(pic credit: 3 yr old June)
For years I struggled to find my goodness, beauty, or worth--on an intrinsic level. I did not believe I deserved good things, mostly Love that came from not having to do anything or be anyone. Love that came from just merely existing.
I have worked hard to learn differently--to change habits and thought patterns I have used for years. These habits that used to feel so comfortable but ones I recognize have failed me, because they have taught me to live a life as less of a person than I could potentially become. Than who I actually AM. And though there are some days they creep back in and whisper and try to force me back down into momentarily believing I have nothing worthwhile to add to the world, overall I feel I have won--and am continuing to win--this battle. I have the choice to listen to the whispers, or I have the choice to fight. Daily I choose to fight.
As an introvert, birthdays have been difficult for me. There are a lot of moments of being in the spotlight, with presents, songs, parties. But compounded with my struggle to feel my worth, my birthday was a day I wanted to avoid altogether. It was an actual celebration of ME, which challenged all of my years of internal struggle. Ben and I joked that my ideal birthday would be spent alone in a dark bedroom reading books, with zero celebration. Only I wasn't joking.
Today I woke up next to one of the best men I've ever known, a man who has spent the last 12 years telling me and showing me that I am beautiful and lovable. Not once has he given me a reason to question how he feels about me. I was bombarded with three kids yelling HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Begging me to find the presents they had hid around the house. I picked up a sweet, beautiful baby whose arms outstretched for mine with a big smile on her face. The love I have for my children and the love they have for me has been a reflection of God's love since the day I first held them. I went throughout my day with phone calls, texts, and messages coming through on my phone. Packages were delivered to me from friends and family.
The whispers were also there today, telling me I don't deserve this love, telling me I am not worth being celebrated. Telling me to not let the actions and words to sink in. I worked hard to shut them out, to focus on the life that I have, and on who I actually AM.
I am a good person. It's taken me 35 years to be able to type words that probably seem so easy for others. That's okay--they have their own struggle. This is mine.
I'm a good person who is healing wounds created long ago. I started the healing for my children, so they could be taught a different way. For my husband, who deserved a better wife than I felt I was. For all of the people who had to interact with a girl who apologized too much, felt guilty too often, whose actions were mostly made out of fear of not being accepted and liked. A girl who could not let their love sink all the way in. But as I worked, and began to patch myself back together, my perspective changed.
My focus is no longer on them, to make myself better so I can be better for them--I am here for me. I am fighting for me, I am healing for me, I am working for me. The relationships in my life will be positively affected by this change, but I am here for me. I am worth saving.
I am worth celebrating. Happy birthday.