I start my day with a cup of coffee and three devotional books. All three are very different, but for the sake of my heart, they all fit together. I read them in the same order each day and today was no different. Only, on the last one, I read day six by mistake. Being a bit OCD, of course since today is the 5th day of the year, I went back and read day five. Immediately I was in tears. Sobbing out loud with my dog Harley in my lap looking up at me with concern.
The title Show Your Hair. The quote read, "My grandmother told me, 'Never hide your green hair— They can see it anyway.'" —Angeles Arrien
The beginning of the devotional started like this— From the agonies of kindergarten, when we first were teased or made fun of in the midst of all our innocence, we have all struggled in one way or another with hiding what is obvious about us.—Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
One of my strongest memories as a child is being made fun of for my kindergarten school picture, by an adult relative. In the picture my hair was pulled back from the forehead which made my face look very long and narrow. I believe the word that relative used was banana head. I remember crying in shame in my room feeling so ugly. I don't think I ever told my parents, and I don't know if they even heard what this person said. Today, I am almost 46 years old and the hurt of that five year old innocent small town girl still bubbles up inside me. In fact, this set the course of major insecurities in my life. It wouldn't be the last time someone called me ugly names. Some that I remember besides banana head, were horse face, farmer Ted, Ronald McDonald and beaver teeth. Even if people didn't say something, I felt like everyone thought I was ugly and of course I had the pictures to prove it.
This morning after I stopped crying, I began to frantically look for this school picture. I knew I had it stored away somewhere and I desperately want to see it and tell that innocent five year old that she is pretty. That she will overcome the meanness of others that followed her through her life. You see, this event set the tone of how I perceived myself my entire life. Maybe there are mean people and maybe everyone has to deal with them at some point in time, but for me, I was never told the opposite. I was never told I was pretty or enough. I was made fun of because of my face, my hair, my clothes by people who I thought cared about me, my friends and family. I have spent years proving myself. Trying to fit in. Competing with myself and with others, never really knowing myself. "Worthless feelings arise when we believe we are not enough." Amen to that! When you are five and this is what you believe and no one is telling you anything different it is difficult to break that pattern.
My transformation came so many years later through my journey in yoga. Yoga has helped me connect to myself and the Oneness inside. That was my best gift to myself through my practice. My ah ha moment was, that I became myself when I stopped defining myself.
Obviously I continue to have work to do, but I am on the right path to healing this hurt. My hope is that we can all be comfortable enough with ourselves to sit quietly and love that child within and tell her, "Who you are is enough."