Around the time of 6th grade, I was in a dance class with other girls my age. We were all friends, close friends actually. We had journeyed together through classes before, but this one was led by an outside instructor who was somewhat reserved. She was disciplined, and I always had the case of giggles at the most inappropriate times.
This particular afternoon, my dear friend (who I actually shared about here) and I were standing beside each other and mentally preparing for this technical class. I must mention that the class was held in a multi-purpose room at our church, and the ballet barres were actually bolted into the brick wall. Quite genius, I must say.
In unison, we lifted our right legs onto the barre for some type of unholy stretching exercise, when I heard the terrifying noise clanging deep in my heart before I could realize what was happening.
The barre and barre attachments AND SCREWS were dislodged from the wall in a nightmarish yet graceful action. BOOM boom BOOM boom BOOM BOOM BOOM went the wooden barres, falling to the ground and bouncing several times.
And did I mention we were not the wispy, thin ballet dancers you envision taking a dance class?
Oh, no. We were in the throes of puberty, Little Debbie Cakes, and always feeling not-good-enough and poor-self-esteem-ishly. We were a few pounds heavier than our friends, and we knew it. It was a constant battle to beat comparison to the ground and stand with confidence.
It is still a constant battle to be content in my skin. To stand on the dust of comparison and shout that I am Beautiful, because I am a Child of God.
But that barre said differently.
That boy said differently.
The magazine said differently.
The list goes on. The battle of the bulge becomes a burden...Another weight to carry on what you feel is already too much.
I laugh now about the story. In fact, I hysterically laugh, tears rolling down my cheeks.
But deep inside, it still stings. I realize I haven't fully entrusted the struggle with my weight to the Creator who made me. The One who knows why it is that I love chocolate so much... or why I would rather eat icing than potato chips.
I'm always growing in this area. A life-long journey to finding my worth not in the number on a scale or the ability to squeeze into a smaller size.
That poor girl in 6th grade. That sweet friend who shared the humility yet hysterically funny moment. I wish I could tell them it would be ok. And a few years from now, I'm sure I will wish I could tell my present self the same. Until then, love your fellow sisters and friends, moms and aunts and grandmothers and in-laws... speak truth in their lives, and let's stop trying to measure by the standards of this temporary world.
Let's raise the bar.