Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Lenten challenge to love and accept ourselves and others

I don't like to spend my time blogging about political messages or serious situations, but last night's episode of Glee made me really think about who I am in this community.

Bullying in schools has got to stop. There has to be some sort of consequence that will stop this from happening. Teen suicide rates are rising rapidly, and we as a society need to let our teens know they are loved -- no matter what their skin color, sexual preferences, weight, height, mental capacity -- they need to know they are loved.

As I watched Glee last night, it sent shock-waves through me. It sent me back to a time when I seriously thought life might be better for others if I was gone.

I was bullied in high school. Certainly not to the extent Glee's Dave Karofsky was bullied in last night's episode, and not to the extent that Dave Karofsky once bulled Kurt, but I was bullied. I was pretty low on the food chain and while I had friends that were wonderful, there were plenty of people who weren't. Up until my Senior year, I pretty much hated high school. I wanted to transfer to the catholic school in town because I had some friends who worked with me and I felt like I would be more accepted there. I wouldn't have been.

There's just something about living back in Jefferson City. When I was in college, I would look in a mirror before I left my Springfield apartment for a weekend at home and I would feel gorgeous. I was happy. I would get home, look in a mirror and I would feel like that episode of Seinfeld where the woman was gorgeous sometimes and in other light, not so much.

It has only been in the last three years of living here that I have become comfortable with who I am. I am a communications professional. I am incredibly talented at what I do and I never really gave myself credit for that. Instead, I focused on feeling left out. And I still do feel left out to an extent, but much of it, I expect, is my own doing. A large chunk of my high school class is living in this community and I never feel quite good enough to try to join any of the young professionals organizations in town. I fear the rejection that might come with trying.

But Glee, yes, that show about singing teenagers, taught me something last night. It taught me that until I love myself and show the confidence that I really am good enough to be someone in any community in which I live, I won't ever be that person. I won't ever join a young professionals organization. I won't ever serve on a committee aimed at making a difference in this amazing town in which I live. And I won't ever have that large group of friends that I had in college when I did have that confidence -- when I was far away from this town and all the memories that go with it.

So, in the spirit of Lent and the Easter season, I'm issuing a challenge to myself and I hope it's one some of you will take on as well. I am going to be happy with who I am -- limitations and all. And I am going to truly accept others. I am going to let go of the anger and fear I have had about this community. And I am going to be the best and happiest me I can be.


  1. Great post! I had the same exact thoughts about joining the YP group when I was living there. We should have gone together!

    1. I had no idea that others felt the same way about the YP groups. I just felt so intimidated, probably because of the people in the group. Some had been friends in high school, but we grew apart in college and others were part of the crowd in high school that didn't acknowledge I existed.