I was awkward on the other end of the spectrum. Liiiiike the loud...slightly obnoxious (haha let's be kind to Calee right now, ok??)...in-your-face kind of awkward. Cheerleader (I'm not saying all cheerleaders are obnoxious, calm down), ASB, honors classes, weirdly Mormon and obsessed with boys.
I thank heaven daily that social media wasn't around when I was 13-19, because, YOU GUYS, it would.have.been.B-A-D. You know people who post cryptic, overly emotional post-break up Facebook statuses? I would have been the QUEEN of those...and my reign would have been gloriously uncomfortable and awful.
you're welcome for sharing this fantastic photo of my no-eyebrow, greasy middle-part, long-hair-with-no-layers self.
please don't kill me, ashley.
Why am I telling you about high school? When it was the WORST? Because I know that there are a fair number of you in high school right now. And it's nice to know that you're not alone in your awkwardness, right?
I can only imagine how devastatingly impossible it must be to ever feel like you're enough in high school these days. Instagram?! Pinterest?! PHOTOSHOP?! Oh my heavens...I struggled with a major inferiority complex with just my big sister - who wore headgear at night and drove a hideous gold car (nothing but love, Nikki!). No one contoured. Everyone's eyebrows were HIDEOUS. It was fine. I mean, Britney Spears was a tricky one to navigate...I was NEVER going to get out of the house wearing a school girl outfit with knee-high socks - how could I compete with HER for Derek Simper's heart?! PS Derek, if you ever read this - I was obsessed with you from like 4th grade until we graduated. If you asked me out right now I'd totally go for it. So. What are you doing this weekend..?... I digress.
A part of why my HS experience was so weird, I think, lies wrapped up in a gospel truth. A truth that I didn't understand fully - and that ended up causing me a lot of pain and heartache.
Some people will talk about girls who are 'boy crazy'. You know what I mean when I say that, right? A girl who's entire self esteem depends on a boy liking her? Who can never seem to go too long without a boyfriend? Who is majorly devastated if/when any relationship fails to live up to the 'happily ever after' hype? That was me. Only, I didn't see it that way. I saw it as me becoming who I was meant to be.
Let me explain:
I grew up listening to lesson after lesson in Sunday school (and sacrament, and Young Women's, at mutual and FHE...) talk about the importance of family. My purpose as a daughter of God (yeah, this is oversimplified, maybe - but it's what I understood in high school) was to get married and have kids. I was meant to be a Mom. I listened to women share their testimonies on the beauty of marriage, how having kids was the most incredible thing ever, how they knew that God wanted them to have families and - even though their husbands weren't perfect - they knew their husbands were the perfect match for them.
It seemed pretty straightforward to me that in order to really achieve my highest potential as a person in this life, I would need to fall in love and get married. I don't think I've ever heard a talk, to this day, where a woman said, "I recognize that God has a different plan for me in this life - outside of having a family." We don't talk about it in those terms. I *HAVE* heard ,"God hasn't blessed me with children or a husband in this life, and I've had to make peace with that." but that's a completely different thing. My entire worth and future depended on a nice, returned-missionary falling in love with me and making me his wife and mother to his children. Had you asked me back then, I would have probably told you that I wanted to go to college and that I had hobbies and dreams outside of having a family, too, (which was true) - but ultimately, on the most basic level, I wanted to be a super-Mormon-wife and mom. I wanted to live the dream. Be what God wanted me to be. Every other decision and plan was just a blip on the roadmap toward marriage and a family - every situation outside of that marital bliss was just buying time until I was able to achieve it.
The issue with hearing and internalizing all of those messages over the years (for me, at least) was that it translated into this weird obsession with love - specifically, a BOY falling in love with me...and not just ANY boy...but THE boy. My eternal companion. :enter sighing and lights streaming from the heaven and angels singing sweetly from the dewy heavens: Being attractive and desirable to as big a pool as possible, therefore, was important - so I could be sure to attract the right boy. The sad news for you, high school Calee, is that your standards and concept of what the "right" boy was pretty naive...
Oh my goodness this post isn't at all what I thought it was going to be. I set off to share an embarrassing story or two about my HS experience...but it turned into some real self-realization haha.
The important stuff I've learned SINCE high school about this: God cares about ME more than He cares about me falling in love and having a family. Just me. Me and what I am and who I'm becoming as a human being. Me as a person who is learning every day. I've learned that there isn't a sure-fire path that leads to happiness for every person. Everyone has their own path, their own timing. God knows and loves each one of us - married, unmarried, with kids, without kids. Whatever your familial circumstances look like, God loves you. And THAT love...HIS love...is the only love I'll ever truly need. His love is the love that I'll never have to fight for, I'll never have to worry about losing. My worth is based in what God sees when He looks at my heart, not what some other imperfect human being sees when they look at my face or my waist size or my bust size or make-up/clothes. Every blessing (marriage, financial gain, other dreams being realized) will come as I focus on my everyday walk with the Savior - people will come into my life that I'm supposed to meet, experiences I'm meant to have will happen.
Whew. I should probably edit this before I post it, but you know what? I'm just going to leave it raw and real and let you do what you will with it. So there you go. My thoughts for the day. Maybe I'll come back to it and talk about why my vision of men was so naive, or how I shifted my perspective away from specifically marriage-focused, to God-focused. We'll see.