In MOPS yesterday, we talked about the topic “Courage to Be Too Much.” Too much. Those are some loaded words for me. Upon hearing the topic, my first reaction was NO. Why would I want to be too much?
But as our leader, Michelle, read the devotional from the book, I identified a little too much, tears running down my face. As the other girls listened politely, I tried to not shake with sobs.
Because, man, I feel like I am too much.
I’ve always felt not-normal. Now I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but when I was 12 and spontaneously burst into tears in choir class when I didn’t make All-County Chorus, I was beyond humiliated. I’ve always seemed to have more emotions than I can hold in one body.
I don’t have fears. I have things that bring on full-on panic when they cross my mind. When I feel joy, it is wonderful, and I remember those feelings a very long time. But I remember my lows, too. I remember pretty much every time I’ve ever said the wrong thing and hurt someone – on accident or not. I can find myself swimming in the guilt and shame of something that happened 15 or 20 years ago now.
Never a girl with lots of close friends, I’ve been thrilled to have one dear friend during every phase of my life. I’m too scared to unburden me on friends. Will they still love me if I truly expose the mess I am? If I cry way too early in our relationship? If I confess the depression journey and the foreclosure and the other reasons I carry around pain? What if she thinks I should feel more shame about these things I’ve become adjusted to and acquainted with?
Since I hit 30, I like to think I’ve become more accustomed to myself and more accepting of my own body, emotions, and life. I still feel like a mess. But I easily acknowledge that I am a mess and that most other people are, too. We just vary in our skill at hiding it; I have none.
And I’ve stopped trying to hide it at all. Nothing makes me feel more uncomfortable than trying to have a real conversation with someone whose life seems perfect. My tribe is women who will admit they struggle, they panic, they fear, they sometimes want to lock the door of the bathroom and eat a Snickers. We need truth. And we need each other.
There’s nothing worse than a world where you never hear, “Me too!”
It takes courage to be OK with yourself. To be willing to be a “stranger and alien” in this world for your beliefs, or to accept your wild frizzy mess of hair and lack of style and say, I AM STILL A WONDERFUL PERSON. (And by your, I of course mean my.) It is brave to share your vulnerabilities with someone and face rejection. It is wise to let this happen gradually instead of with, say, the woman at the drive-thru window. But in order to hear, “me too,” you have to share some “me.”
Let’s go forth and be brave with our messy, lovely selves.