Since I was around 10 years old, I have been afraid of people judging me. Afraid that they wouldn't like the real me, when in reality, I didn't even know who that was... And frankly, I don't think I really wanted to.
I was a little girl who was terrified that I might actually be as "weird" as I felt inside...
When you're little you possess the precious, innocent ability to believe that everybody is good at heart.
You never stop to think that different people have different opinions, feelings, likes and dislikes. You just think that as long as you're nice to them, they'll be nice to you.
Up until I was around nine, I was raised in a cushy environment so to speak.
I went to a little country church where I knew everyone and I never had to feel like I was being judged, I was home schooled by my Mom with my (then) two younger siblings...I had lots of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, you name it, who I knew loved me unconditionally. That was my world, and I never thought anything else of it.
My word changed when my family switched from that small, friendly church, to a big church filled with hundreds of people. It was in that environment that my eyes were opened to reality. Yes, I discovered prejudice in church. That's a bit sad isn't it? Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to talk trash about this church. It was certainly not all bad..
Week after week, I would go to church and try to fit in. Try not to make anyone dislike me.
After about a year, I started to develop a full out fear of people. I would be nervous about the next Sunday starting when I got home Sunday night. I feigned sickness so I wouldn't have to go be around all those people I felt were judging me. I would get so nervous I would shake, and sweat like crazy and nearly make myself throw up.
Everywhere I went I felt like a million eyes were on me, and that I would never ever be good enough to measure up to the people's standards. It was like being under a microscope.
I wouldn't talk to anyone. Especially teenagers, because I felt that they were such high and lofty beings, and a little pest like me didn't deserve to waste their time.
I did have a small hand full of friends. But none of them could replace the one that I had left behind at my old church. The best friend who had literally always been there... Ever since I was born.
Around the time we left that church we were going through a faze where for whatever reason, we had grown apart. So we never communicated with each other after I left.
Which meant that I was literally all by myself in this situation... except for I wasn't. God was with me the whole time, guiding me towards the end of the tunnel... I just couldn't see that through the darkness.
At this point I would like to recognize some of the people who kept me going to church every Sunday and Wednesday The wonderful, amazing, sunshiny people who I genuinely looked forward to seeing.
I had some of the most incredible Sunday school teachers... If you're reading this, you know who you are!
I can't think of most of my Sunday school teachers without smiling. They were just that awesome!
Then there were those people who I rarely, if ever, talked to but still looked up to them as if they were super heroes... A few of those people have passed away since we left sadly, but I feel very privileged to have been able to be in the presence of such amazing people!
Also, to those few friends I made... Though they're most likely never going to read this, thank you! You have no idea how important you being there was to me...
Around the time we first started going to this church, I got a new baby brother... And a couple of years later, a new baby sister. This baby sister happened to have caught whooping cough when she was very little, so until after she was better (like, waaay after... like a month or more...) we basically never went to church.
After my sister was allowed to be around people we got back into church, and I fell even deeper into my little dark hole.
Luckily, not long after we returned, my parents decided to try to find another church.
So we tried, and tried... and tried... several churches, and none of them felt like home.
Each one felt the same as the last for me... And none of them made me comfortable enough to come out of my shell, which I had built up through the years..
Finally, we revisited our original church, and nothing felt more like home to me...
Everything was the same as when we left. And to me, it couldn't have been more perfect.
I wasn't afraid to talk to people. I wasn't afraid that they would judge me.
Best of all, I got my best friend back... As a matter of fact, we had never been as close as we are now.
At this point I was closer to the end of the tunnel than I ever thought I would be, but I wasn't out of the woods yet. There was still the task of chipping that fear inflicted shell off little by little, and with each layer, finding out who I really am.
A couple of years ago, I discovered a movie called "The ballet shoes". Upon watching this movie, I fell in love with the art of dance. I wanted to learn everything I could about it. I wanted to soak it up like a sponge on a wet surface.
I decided I wanted to take dance classes. Actually, I decided I wanted to be a dancer.
It took about two years for my parents to enroll me in dance classes.
After a single private lesson, which went pitifully, I began classes.
Imagine a blind folded turtle, trying to play ballerina.
That was me.
It's not that I wasn't trying. It's that I wasn't trying as hard as I could have. I wanted to believe that I was. But I wasn't. I know it.
In a class of six girls (including me), I felt the familiar need to fit in. I never let anyone really see my true self... Who I really was.
I luckily was befriended by three girls. Two from my ballet class, and one who took a different class but would always talk to me before classes started.
Week after week, I discovered that dance class determined my feelings and attitude towards the rest of the week. Meaning, when I felt like I was terribly awful, my week went terribly awful. When I felt like I was okay, me week went okay.
The thing is, I hardly ever felt that I did "Great!".. Hence I didn't have all that many spectacular weeks.
I felt like I should be so much better than I was. I was so hard on myself!
I was making unrealistic goals, which I was unwilling to work to achieve.
After the recital was over, I did feel like I did pretty good.
I realize now that I should recognize that I had never actually danced before. It was my first year.
I realize now that I did very well considering all things.
Over the summer break I've had a lot of time to discover.
I've rediscovered my love for art.
I've discovered my love for Korean music, culture and language
(Alright, I actually discovered that late last year... still...).
I've discovered that I don't have to be a professional to dance. Although it still remains my dream, I understand that if it was meant to happen, it will happen, and if not, then God will lead me where I'm meant to go.
I've realized that as long as I'm creating, I'm happy.
I've realized that Inside of me is a bubbly, happy, quirky, unique, lovable girl who I don't need to be ashamed of.
I've realized that other peoples judgments only can effect me if I let them. What they think about me, will never ever have any effect on me.
I've realized that I don't have to constantly guard my heart to keep from getting hurt.
I've realized that I now have a desire to share happiness with the world, instead of hiding in a corner.
I've realized that life is beautiful.
Everything happens for a reason.
Nobody is perfect.
If you are going through a tunnel, let me just tell you that all tunnels come to an end, and when that end comes you will see that the light had always been shining, even when you couldn't see it.
If you think nobody loves you, remember that I love you from the bottom of my heart, and that Jesus loves you even more!
If you're going through a tough time and need prayer,
Comment on this post, Message me on Facebook, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be happy to pray for you, and support you all that I possibly can!
You are a beautiful human being who was put on this earth for a reason!
Always remember this!
I love you... Yes, YOU!