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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In defense of you

I read an article this morning on the naming of Kate and William's newborn daughter.  The article discussed how awful it was that the author's 6-month old daughter was named Charlotte and now, horror of horrors, Kate and William named their daughter the same.  The author even stated that she was seriously contemplating changing her daughter's name because she didn't want her to have the same name as a bunch of other children in her class.  She wanted her daughter to be unique and ended the article apologizing to her daughter for "failing" in the name department.

To this author and her daughter and the myriad of other children out there named Charlotte, Olivia, Madison, and whatever other names are in the top 10 baby names this year, please hear me when I tell you:  YOU are enough.

A name does not lend you "uniqueness".  You are already unique, as a member of this planet, born with a mix of DNA that is uniquely yours.  Your quirks, your flaws, your skills, your experiences, your abilities, they are all completely unique to YOU.

I once felt that I was not enough.  Sometimes, when I am depressed or anxious, I still think it.  I feel like I am failing at life.  I feel like I may as well just go back to the old standby me, the one who sits around and eats, the one who cries because I never had many friends.  I sometimes feel like my uniqueness really hurt me, because I could not relate well to others.

Part of that was my own doing, because in longing for friends, I often overshot the mark and became someone I wasn't to be a part of that group.  Or, I practically stalked people so that I could become friends with them.  Imagine my surprise when showing up on someone's doorstep to talk didn't make someone a best friend either!  

My sister stayed the night here last night and Saturday night, as she was on her way to, and from, Iowa to go house hunting.  We were discussing a former friend of my stepdaughter's, who has had a lot of difficulty in school, mainly because she is highly intelligent and unafraid to speak her mind.  Let me tell you, I saw myself in her.  She sat at my table one day and corrected my stepdaughter when she misspelled a word, without being asked to, and I looked at her and tried to impart wisdom.  As I sat there looking at myself 25 years ago, I told her that I knew from personal experience, nobody likes a know-it-all.  How do I know?  Because I was that child.  My sister just nodded and said, "Yeah, you were, weren't you?"  Yeah, yeah, I was.

Why did I do that?  Well, I guess my 12-year old self thought that was the only way to impress others, because otherwise, I was not enough.  I was tall and stocky.  I couldn't play basketball because of my congenital heart defect.  I had anger issues.  I was super sensitive and cried easily whenever I was angry or upset.  I was a perfectionist who couldn't just let things go.  I overcompensated and pushed even more people away.

25 years later, I am much more comfortable in my own skin.  I embrace my intelligence.  I love my quirks.  I'm easily amused.  I love corny jokes.  I love music and will dance anywhere at any time.  I love the retro. modern aesthetic and my favorite color is purple.  I am super sarcastic and love to read.  I am an introverted extrovert.  I am boisterous and loud and chaotic, but I crave my space and time to be alone.  I often agree to go to parties and back out at the last minute because I cannot face new and different people, yet I am the first one to chat up random strangers in the elevator or at the grocery store.

I am uniquely me and I have learned that I am enough.  I am enough for my husband and my stepkids.  I am enough for my friends and most importantly, I am enough for God.

If I have some people that maybe don't like me, it's not because I am not good enough.  I am not a bad person, even though I do tend to interrupt people, because if I don't get out my thought, I tend to forget it.  I am not a bad woman, because I know more about sports than I do about hair and makeup.  I am not a bad wife because I hate scrubbing toilets.  I am not a bad friend even if I call or write infrequently.

Likewise, if you are feeling low today, if you are struggling to fit in or maintain friendships, or establish new ones, YOU are enough.  You don't have to wear yoga pants and a stained sweatshirt to prove you are a dedicated mommy.  You don't have to be dressed and made up perfectly to prove you are a hardworking person.  You don't have to listen to the music you don't like.  You don't have to play dumb or pretend to be someone you're not in order to 'fit in'.  Be you, unabashedly.  Do not apologize for your YOUness.  There were three Adams in my high school class, two Tonys, two Kristens, and two Kims.  Guess what?  They were all different.  They were all unique and their names were even spelled the SAME WAY.  *GASP*  Quelle horreur!  

A name does not define you.  A name is a great start to getting to know someone.

You'll find those that you are meant to be friends with.  I found a lot of mine in college.  I have a friend who I talk on the phone with probably twice a year.  Every time we talk, we end up quoting lines from "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles".  Every single time, we laugh.  She is my Diana Barry.

There are no unique names, people.  Unless you are making yours up out of thin air, there will be someone else (probably tens of thousands of others) with your name.  You don't need a superfluous Y, Z, K, or DEN, DYN on the end of your name to fit in to this world.  You already do.  God loves you.  Your parents love you.  You will make friends who love you and all of your quirks, too.

You are enough.

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