up I always wanted people to look up to me. Between being
heavily involved in church sunday schools, worship leading,
and baby-sitting young ladies, I wanted to be some kind
of role model. I wanted parents and my peers to think
I was good. Pure, even. I took pride in the comments other
parents made to my parents and I wanted it to be like
that forever. It was like crack cocaine and I was hooked.
nobody mentioned how tiring it is having people look up
to you, or how scary it is. Nobody really talks about
the fact that youll have days where you wonder if
you can survive for yourself, let alone for those watching
on the sidelines.
call me a survivor.
get pictures and quotes sent to me and they tell me I
sometimes I fear people may look at me and think, If
she can do it, or survive it, then so can I. And
I fear that if I slip, or give up, or do not survive it,
theyll then believe that neither can they.
a terrifying thought.
I want to be a survivor. And the thought of others considering
me a survivor is not a horrible one.
even through my heart-wrenching transparency, there is
still so much unseen by the outside world.
dont really want people to look up to me. I dont
really want people so see me as a role model or their
life inspiration. Ideally, Id prefer to walk side
by side with people. Not run a race where everyone else
is just on the sidelines. Id rather us be honest
with each other, and tell each other we dont have
our ish together. Id rather you know that yeah,
I had depression and suicidal tendencies years ago and
now Im in a good, happy, healthy place and I consider
myself an overcomer, but I still deal with nights where
I dont trust myself not to cause self-harm and I
bawl in a parking lot because sometimes things suck.
dont want to be on a pedestal because the higher
the pedestal I am put on by others, the farther down I
will inevitably fall. Because Im just a human who
still fights against the demon of PTSD and sometimes depression
tries to find its way back into my life and most days
I have no idea what Im doing. Im on a journey
that forces me to humble myself daily and its continuously
a wild ride.
not really a role model.
have no desire to portray a dishonest, better version
of myself online or to other people in general.
I have no issue reconciling this with calling myself a
follower of Christ because contrary to the preaching I
receive via FB messages from people who have never even
invested in my life, we are not called to be perfect.
We are not called to maintain a high reputation and put
up a front of goodness that is half true at best.
are called to care for the widow and orphan. We are called
to be peacemakers. We are called to be reconcilers. We
are called to love without condition, without a hint of
buts or ifs. We are called to take care of ourselves.
We are called to provide for those in need and look after
the least of these.
is the important work of the gospel and what Jesus ultimately
stood for as he walked this messy little earth.
if we wish for a reputation, that is the one I believe
we should have.
is the only reputation I care for, if I must have one.
dont have a high concern for swearing or piercings
or ink or midriff.
so, because I am not too naive to think we can avoid reputations
altogether, nor can we truly forfeit being role models
or inspirations to some, if I must have someone look up
to me, may it be for my fight for justice. For my vulnerability
and honesty. May it be for my daily choice to fight against
the demons that haunt me.
may it never be to a point where they think if I cant
do it, neither can they.
I one day stand before God, I dont plan on receiving
rewards for having a flawless vocabulary and for always
wearing 10inch-from-the-middle-seam shorts and avoiding
spaghetti straps. (?!?! Ill never get that rule.)
I dont plan on having a conversation where theres
a large focus on my lack of sunday church attendance or
the fact that I didnt have a thing against alcohol.
And I certainly dont expect to receive praise or
honor for being what weve ultimately turned into
an idolthe Proverbs 31 woman.
always hated the whole there are more important
things idea because its generally used to
silence marginalized people, but honestly, while were
policing peoples tones and clothing and language
and choices of friends we are consequently ignoring legitimate
life threatening issues like mental health and sexual
abuse and systemic racism/ discrimination. Innocent black
men and women are getting shot. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in
6 boys are sexually abused before they turn 18, so pardon
me if that makes me say some colourful words. I dont
know how it doesnt make everyone on Gods green
earth righteously pissed off. Women are still experiencing
harassment daily from co-workers, friends, family, and
strangers in the street at an atrocious rate. Gay people
are constantly having their worth, dignity and rights
debated among people who have never cared enough to ask
them their stories let alone their names.
say tragic experiences in your life force you to focus
on the more important things in life, and I suppose you
could say that happened to me. I wish you didnt
have to go through hell and back to recognize how much
were fighting about/for is entirely insignificant,
but it seems to be the case a lot of the time.
is where my fight has brought me. It was brought me to
a place where I cant fight for peoples approval
because I would have to die trying. It has brought me
to a place where I no longer get the public acceptance
and praise of most fellow Christians because many think
Ive fallen off the deep end. And Im 100% okay
I have found myself and my Jesus in the dirty groundwork
of fighting for a better future for my future kids, and
for my brothers and cousins and the little girls I used
to babysit. And from this point on I pray to God there
will forevermore be dirt under my fingernails as I give
all I have to pave a better way for myself and others.
I must have a reputation, let it be for that and that
yes, I am a survivor. But I am no superhero.
Richardson is a young up and coming writer and contributor
to OrleansOnline.ca. She has a regular blog which can
be found at www.withhishands.ca.)
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