I actually wrote out this post a few months ago. Sometimes I write posts that are personal and are never posted though I originally intended to. I guess it's a way to vent. But I re-read this today and it applies to me now just as much as it did then so I'm going to try another time to be "brave" and just post this dang thing!
And now I walk the plank...
Today, I have decided to post something quite personal as I have been quite introspective lately. I'll try not to be too over-the-top and "dear diary"-ish, and I'll try not to make you uncomfortable (though notice the title), but consider yourself forewarned that I just might be. And if you don't feel like reading this I would recommend that you at least watch the video below.
The truth is, I have always had, since my childhood, major self doubt. I have always been afraid. Afraid of showing people just how strange I really am. Afraid that people won't like me when they see the real me. Afraid that I will be misunderstood. Afraid to share what I'm really struggling with. So, I just stay quiet. Sure, you will see glimpses of me here and there, but all of me is usually in a hiding spot where I know no one can find me.
While I was in the midst of my study abroad experience in France, I had the opportunity to go to Normandy and visit many of the historical WWII sites. I also got to go to the WWII Museum in Caen. I will never forget all of the Awe-some, though not so awesome, pictures and such displayed there. One particular set of photos that were branded into my mind was a triptych of a young girl of 17. I remember she had blond shoulder length hair done in the style of the times. The first panel was of this beautiful young woman holding up a sign, protesting against Hitler and his occupation. The next panel was of her at the gallows, noose waiting behind her. And the final, she was hanging there, dead, because she stood up for what she believed in. What she believed to be right, good, and true. As I stood there, transfixed upon these images, my eyes started to tear as I thought about how I have never been nor felt this strong. Like I could never really stand up to adversity like this courageous young girl. I admired her and admire her still. Ever since then I am constantly trying to build my courage to stand up for what I believe in. I will tell you, though it may be no surprise, that it is extremely difficult at times.
If you want to know one reason why I find this girls courage extraordinary
and why I too want to be this type of person, watch this.
My first crux: How can I stand up for "truth" when it may only be truth to me. A lot of scholars and self-proclaimed smarty-pants (I might be one of those at times) argue that because something isn't absolute truth you can't debate it. It's a philosophical and logical argument that absolutely holds some merit. But there is more than one kind of truth. I think I, and the rest of the world, often times forget this. We all have our own truths based on what we're taught, our experiences, what we feel, and what makes sense to us. So, what I'm trying to say is you get to talk about what you believe is true and so do I. I will happily consider what you say but I may not change my mind (and I know this works the other way around with me realizing that someone else may not change their mind). The girl mentioned above stood up for what she believed to be true, being defined as "sincerity in action, character, and utterance." So too can I be sincere in my actions, my character, and what I say. I hope that I will never have to stand up as she did and give my life but I must be willing to nonetheless. The way that I will ensure that I stand firm is to practice, or in better words to start now to be true to myself and to others. I dug and searched to find who I truly am and what I truly believe in and it is ever evolving.
Second crux: How can I really know that I'm not deceiving myself? What if I am certain that something exists and it is only in my mind? That can absolutely happen. So, I guess I can say in the wake of uncertainty it is best to be silent. Then I must always be silent, we must all be silent because we must then all be uncertain. We question, we reason, we ponder what things are, how they should be done, and so forth but what we always come up with is the truth to the best of our conscious knowledge, so why it hold back? Why should I hold back what works for me and what helps me better understand the meaning of life and all the beautiful things life has? I believe most people try to make the best choices they believe to be possible based on what they know and believe. I think there is nothing wrong with that. And I too try to make the best possible decisions based on what I know. I think there is nothing wrong with sharing what I know, and also allowing others to share with me. I love to hear what others have to say. So...moving on. I build the courage and let my feelings out. I let it out only after much thought. Thoughts of how I can share my feelings while not offending and staying true to myself. Sadly, it seems as though being true and non-offensive is not possible. There will always be someone who feels attacked by what I say though there was no malice in my intent. There will always be someone who thinks I'm an idiot, that I haven't ever considered another side to a story. Someone who thinks I'm too old-fashioned, too progressive, too uptight, too laxed, too right-wing, too left-wing, too not-the-norm, too trendy.
Third crux: How can I ever want to stand up for what I believe when it will be attacked? Because of multiple disheartening experiences I feel like I'm worse off than I started. I frantically look back and try in my earnest to figure where I went wrong. Sometimes I realize what I could have done differently and learn from those mistakes. There have been plenty of times where I wish I could take back what I said to a family member, a friend, a stranger. But often times I feel completely misunderstood and misjudged. Basically, everything that I'm afraid of when it comes to being confident in one's self has actually happened. And it's painful to me. How can I move on with my head held high (hopefully not too high) and not be affected by those who hate, or dislike, me and my beliefs? This is where I get stuck. This is where my anxiety settles in. This is where thoughts of worry, self-reproach, and bemoaning never cease. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of giving these people, thoughts, experiences power over me, leaving me second-guessing my integrity. I truly feel like I mean no harm and yet I feel like I'm one of Satan's angels when I say something that people don't agree with. I just want to cry out, "I am not what you think I am! I am a good person!"
Someone who has generated plenty of "controversy" on her blog said in one of her blog posts, "The hardest lesson I've ever learned: it's OK that people don't like me." It is a lesson I am learning now. It is something that may very well be only in my head. But I am doing everything in my power to be honest, and true, and supportive of others, despite what they believe. Even if it is received harshly, by myself or the world, I know my intentions are good, regardless if my re-evaluations change my mind or not. I will no longer allow that force to bring me down and at times when I should speak up, to not let it bind my tongue.
Also, this was a great article to read to keep me uplifted. It talks about the price of discipleship. That in wanting the best for others and trying to serve them, there will always be opposition. There will always be those who don't agree with you, despise you, think that what you are doing is wrong. It is something that can never really be answered with one answer that fits all. Most things can't. But still, we must have "Christian Courage."
I know I am closing with religious content but it is so much more than that. The above video on good and evil, the girl opposing Hitler's reign, coming to terms with my own contenders, and living and sharing the gospel can seem incomparable to each other due to the varying degrees of seriousness and importance, but the same thing applies. If I cannot get over and stand firm to those who disagree with me, how can I ever be immovable in my faith, my happiness, my truth, especially when my life and what I want my life to stand for depends upon it?
Food for thought and now that I've feasted I'm ready for a nap.