I Don't Have It All Figured Out

Friday, January 23, 2015

With blogging there's fine line between sharing and oversharing. As someone who has been blogging for nearly 4 years now, I think it's safe to say that you can learn a thing or two about me by reading through my old posts or looking at my Instagram. (You probably know far more than you'd ever like to know at this point.)

That being said, I just spent a week away on a retreat in the woods with my senior class. I was asked to give a talk at the retreat, and I found myself telling people I've known my entire life things about me that I've never told anyone before. So, today I'm taking a leap of faith and telling you a bit about where I've been. And I'll warn you, it's a long one.



It was a Friday afternoon during lunch. I was walking around campus with a few friends, and like most days, the conversation somehow always came back to college. “I wish I was you and had my whole life together,” one of my friends told me. “Seriously, your life is so perfect.”

Over the years, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told how perfect my life is or how I’ve got everything together. I have two parents that love me, love God and are still married. I have an older brother who is my best friend and a better person than I could ever be. But perfect is not a word that I would use to describe my life. You may think you know who I am. I’m Katherine. I love to make people laugh, I’m sarcastic, I like to run, but these are all things you could figure out about me from my twitter or my blog. What you may not know is that my greatest fear in life is disappointing others. Or that I always put everyone else ahead of myself. Or that there are very few people who I actually dislike. In fact, you probably don’t know that I have hardly ever disliked anyone, anyone but myself.

Throughout my life, I've told people part of my story. An abridged version. I’m a very guarded person and the idea of disappointing people when they find out how less than perfect my life is terrifies me. After encountering people that told horrific stories of parental abuse and terrible divorces, I started believe that my problems weren’t significant or worth saying aloud. I didn’t realize that all problems are important. The gravity of the problems may not be equal, but all problems, no matter how big or how small, are important. So, today, I am going to tell you guys about me. I am going to tell you who Katherine really is. Not who you see on twitter, not who you know as The Peanut Butter Lover, not Harrison’s sister, me.

It all started when I was 14 years old. People always told me how great my life was and complimented me on how wonderful my parents were or how brilliant my brother was. I started to believe that I was the flaw of the family; that I couldn’t possibly compare to them. I started to think that I wasn’t good enough. I convinced myself that I wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t athletic enough, wasn’t skinny enough, wasn’t enough in general. I am a girl who hated everything about herself by the time she was 15. I believed that my family couldn’t possibly love someone like me. How could they love someone who's grades weren't as good as Harrison's grades? Someone who wasn't outgoing like my mom. Someone who was a subpar athlete and who struggled with fundamental math. It got to the point where I believed that not even God could love someone as worthless as me. With this in mind, during 8th grade, I began my pursuit of perfection. I wanted to become someone my family was proud of. I wanted to become someone that God could love and find worth in. But instead, I became my own worst enemy.

I became my own worst enemy, because in 8th grade, I decided that instead of fixing what was on the inside, I would fix what was on the outside. I couldn’t get perfect grades or be a perfect athlete or be the perfect daughter, but I thought I could make myself look perfect and maybe that would finally be enough. So, I decided to start small because no eating disorder develops overnight.

While other 15 year olds worried what to wear to the middle school dance or who was invited to the Quincenera on Friday, I spent my time doing anything and everything that didn’t involve eating. There is nothing more miserable than spending what are supposed to be the best years of your life, in and out of the doctor’s office.  There is nothing worse than refusing to go out to eat with friends for fear of becoming anything less than perfect. There is nothing more painful than lying to your mother countless times and agreeing with everyone who tells you how great your life is. There is nothing more agonizing than realizing that you hardly remember your brother's senior year of high school and last year of living at home because of malnourishment. But especially, there is nothing that hurts more than looking in the mirror and realizing that you’ve become a ghost of the person you once were.

I was slowly killing myself, and I thought nothing was wrong. I thought I deserved to feel how I did. I thought I would disappoint everyone if I admitted that I needed help. I was too scared and embarrassed to even ask God for help. Help, however, came to me in the form of my mom. We were sitting in the car after a day of shopping when she randomly looked over at me and said, "You know I love you right? I think you're wonderful, and it's not just because I'm your mother. The essence of who you are is so good, and I am forever thankful that God gave me you. There's nothing you can ever do that would make me love you less. You could be a mean person, someone who gets bad grades, put in jail, and I would still think you deserve the world." She told me this out of the blue, and her words were all it took for my walls to come down. For the first time in months, I was completely honest as I told my mom what I was going through.  I was completely vulnerable for 5 minutes, and it completely changed my life. On that Friday afternoon, my mom became my hero and best friend, and I became a little more like the Katherine I used to know and the Katherine I am today.

While what I went through is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, my past has made me who I am today. I am still struggling. I am still learning. But I have a God, a mom, and countless other people that will never let me down. The story you just heard, my story, is one that less than 5 people truly knew before today, but I think people should hear it because no one deserves to spend 3 years of their life absolutely hating everything about themselves. If you don’t love yourself first, you cannot truly love anyone else. Loving yourself is hard, I’m not going to lie. There are going to be days when your hair looks frizzy or you don’t feel beautiful. Some days you’ll feel like you’re drowning in your problems. But from experience, I can tell you that your problems may seem big, but your God is bigger. When you’re feeling worthless and like everyone is against you, remember that you were made by God, and God doesn’t make mistakes. To this day, he has not messed up. Everything he has ever made has beauty, just not everyone sees it.

I’ve also learned that everyone has problems. Every single person in this room has something going on; even the people who seem to have everything together. While some people’s problems might be bigger than yours, it doesn't mean that your problems are any less important. There’s a misconception that unless you're dealing with a troubled past or horrific issues in your life, you don’t have problems or a story to tell. Everyone has a story to tell, and to me, hearing these stories is a change in perspective. It's talking to people I might never have talked to before. It's looking for the good in every single person because trust me, it's there. You might have to look really hard sometimes, but it's there. It's loving people without asking if they're worthy of receiving my love. It's intentionally going out of my way to make someone's day a little better because you never know what they're going through. And today, it's me, sitting nervously behind a computer screen, completely vulnerable, telling you my story.

Today, I urge you to look at everyone you encounter with fresh eyes. I'll warn you, it's not easy. When people are vulnerable and letting people see who they truly are, it’s so easy to love them and to see God in them. But looking for the good in everyone happens when it’s Monday morning and you’re tired, and mean drivers have put you in the worst mood. It's when your words and actions allow someone to see God within you. It's is when you’ve had a bad day, and you treat the world better than it has treated you. It's the rest of your life. It’s tomorrow, the next day, the day after that. It's loving yourself, even if you don’t think you’re worthy. It’s loving God, who has given you a purpose and unconditional love. And it’s loving others. Because after you hear someone’s story, it’s hard not to love them. 


“You are so used to your features, you don’t know how beautiful you look to a stranger.”

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12 Happy Thoughts

  1. What a beautiful post!! This really resonates with me. You are such a wonderful writer my friend! I love that pic of you all cozy...makes me want to get under some blankets and put my feet up right now. Hope you have a great weekend!

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    1. aw thanks Chelsea! I was actually sick the day I took that picture, so there's some dark under eye circle action going on in this picture, but I was super cozy and warm! I highly recommend putting your feet up and getting cozy. Happy weekend xx

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  2. Katherine, this was beautiful! Thank you so much for your vulnerability. It was exactly what I needed to hear today.

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    1. Thank you Darby! You may have already seen my comment on your blog, but I hope you're loving Mexico :-)

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  3. What a moving post from a beautiful girl, inside and out! Thank you for sharing your story and opening yourself up, I went through something similar and I know how inspiring and important sharing is in helping others. Thank you endlessly. You are such a wonderful soul and I am beyond blessed to have talked to you and seen all your potential. You are going to do amazing things for this world. I hope you know just how much you have helped me feel confident and beautiful enough to share my life on my blog. And I agree, kindness and acceptance are the biggest healers. Hatred is love's destroyer so there is no need to ever hate. I love your outlook about looking for the best in people and recognizing everyone's strengths, I feel exactly the same, and its nice to know others agree. I was talking to a friend the other day about kindness and seeing the beauty in life, and you would be surprised by how many people hate themselves too much to love other people. But at the end of the day it is girls like you, sharing, who can change that. I see your inner beauty, let it shine girl!

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    1. I know I tell you this all the time, but I seriously love you to the moon and back. I also love your paragraph long comments on every post even when I completely slack off with blogging and am a terrible blog friend. Your comments seriously make me feel so good/inspired :-)

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  4. Katherine, I don't even know where to begin in saying how much this post influenced me. I definitely understand what you mean when people don't see all sides of you, because I am pretty guarded myself. The love He has for us is unreal, and reading this makes me want to further see the beauty in everyone. Thank you.

    Much love,
    Stephanie

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    1. HOW HAVE WE FOLLOWED EACH OTHER FOR SO LONG, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD A BLOG? Yes, that definitely needed to be all caps. I'm so glad I found you. Anyways, your comment is so so sweet. It's always scary to show a piece of your soul to people, but I'm so glad it helped you. I hope your weekend is as cool as you are xx

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  5. Thank you for being so honest! I know how you feel about being guarded about personal things, as I have only ever been really open about my own struggles very few times. I would then revert back to the abridged version if ever asked because I was afraid that people wouldn't want to be burdened by all the details, or they would feel like they need to be sympathetic/sorry for me. But on the occasions that I really did let all the details out (to close friends, family, etc.), I only received words of encouragement, support, and love.

    Love you girlie <3 !

    That last quote---SO true!!

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    1. Thank you so so much P. It's scary, but it's also terribly freeing to show people the dusty and ugly parts of your soul. :-)

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  6. Aw Katherine <3 <3 <3 it's crazy hard to believe such an incredible person like you had to go through something like that. I know so many of the feelings you talked about and it makes me so sad that there are girls struggling with them right now. I just wish we could stop it all! My mom was also crucial in helping me with my recovery- I hope that I can be just a fraction of the mom she is for me to my kids. I have my "post" almost finished in the drafts... I just want to make sure I've hit everything before I hit publish, you know? You've inspired me to get on it and finish writing it so I can share my story. Like you, only a handful of people really know what I went through, but I want more people to know so that if they're struggling, they know there's more people that have gotten through it. <3

    Love you SO much! I truly do consider you one of my closest friends, even if that is a little creepy and we've never met. <33333

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    1. If you need anything while writing your story, please let me know! You got this. I won't lie, it's scary telling people who you really are, but I think you'll be surprised and blessed with the outpouring of love and support you'll receive. I always assume people are way more judgmental or critical than they really are. People have a knack for surprising me when I tell them something extremely personal or difficult. Nothing could make me think any less of you, so I can't wait to read your post. I love you too!! (Even if we've never met, I feel like you're my soul sister!)

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