life.  The way I relate to other people, the things I care about or care less about, my ability to leave the house without my hair and make-up done.


Yes, you read that correctly.  Until this year, I could count on one hand the number of times I left the house without my hair and makeup done to my satisfaction.  Even to drive my kids to school, I would do at least enough that I thought I might not scare anyone!

You can laugh - honestly, it's funny to me now.

What's not funny is that everyday is still a struggle.

Everyday I even CONSIDER leaving the house without makeup on, I have to force myself to do it.

Truth be told, the days that I cross the threshold without at least foundation and/ or powder on my face?
They are seriously few and far between.

Who knows why I REALLY feel like I can't do this.
I mean, I could give you a zillion reasons why, in my head, leaving without "my face on" is a bad idea.

Last week, (or maybe the week before, they all run together lately) I was in Target shopping.  I hadn't been feeling well and a terrible cold and cough was making the rounds through my household.
Yes, my hair and makeup were done (albeit not as well as most days).
I wasn't dressed as well as I might normally be, but I didn't think I looked like a bum either.

Until this girl walking towards me gave me the head to toe sweep with her eyes.
I saw the entire thing as if in slow motion and I can still visualize it easily now.

While I try to discourage others from assuming they know what someone is thinking, my guess is, anyone who saw her face knew what she was thinking.
Her expression said it all.

She may as well have screamed, "WHAT are you wearing?" "Did you look in the mirror before you left home today?"

At the time, I kept walking.  After all, I had things to do and I didn't want to be there any longer than absolutely necessary.

Since then, I've replayed the scene in my mind many times.
And my heart is heavy for my pre-teen daughter and all the other girls out there in this world.

I don't want my daughter to be the one who thinks it's ok to look at another person that way and I don't want her to be the one on the receiving end of the look.

Just what are we instilling in our daughters?
Are we telling them that God made them beautiful? Just the way they are?
Or are we telling them (with our actions, more than our words) that other things make us beautiful?


Ann writes great words on this subject and I have little to add - certainly couldn't say it better.

BUT {there's always a but}, I say this as a precaution to myself as much to anyone...
the society we live in, WE are part of.
And as part of it, we must take responsibility for the daughters with low self-esteem, both the shy ones and the looks-down-her-nose-at-others-to-make-herself-feel-better ones.

Taking responsibility doesn't mean taking all the blame.

It does mean taking the initiative to do better.  To correct the situation.

I think, if we want to make it better we have to pray earnestly about how God would have us see ourselves, present ourselves to others, and model godliness to our daughters.

Their little eyes are watching and what they see goes further than what we say.

My son likes getting his picture taken even less than I do!