Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I like me.

I like me.

I didn't always. In fact, I can remember sitting in my middle school math classroom, watching as one girl made fun of me with her best friend. I was awkward, extremely shy, and not at all interested in the Backstreet Boys. Add all those things together and you get the perfect target. I just wanted to melt into the floor, away from that girl and her friend. No matter what I did, I couldn't fit in with them. I couldn't be super skinny, athletic, social, and boy-crazy like they were. I knew I didn't want to be like them. But I also didn't want to be myself.

Fast forward to high school. Same story, different characters. There was this one guy in my history class who would sit next to me and wait for the teacher to walk to the other side of the classroom. And then he'd lean over and bark like a dog in my face. An hour and a half a day. Every day. For an entire semester. (He was trying to be clever. To my knowledge, he was an otherwise normal human being.)

But somewhere along the line I decided I didn't care. Somewhere along the line the words "made in the image of a holy God" started to sink in. And somewhere along the line, I decided I kind of liked being different, even if it meant people didn't quite know what to do with me.

Yeah, I'm quiet. And I can't catch a ball if I knew it was the last thing keeping me alive. And I'm probably about as aggressive as a lilypad. (Confrontation? YIKES.) And I'll always avoid the giant crowd of people in favor of a quiet corner and a book.

But I'll also listen if you've got a problem, even if it's 2:00 am. And I'll probably cry with you because that's how my heart works. And once we're friends, we're going to be friends for life. I'm as loyal as they come. Even if I can't do sports, I can draw you a decent picture, or play you any praise and worship song ever written in the '90s on my guitar.

Over the years I've had a lot of people tell me they wished I'd be different. That I'd act differently or do things they did or be more like so-and-so. I used to try it. But I felt fake and stupid. I mean, I'm not someone else. I'm me. Ashley. Completely unlike anyone else ever made, and completely unlike anyone else who will ever exist. God had a reason for making me the way I am. Who am I to throw it back in His face because I think I should be just like everyone else? 

It's taken a long time and, don't get me wrong, I definitely still have days where I don't really like me all that much. But they're definitely fewer and farther between than they used to be.

So...what do you like about you today? :-) I'd love to hear it.

Love always.


erin. said...

Reading this post made me look back & I almost feel like I could write the exact same post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!

Kaitlyn said...

how do you love yourself? i don't understand. i frankly dont. i dont even like me. so how did you get there?

Emii said...

Thankyou thankyou thankyou so much for this post.
I felt like I was reading about myself -- and I don't think that's ever happened.

"Over the years I've had a lot of people tell me they wished I'd be different."

This guy -- along with other people -- is always saying, "You're so quiet. You should talk more." Or I do things the way I do things and "Your weird."

Acceptance is so important in this world. To us.
I don't want it to be. But it's like there's always something, prodding me, saying, "It's no biggie, just talk every second like everyone else."

Ashley Mays said...

Erin, thanks so much for your comments! I'm so glad you can relate to my thoughts.

Kaitlyn, it is SO hard, isn't it? I definitely understand what you're saying. It's a really long road sometimes to learning to like yourself. It definitely isn't something that just kind of happens overnight, and it's something you have to work at your entire life. For me, I really had to learn to monitor what kind of messages I was sending to myself. When I'd think something negative (like, "Nobody likes me because I'm such a loser."), I had to learn to recognize that thought, and then combat it with TRUTH. It was important for me to go back to the Bible and to read what God had to say about me, and who he'd made me to be. The first hundred times (or more!), I had a hard time believing the Truth God had given to me. But after a while, my heart started to catch up with my brain. And, like I said, it's not a quick fix, or a permanent thing. I have to wake up every day and make a choice to like myself. I have to recognize the bad things I'm saying to myself, and remember what God says about me. Also, it helped me to make a list of things I liked about myself. I won't lie, it was VERY short in the beginning. Like two things. But over time I was able to add more things, and it became more encouraging as time went on.

I would LOVE to keep talking with you about this, so shoot me an email if you have more questions or just want to chat!

Sorry, that's like another post in a comment! :-)

Julie Garmon said...

Great post! Totally understand!!

Kaitlyn said...

dear emii,
oh my gosh i so get that!!! why do we always feel we have to change because others don't like us for us? whether we should talk more, eat less, etc., its everywhere!!!

Ashley Mays said...

Hi, Emii! (Love the way you spell your name! How unique. :-))It is SO hard sometimes to be the one who stands out. There's nothing wrong with being the quiet girl! Haha- I'm quiet all the time. You just keep following the Lord and doing what HE wants you to do. Everything else is just background noise. :-)

Heather said...

Hurtful words can stick with you forever if you let them. God wants us to love ourselves like He loves us. There are a million verses that could be quoted to remind us that we are Gods special creatures. Speaking from experience it can be a full time job telling that devil he's a liar. Especially when he's been lying to you for almost thirty years. I know right where you all are and I know how long I've been agreeing when the devil calls me a loser. My current plan of attack is to write about it in my blog or my personal journal just to get it out there and quote scripture because it is the truth. Try this one when you feel like you can't do anything right. Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Tay said...

Thank you so much for writing this! I think it is easy to forget that God made us exactly how we are, and that he never makes mistakes. Sometimes it's just so hard to remember that in the midst of all the background noise telling us what to wear or how to look.

Tasha said...

Reading this I realized that even if some people don't like who I am it shouldn't make a difference as long as I like who I am.

Violet said...

Thank you for sharing. God designed each of us to be unique and I just love that! If only we could see ourselves the way God sees us....

sarah glover said...

I don't know myself, or love myself, and I doubt God all the time. If God is so good, why do I have only 8-10 months to live? I won't even be able to go to high school if the doctors are right. (I am in 7th grade). I just don't understand God and myself. I wish that I would be able to understand myself and/or God and/or my classmates (I have no friends)

Ms. Blasé said...

I can relate on soooooooo many levels (hence my blog's title "The Unpopular Girl in Womanhood"). As a matter of fact, I still don't quite have this whole self-acceptance thing down. I still have to tell myself regularly that God loves me, that I'm made in His image, that I exist because He wanted a relationship with me, and so on and so on.

All those years of destructive comments left a big hole in my spirit, but God is filling it up day by day as I continue to renew my mind with His Word. Praise Him :)

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story, Ashley. May God continue to bless you in ways that you never thought imaginable.

Ashley Mays said...

Ms. Blase, thank YOU for sharing your story, too! None of us is in this alone. :-)