I love to write an essay that teaches in some way, by sharing what I have learned or experienced. Here’s a good, past essay that is always a good reminder.
I went to sleep upset with my life and wishing I was someone else.
Halfway through the night, I journeyed and had an amazing dream message.
I was at a school taking different classes. I was traveling with a friend between classes when I looked down and noticed I wasn’t me! I was tall, larger, and had light, black skin. I panicked!
“What color are my eyes?” I asked my companion. “Brown,” she answered. “Where are my green eyes? I like having green eyes?!”
We wandered around the campus with me feeling steadily uncomfortable. As this new body, I noted that I was less visible than in my short body, realizing now, being little garnered much more special attention. Being taller I was lost in the crowd, even invisible.
I missed the way my rings looked on my fingers. How my hair curled naturally in little ringlets on the ends. Where was my little pug nose? I realized I liked my face, if even for the familiarity of it. Maybe even missed it, which was weird because it was my face I’d find the most imperfections!
“When do I get my old body back?” I pleaded to my friend. “This doesn’t feel right.”
“You don’t. This is yours now.” she told me flatly.
When I woke from the dream, I was so relieved, and for the first time in awhile, I was happy to be me. This was an unusual lesson learned, because I spent most of the summer wishing I was something I was not. I saw myself in others’ eyes–being inferior to others–which, perhaps now, wasn’t real at all. Where I was short, I thought I should be tall and long. Where I was fair, I thought I should be tan. Where I was curvy, I thought I should be slim and narrow. Trips to the pool made all of this thinking worse! I thought I was not enough and invisible as who I was. And now with this dream, I realized whether it was others’ perceptions or wants, it didn’t matter, because deep down, it wasn’t mine. Being all those things–short, curvy, fair–is who I am right now, and who makes up Ronni.
How many messages do we receive on a daily basis, or, even messages that replay over and over from the learned past, that tell us who we are is not enough? That someone or something is better, so we should try to be what we are not. As if we could? How often do we stop to really look at ourselves and see the beauty we are and the superior gifts only we possess?
I remember when I arrived to college–a huge campus in Maryland–a much younger Ronni. Where I thought I was special, there were now hundreds of folks that were just as special. If I could draw, there were those who could draw expertly. If I could dance, you guessed it, there were amazing dancers. The worst of this equation happened when my small group of pals let in a new friend. She was also little and funny, and even had brown hair and green eyes too. My pals seemed to like her better! Why, I wasn’t special at all now.
Tears rolled down my face when I relayed the story to my Mom, and it was there that I learned where my “not good enough’s” originated from. She didn’t say that I was special just because I was me, or anything like that. There was only silence on the other end of the line.
I’d like to go back to that college girl and tell her, “We aren’t our parts, or, because you are short, have green eyes, and will later teach fun stuff. You aren’t your special abilities or your talents either, or even what you do. You don’t have to be something you are not–such as tall, narrow, or dark–to please someone else, or to be loved, or even wanted. You should never have to work that hard for love or acceptance. Like an individual snowflake with it’s own combination of beauty, you are unique. Love what you are right now. Accept and revel in it! All of it is you. Enjoy every bit of it–whether, the crooked nose, or the juicy thighs! You don’t have to try to be someone you are not, because, when I was, I wasn’t happy. I missed me. ”
And for Mom, and her Mom before that, I wish you heard the same message long ago.