I have been sitting at the computer for over a half an hour writing and re-writing this post.
Part of me wants to dump a long story on the page.
Part of me wants to hide my struggle.
The part of me that won is the part of me that likes to keep things simple and real.
This is me.
Flaws and all.
I was standing outside of my vehicle talking to an acquaintance this past weekend.
One of my kids, waiting inside, grabbed my camera and (unbeknownst to me) snapped this shot.
A few days later, I uploaded the weekend photos to my computer. I found this picture.
My hand instantly went to the delete button.
Common practice. I am the one behind the camera. Not the one in the pictures.
I see this picture and I see a dirty window, a wrinkled face, a goofy expression.
I see myself and I judge and criticize and condemn (over and over and over).
I see others and I love and embrace and accept.
Why am I so hard on myself? Why do I find it hard to look at myself?
~ ~ ~
This picture is taken of me as seen through my child's eyes.
This person is who my children unconditionally love.
They don't judge me, criticize me, tear me down.
This is the same person who my friends lift up and love.
What do they see that I don't?
Perhaps a better question would be, why don't I see what they do?
On the surface I do a fairly good job of self-acceptance (for the most part), flaws and all.
Laugh it off, toughen up, nobody's perfect. Right?
Deep down it's a different story. When I get to the core, I don't let anything go.
I condemn myself and judge myself to the harshest degree.
I have been digging deep lately and have realized that my harshest self-punishment
has been the condemnation of my young self. I was severely mistreated and I blamed myself.
All these years I have held onto the self-hate and loathing.
The sick feeling that it was my fault. That I deserved it. That I was worthless, expendable.
Why was I so weak? Why did I allow it? I blamed myself.
Why has it always been so much easier to accept and forgive others?
Even those who have hurt or betrayed me?
Perhaps because I never saw myself the way I see others. As a person. Someone who matters.
Seeing myself through my child's eyes has created a change in perspective for me.
I am really looking at myself (possibly) for the first time.
My eyes have opened WIDE. I want forgiveness.
I want to learn to forgive myself and ask God to forgive and heal me.
Body, mind, soul.
Looking again at my children, I now see the youth in me.
If my children were ever as scared or injured as I was when I was young, would I condemn them?
Judge them? Blame them? Continuously punish them?
I would love them, hold them, heal them.
If they didn't know how to protect themselves, to fight back, to not be a victim,
would I lay continuous guilt on them?
No! I would empower them and teach them and embrace them.
If their reaction, retaliation and coping mechanisms to the pain were not pretty,
were harmful, were wrong, would I brush them aside and let them continue to destroy themselves?
Again, the answer is no.
I would hold them tight, let them kick, scream and cry.
Let them get all the ugliness out and I would fill the space with love and light.
Pardon me while I weep.
Time for the healing to begin.