I'm Not Okay
I'm not alright
But to avoid you
I'll probably have to lie
I'm not okay
I'm not alright
and I haven't been
For a very long time
You want pat answers
You want Cliches
You'll nod your head
No matter what I say
You fake compassion to be polite
But I don't care
Not about your patriotism
and lying sighs
Won't take form advice
From your heart of ice
Maybe i'm just over dramatic...
This poem reflects how I feel when I am ashamed of how people perceive me. I am not alright. I can put on whatever face or front I want, but when I come back to my dorm room and have to plug my headphones in for two hours because of a comment someone made about my hair, that’s not alright. I’m not alright. For years I passed off these feelings with one lie, than another.
First I told myself the last line of that poem, “I’m just over dramatic”. People don’t mean what they say and I am just too immature to realize that my friends making jokes about me is not a personal attack.
Next, I went the opposite direction. I took the opinion that people meant what they said, that nothing was wrong with me, I was just different from other people and so they attacked me: their problem, not mine.
Both of those perspectives left me empty and hurting. Telling myself to toughen up didn’t stop the pain when my friends implied I looked ugly, was crazy, and that I should change basically everything about my life. I don’t mean like “friends” here. I mean people who I have trusted with almost every wound and deep part of my life, people I am highly invested in emotionally, Some of the people I love the most on earth. To them, it was a joke, nothing more. To me it said, “you don’t belong with anyone”. They laughed it off and forgot about it seconds later, It stabbed me in the heart. Playing the victim doesn’t help here either. These were people who time and time again consistently reaffirmed their love for me, accepted me, and cared about me genuinely. I wasn’t some tragic victim in a world of enemies, I was surrounded by friends.
Things didn’t add up no matter how I tried to pass off the blame.
That is until I heard a sermon on shame.
I realized in a moment that the reason I hurt when people made jokes about me was shame. I was ashamed of who I was and how I got there. I was even ashamed of where I was going. When your’e that ashamed of yourself, than anything anyone says about you negatively is bound to hit a sore spot.
For instance, I made a reference to my hair earlier that you probably took for a joke. It wasn’t. People have made fun of my hair since second grade, and it hurts, really bad. It’s one of the biggest things that fed into my self hate through high school and college. I thought if I got close enough friends it would stop, that they would care enough not to make comments about it. sure, its longer than most haircuts. Sure it’s not gelled and styled. But it isn’t some atrocious mess, and I like it. So I figured people would accept it and move on. But no. My friends laugh at it. My family mocks it. Meanwhile, nobody thinks it has any affect on me.
But it does. It’s what I talk about in counseling.
Now for a normal person it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Who cares what you think of my haircut? Right? But, if you are living in shame, having the thing you are ashamed of spoken about publicly is like having salt rubbed in a deep wound. It’s having what breaks you, what pains you, what keeps you up at night, not only discussed, but mocked openly.
I didn’t need to treat people differently, or react differently, or take comments differently. I needed to deal with my shame.
What the pastor reminded me of, and what I desperately needed to hear, is that Christ died not only for our sin, but also for our SHAME. We can rebuke shame. It is not of God and has no place in us. That feeling of rejection and pain when someone mocks you is from satan, not God.
You aren’t weak.
You don’t need to care less.
You need to give your shame to God. Cause as Christ wipes away your shame, and you are made clean before him, those attacks bounce right off. if you are not ashamed of who you are, it doesn’t matter what people say about you.
This is a drastic step toward securing your identity in Christ, and I encourage all of you to take it.
I like my hair, and I fully intend to let it grow.
That is, until I start dating, that’l probably put a curb on things.
With Cacoethes Scribendi,