I Don’t Want to Forget This

Standing in my doorway my friend, in her white winter coat with the black night behind her, shivers in the cold and says, “You are a treasure, and that’s the pill you need to swallow.”

You are a treasure. You are a treasure. You are a treasure.

Hmmm…

I realized a few months ago that something happened to me when I got to about grade 5. It was in that grade that I began to feel like no one wanted to be friends with me. I guess I just started to look at myself differently. And it was all so natural and intuitive… “no one wants to be friends with me, because I’m not…”

Fill in that blank with just about anything. Pretty enough. Cool enough. Nice enough. Maybe not smart enough, because I knew I was smart. But whoever wanted to be friends with someone because they’re smart, anyway?

That continued from grade 5 through grade 8. I just felt alone all the time. I wasn’t friends with the girl I’d been best friends with since I was two. I couldn’t tell you why. I’m starting to wonder now if I just pulled away from her because I thought she didn’t want to be friends anymore. (Maybe she stopped being friend because I pulled away?!)

There was a glitch in the system in grade 8 and 9 when I somehow got in with the really popular, pretty girls. I don’t know how it happened, but that was fun. I mean, I felt completely inadequate compared to them, but it was nice to have friends again.

But that’s the age when kids start partying, and party they did. And I was really uncomfortable with that, so I stopped hanging out with them. I’m not sure if they really noticed, because we moved onto high school the next year.

High school. The biggest high school in the province. Great if you have no friends, because no one will notice that you’re all alone. Not so great if you have no friends, because no one will notice that you’re alone.

Grade 10 was the worst. I mean, I legitimately looked horrible. (Everyone gets their bangs cut horribly once in life, and the summer going into grade 10 was that time for me.) I didn’t care about myself, so I didn’t take care of myself. I rushed from class to class mostly with my head down. Went home every lunch hour so I wouldn’t have to go through the awkward bit of finding someone to sit with in the cafeteria. The lowest point was when I took driver training: it started 20 minutes after the lunch bell rang and I got my dad to come pick me up and drive me home, so I could eat for 10 minutes and go back for driver training. All so I wouldn’t have to sit alone.

Not that I would’ve had to sit alone. Because I knew people. All sorts of people. I could talk to cool people and “uncool” people. I could make people laugh. But I just felt like I didn’t have a friend friend — not someone who I could count on to sit with me at lunch, or someone who’d call to hang out.

So I started going to youth group, and I got more involved with worship team. I did well at church. I fit in with the seniors, and the adults, and even some of the youth kids. But still, not a real peer. Not that year, anyway.

Grade 11 was better. And by grade 12, I had some close friends and for the most part felt better about myself. Although, I was still floored when a boy liked me that year. A real boy! Liked me! Even after that, eight months into university when Marc and I started dating and he obviously really liked me (of his own volition!), it took quite a bit of convincing on his part to prove to me that he really did like me. He proved it to me. But did I really believe it?

I did start to believe it with him. I believed that he actually liked me and he actually thought I was beautiful and he wasn’t just saying those things because he was in my family or something. It was Marc who first changed my perspective about myself.

But it still creeps into everything. I have made leaps and bounds in my perception of myself. But I still think there is this underlying theme of “you’re not good enough”; “you’re not … fill in that blank again…” Sometimes it’s subtle: like I’m confident writing counseling papers here at seminary, but when it comes to counseling people I, literally, crap my pants from fear and self-doubt. I still don’t do things because I’m afraid of how I physically look or how my kids will behave. I often go to bed at night feeling hopeless about how I’ve behaved that day.

But my good, good friend told me tonight that I’m a treasure. Marc said, “Dixie knows that. She can rationalize that all day. But she needs more — she needs some kind of emotional or spiritual… something.”

And, it’s true. I know it. I know God created me and that I don’t have to be perfect. I know that. But there is something in me that undergirds all of that rational thinking. And, stopping to think about it for a minute… I think the word would be “displeasure.” There has been something in me, from the age of ten onward, that has been saying “I am not…”

And I would like it to go away now. I don’t quite know how to go about doing that. And I don’t know if that change in thinking will manifest itself in different actions for me or simply different self-talk. (Come to think of it, I think I spent four months talking to my counselor about this very thing early this year!) What if I just stopped the negative self-talk, or at least ignored it?

And, heaven forbid, what if I started positive self-talk? My friend said repeatedly that I am a treasure. Always a treasure. A treasure when I’m yelling at my kids, puking on the toilet, feeling like total crap. A treasure. Not that I’m perfect. Not at all. But that I am a treasure just as I am.

There is something good in me. And that good should be the substance of me, instead of the displeasure.

Even more so, that’s always been the case.

So I think it would be useful for me to go back to my 10 year old self and tell skinny Dixie with the big bangs and tie-dyed over-sized t-shirt that “You are a treasure.” And that part of you that’s telling you that no one wants to be your friend? That is a lie. People want to be your friend. And if they don’t. They should. You are a treasure.

Fast forward six months from now. Super-insecure Dixie, wife of the new pastor at “____ Church”? You are a treasure, even if everyone thinks you’re a total nut job.

I need to tell myself that. Knock it into my head and into my heart until it really sticks.

I don’t want to forget the words of truth my friend spoke to me tonight: I am a treasure.

Posted in Life & Faith, Memories | 8 Comments

8 Responses to I Don’t Want to Forget This

  1. Carissa says:

    Well-said, Dixie. I can relate to practically everything you shared here, except you’re still leaps ahead of me….continue on. 🙂 (and that makes me really excited to hear you say “six months from now” – happy for the ‘new’ things your family will get to experience together very soon!! 🙂

  2. Deniece Reimer says:

    Dixie, yes, you ARE a treasure, because God made you a treasure. It’s funny how it’s so easy to see it in others, but the hardest journey to accept it for ourselves. If it helps, I too see it in you, a treasure that God cherishes and adores, and wants!

    Love the honesty Dixie. You have such a way of putting into words, life’s most intimate experiences, and I for one, look forward to reading your posts. Maybe that future pastor’s wife could be an author…hmmm. An author and a counselor, of course.

    Sky is the limit, Dixie. I look forward to seeing how God will continue to use you in the lives of others.

    Deniece.

  3. Bria says:

    Wow, it’s like you’ve taken the words right out of my mouth!

    I’ve had to change my thinking and self-talk drastically as well. I’ve had to look back at the 10-year-old me and tell her that it wasn’t because of her that dad left our family to start another one. I wasn’t the reason for it and, in fact, he really missed-out on knowing a pretty cool girl. It’s been hard to say that to myself and fully accept it, but it’s one day at a time, right?

    Great post.

  4. Lyn says:

    I like you. I have liked you since the first day I read your blog, despite only having met you once (briefly) in person. You are funny, full of life, genuine & real, and I feel myself drawn to you and wanting to know you better.

    You indeed ARE a treasure, and I pray that you will come to truly KNOW that in your deepest core.

  5. Melwyk says:

    I wish I’d told that skinny Dixie with big bangs that I thought you were a treasure even then! I was always jealous of Dean for having such a funky, original sister, even if I did have 2 of my own. Believe it, Dixie. You are.

  6. Collette says:

    A treasure–I like that!

    Insecurity is so weird. I’ve always thought you were so pretty and kind (you know you have awesome hair, right??), I always enjoyed our hangouts in university, plus I loved getting to hang out with you guys last year (so great to be able to talk so easily after having not seen each other in years). AND you seem to be about the best mom ever. I love the rituals you’ve created for your kids, like birthday presents at breakfast and the awesome parties you put together, plus that scavenger hunt! Loved it. Your kids will have such good memories of their childhoods.

    Negative self-talk is super crappy. I’ve struggled with it too. Hey, though, you said this, “You are a treasure, even if everyone thinks you’re a total nut job.”

    First, it’s impossible for “everyone” to think you’re a total nut job. Everyone? In the whole congregation? The whole town? That’s a lot of people.

    Also, “total” nut job? Nah, the ones that don’t like you will probably think you’re a nut job, but a “total” nut job? That’s hardcore. You aren’t a total nut job, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Here’s how I’d rationalize it: Some people will love you. Some people will be indifferent. There may even be a couple of people who don’t think you’re their type. But hey, they’re probably not your type either. Someone not liking me doesn’t really hurt my self-esteem too much, since I probably don’t actually like them much either. If they don’t like me, why would I even want to like them? I’m ok with it.

    You are so accomplished, my dear friend. I wish you could see that, for real. I think someday you will. And Super-insecure Dixie will go away, and we’ll have Confident Dixie instead. But even if Super-insecure Dixie never goes away, she’ll still be loved. That’s pretty ok too.

  7. Janice Peake says:

    Dixie, I always hear how you guys are doing from Bonnie. She sent me your blog. I just read this and wanted you to know that Jamie and I thought you guys were great friends and are great people. Always being yourselves and never pretending, it was always enjoyable, insightful and relaxing being with you. I don’t know about when you were younger, I know what I felt like, sometimes I wonder if it comes with the “churched kid” mentality, being taught we’re outsiders. So glad for you guys, I hope you find continued freedom in God’s love.

  8. Thanks for reading, Janice. It’s great to hear from you. (I was very tempted to call you at Christmas, but realized it would be quite the jaunt getting out to the farm now! Maybe next time???) I think Christian kids often grow up with an unhealthy amount of guilt about their humanity, as well…

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