The Day My Daughter Told Me She Was Weird
We were twirling in the grassy field in our neighborhood, Lila burst into giggles and Everly looked at her sister, threw her head back and cackled. We rolled on the ground and looked at the cloudless sky. Perfectly content to just be with each other. We will be forever held there, timeless in my mind.
As we gathered up our things, Lila went to look for another pinecone treasure to take with us, a trophy of our walk together. She said with emphasis that caught my attention,
"I want to get a lot of pinecones, okay? I know it's weird. I'm weird."
I was taken back, sadness filled my heart and I knelt down and called her to me, "Who told you you're weird, honey?"
But, I already knew the answer.
She said she didn't know, but I was all too aware of where those words came from. I had said them a million times.
Almost as my mantra. Unknowingly, quickly, frequently. To the point where my three year old daughter had taken the identifier and applied it to herself. I'm weird.
There's been this feeling in my gut as far back as I can remember. It just sort of accompanies me everywhere I go. I notice it particularly in the first few moments after I walk into a coffee shop. Or when I laugh a little too loudly at a friend's joke. Or get caught singing in the car at the stop light.
It's a fragile feeling that makes me feel like there are holes in my clothes letting cold air in. Just for a second I look around wishing I was invisible, feeling a bit too vulnerable in my own skin, hoping I could blend in.
Somewhere along the road of growing up, cutting my knees and bruising my elbows, my heart took a hit as well. Words spoken, kids staring, situations that highlighted that I felt different. I was homeschooled and in my neighborhood and church, the kids didn't understand or like that very much.
"You're weird, do you have any friends?" I felt ousted when friends I played with on the weekend would ignore me in front of their friends at a birthday party because I was the weird "homeschooled" one. Plus I was gawky, had a big gap in my front teeth. The physical aside,
I also felt like I was "too much".
That was the phrase I can identify with the most. I loved to be silly, to laugh and giggle, I felt deeply and would cry watching movies or listening to songs. I also loved to play imaginary games like being a princess in a faraway land, a private investigator who took notes on the neighbors daily routines, a radio talk show host who also sang every song that came on.
I ran around barefoot everywhere, wore the same clothes on Tuesdays just because, rode my rollerblades everywhere including grocery stores. But that was "kid" stuff, I was too old for that. It all just culminated in a feeling of other. Like I didn't belong with anyone.
And I know deeply and truly that I am not the only one that feels that way and there are others who BY FAR had life circumstances that emphasized those lies in a greater capacity than I'd ever want to know.
The lie that you are other. Somehow just wrong. Strange. Too much. Weird.
When I hear my daughter say those words out loud, an anger burns inside of me at the lies that would try to infiltrate into her mind.
Everything within shouts NO! She is Beauty! She is Joy! She is Light! She is Love!
Weird is the furthest thing from what she is. She is exquisite. And my next thought, inseparable from the first, is that the only thing I can do to teach her that truth is to live it out myself. In my own life. To continue the vigilant, tireless process of making EVERY thought about myself be obedient to the truth until the internal dialogue of my mind is something I would want my daughter to speak about herself.
The next time I walk through a door and feel the fear of being seen, I will smile brightly and remind myself that I am exquisitely designed. That the "too muchness" other people labeled me with is a lie. The louder I laugh, the more beautiful. The more I share about myself, the more powerful. The less I care what other people think, the more joyful!
There are bold new chapters of your life yet to be written, ones where you live in the fullness of all you were meant to be.
It's time to push against the lies, access the strength of the truth, and step into adventures you can only imagine.
But there has to be that fire. The fire that burns when you see a little girl get punked into believing she's not enough, she's flawed and weird.
YOU deserve to be fought for as well. Put on your armor, take up your weapons. We're warriors for our minds and the minds of our daughters. We are not weird, we are exquisite.
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