Growing up, I idolized Cinderella.
Now, hear me out; I realize she is a princess and it’s a fictional story. What I mean by saying I idolized her is that I literally wanted my life to mimic the way hers played out. I wanted my own Cinderella story- the rags to riches tale. I dreamed of being the “belle of the ball,” the one everyone watched and admired (which is completely ridiculous because I can’t even hold eye contact with a stranger on the street without turning beet red, but that’s beside the point). I wanted my fairy tale.
So I waited. And waited. And waited. I waited for my fairy godmother to arrive and transform me into a beautiful woman. I waited for my prince to show up. I waited for the people around me to take notice and see me as more than just regular ol’ Regan, the quiet, smart girl with pretty friends. I waited to be more than just the wallflower.
But you know what? My dream fairy tale never happened because it’s just that- a tale. I began to resent parts of myself. I started to hate my hair and clothes and genetics. I cursed my pudgy stomach and mediocrely athletic limbs. I retreated into myself and hid behind lame jokes I told others so that I would be the source of attention for a moment and then the scrutiny would be pointed away from me. I thought I wasn’t good enough. My mind was a spider web that latched onto demeaning comments and thoughts and never let go of them.
Until one day when I decided to be brave.
This semester, I’ve been involved in an amazing Bible study with my roommates. We are discussing the fact that God looks at us, His creation, and sees nothing but beauty (check back later for a post on this- the study is amazing). Through this, I’ve been forced to really look at how I live and treat myself. Are my words, thoughts, and actions portraying God’s thoughts or demeaning them? If I am His creation, then I am created perfectly in His eyes. Why should anyone else’s opinions matter, even my own?
So, armed with this new knowledge, I finally wiped the film off the mirror and took a good look at myself. Do you know what I saw? I saw a 20-year-old who is a hard worker and full-time student. I saw a lot of laugh lines, proof of the joy in her life. I saw a girl who loves kids, her family, and her friends. I saw the pieces of her family’s genetics passed down from generations before her, proof that she is a piece of art. I saw a bright smile that deserved to be seen more.
I saw myself in the correct light; I saw the me that God loved.
Maybe my Cinderella story isn’t perfect. It’s flawed, and that might be what makes it perfect. It took bravery to see what I hid from for years. It took guts to look at myself for longer than 8 seconds without looking away. But, I’m a better person for it. My bravest moment was a defining one. It’s the moment I finally decided that I’m worth it. I’m pretty okay the way I am because God made me. If God is for me, who can be against me?