Today, we have our very FIRST guest blogger,Teri, from The Last Dish. She and Stacy are good photographer friends! Stacy contacted her to write a post for us and I have to say that I am BEYOND impressed with Teri’s talent, in both photography and writing! We have had the chance to chat recently and I believe she does not realize how great of a talent she does have! Everyone, please give Teri a warm welcome! To find this recipe and other great recipes, head over to her blog and see what your heart is hungry for: www.thelastdish.com
I was 11 years old. It was summer, I have no idea which month. I was surrounded by
friends at a church ice cream social and we were eating more than our share. My
mother had submitted her famous banana ice cream, and I’ll admit, I ate more of
that kind than any other. Banana has always been my favorite and I wasn’t afraid to
say so. Apparently, other people weren’t afraid to say so either. She brought home
the first prize ribbon.
At 11 years old, I was completely at home in my body and in my personality. I knew
who I was, where I was going, and what I was capable of…and I worked it! Heavens
above, did I ever work it. I was anything but shy. I would sing in front of perfect
strangers. I loved being on stage dancing. I made a list at that age of the “20 Reasons
My Future Husband Would Be The Luckiest Guy To Marry Me”. No joke. Granted, I
could be loud and obnoxious about my talents sometimes. I definitely could have
used a little more tact. But, I didn’t lack confidence. I was full of it to overflowing.
Then something happened. I entered middle and high school and I began to question
myself. I remember singing in choir in a brand new school and hearing a girl behind
me say “Off pitch much?”. To this day, I still don’t know if she really was talking
about me or not…but I have sung more cautiously ever since. At a church dance, one
of my friends joked that I “danced like a spaz” and suddenly, I couldn’t dance freely
anymore. It paralyzed me. Every time I got up to dance, I would critique myself and
ask, “Am I dancing like a spaz right now?” Probably the hardest blow of all was
hearing a friend in a hallway tell someone else that I was “far too confident” and it
“made them feel inferior”. Really? I didn’t want my friends to be uncomfortable
around me. And so I started playing smaller than I was…you know…to help them feel
Worrying so much about what everyone thought of me led to a quiet death of many
of my talents and my self-confidence. Before long, I found myself in the downward
spiral of depression. The depression chased away the people that surrounded me.
By trying to “tone down” my confidence to make everyone more comfortable around
me to hopefully gain more friends, I lost myself. When I no longer felt comfortable in
my skin, I began a cycle of negative thoughts and self-talk that made me unpleasant
to be around. And in the end, my existing friends began to pull away.
No matter how hard I tried to fit in. No matter how much I tried to jam my
personality and my body into the mold presented in pop culture, it just wouldn’t fit
right. Before long, I began to feel that something must be wrong with me.
I was right. Something WAS wrong with me.
I had forgotten who I was. I had forgotten that I came to earth with a special
personality and a special mission. A mission that no one else could accomplish. My
gifts, my talents, my quirks…even my weaknesses…they were all needed to help
others, lift others, and bring a ray of sunshine to this earth. When I tried to be
someone else…or even just a different version of me…my light dimmed.
As I have embraced my crazy, fun-loving, fast-paced, creative, loud, sometimes
thoughtless and scatter-brained self I have come to see the truth. Being who I am,
the very best version of who I really am, gives others license to do the same. As I
spread my wings to see how high I can soar, I inspire others to take flight too. And
those flaws? Well, they keep me approachable. No one likes a perfect friend.
I am no longer that innocent 11 year old brimming with confidence, sitting with a
gaggle of friends eating ice cream with delight.
No, I am now a 35-year-old woman who finds joy in my perfectly average body, full
of stretch marks and cellulite that bear witness that I am a mother. I have confidence
that I am capable of accomplishing whatever I choose to work hard at. I have a deep
understanding of my talents as well as my weaknesses. I have confidence that the
right friends will choose to see the good in me and will be patient with my flaws. I
have a husband that tells me almost daily that he is “The Luckiest Guy” because he
married me. And I finally know that I am loveable, exactly the way I am.
I used to think that to be “perfect” meant to be just like everyone else. Now I
understand that humanity is a recipe…full of different ingredients that together
make something more than the sum of its parts. I may not be the sexiest
ingredient…nor the most organized, but I am needed and valued and the recipe
wouldn’t be the same without me. I am “perfect” for the life I have been given. And
there is joy in knowing that.
Today as I sat on the porch with my kiddos watching them eat my updated version
of my Mom’s banana ice cream, I realized this is what I want most for them. I want
them to know who they really are, what they are capable of, and that they are
loveable and important…just the way they are.