I stare at the mirror
I look at the empty canvas before me
The recently bought makeup is sprawled out all over my dresser
Today is the day I try a new look
Today is the day I walk into school and look like all the other girls
I vow I will do whatever it takes to fit in, to belong
Do I go with the blue eyeliner or the black?
Ugh, I hate this
I have no idea what I am doing!
How do other girls seem to know?
What if I put this on wrong and look like a clown?
I look back at the mirror
These eyes aren't gonna paint themselves
I go with blue hoping it is the right choice
It does bring out my eye color, whatever that means
My first stroke
Do I go all the way to the edge?
Why are my eyes so itchy?
I wonder what the boys will say when they see me?
I hear they like this sort of thing
Now for some mascara
I do the pumping action I see others do, but have no idea why
Do I keep my eyes wide open or half open?
Who came up with this torture device?
Is it supposed to be this painful?
Should I put this on the bottom lashes?
I can barely see them
Ugh, a smear!
Do I get a tissue and water?
Do I just lick my finger and rub?
This is stupid
I’m tempted to just wipe all this nonsense off
But I keep my goal in site, even if it is a slightly blurred one now
How much of this pink stuff am I supposed to put on?
Why is the brush so small?
Did they make this for baby cheeks?
I wonder if they will see me as one of the girls now?
Okay, that’s as good as it’s gonna get
I don’t look like a clown, so that’s a plus
Those art lessons my grandma made me take are paying off
Maybe today is the day I get invited to sit at the popular table
Naw, I’m aiming too high
I stare at the closet
I hate my clothes
Especially the purple corduroy pants
I vow to never wear stupid clothes again
I go with the most neutral, so I don’t stand out
I have found it’s best to blend in
Now for the hair
I wish my hair was thick and pretty like the other girls
Why do I have to have such thin hair?
This curling brush is painful
They couldn’t have made the bristles softer?
Now, do I curl under or over or sideways?
Ouch! This thing is hot and ridiculous
I step back and take stock
The mirror is not my friend and uncovers the truth
Before me, I see a scared girl desperately trying to find a place in an image-conscious, judgy world
I hope they don’t see that scared girl
Well, this is the best I can do
I hope it’s good enough
I hope I'm good enough
Is it supposed to be this difficult?
This was my dilemma one transformative morning while in the throes of middle school.
I would replay that horrible scene over and over in desperate longing to fit in with social norms. I had always been a tomboy and disliked all the “girly” things my peers seemed to love and take to like a duck to water. I felt more like a pig wallowing in mud. I acted as if the years of being mocked and made fun of by other kids didn’t hurt, but it did.
The moment I became conscious of my body is stored indefinitely in my memory banks. I was hanging out with a group of kids when an older girl made mention of my “mosquito bites.” I was clueless as to what she was talking about. That is until she pointed at my diminutive chest. I hadn’t realized there was something wrong. Shame filled my existence at that moment and the public display that I was not like the other girls, in yet another way, left me with no words.
Culture seems to be replete with dishonoring jabs that do no one any good.
Flash forward to adulthood, and not much had changed all those years later.
The evidence I point to, of my felt exclusion from the girls-club, was the immense struggle I had with knowing how to look like, think like, and act like my peers. I had improved on getting the outer image down, but my demeanor still betrayed me. I was intense, passionate, outspoken, athletic, and unconventional. I didn’t seem to possess the softer elements I noticed in other women.
Every women’s fellowship was an onslaught of appearance advice, house-keeping how-to’s, most-watched chick-flicks, and commiserating on the pains womanhood brought. The get-togethers just bolstered my belief that I was different, didn’t have a place, and would never belong.
My prayers and supplications were brought before God in a plea for help. I didn’t know how to break out of this lifelong pervasive belief that was imprisoning me in shame and disconnection. I took a chance on vulnerability and disclosed to a close friend my misgivings surrounding being a woman. She was the girliest girlfriend I had so perhaps her vibe could rub off on me.
That dear friend honored my openness and with great tenderness began to tell me all the ways I acted like a woman. In fact, every time we talked she would sneak in how much I sounded just like her, a woman. She encountered some serious resistance at first, but that didn’t dissuade her from chipping away at my defenses. Her efforts began to shift attitudes in me as I recognized God was answering my prayers.
God has a way of bringing revelation to the depths of our being like a spotlight piercing the darkness. And so began the process of renewing my mind towards His truth of who He intended and created me to be. I realized I was fighting against His gender choice for me and repented for disavowing His design.
That enlightenment stopped me cold in my tracks and I began to thank God for how He made me and that He made me. It took time for these newfound truths to sink in and change my world-view but it came, even if, at a snail’s pace. In time I was able to relate more and more to my female counterparts and as I pen this, I marvel at how far I have come by the grace of God.
Women don't have to look alike.
Women don't have to think alike.
Women don't have to act alike.
God designed womanhood and He gets to say what He intended for it. Meaning, it will look different on you than it does on me or any other female for that matter.
We have a slew of biblical models to glean from.
We see queens and paupers.
We see women at the forefront and women working behind the scenes.
We see warriors and those in a puddle at the feet of Jesus.
We see those with bold faith and those with persistent doubt.
We see them broken and we see them restored.
All shapes and sizes are written about for our discovery and encouragement. And every one of them is beautiful!
Don’t disavow His design, embrace it. You are precious and intended by God. God doesn’t make mistakes, only masterpieces!