Last Thursday, during zumba, we only had 3 people in class (plus the instructor). Since all three of us are faithful attenders of this fitness class and pretty much know all the routines, our instructor was kind of in the middle of the class. That put me in front (right in front of the giant mirror that goes along the whole wall). One girl didn't want to be in the front and insisted she would be in back, therefore hiding behind me so she wouldn't have to see herself in said giant mirror. This is also what I like to do. I like to be close enough to be able to easily see the instructor, especially when we have new routines we are learning since I am a perfectionist and want to do everything right.

Anyway, the fact that I couldn't help but see part of myself in the mirror the whole class was really irking me. Because to see the instructor, I had to look in the mirror, as she was behind me. That made me almost every time see myself. Now most people when they are working out don't look their best, obviously. I'm not really the kind of person who has cute outfits to work out in. I have my 60 dollar nike wicking pants, which are awesome, but I usually wear a t-shirt or tank, or whatever. I don't really go there to impress people.

So the whole class, I'm looking up at the ceiling or down at the floor, concentrating more on NOT looking in the mirror than anything. Then our instructor says "You all have a lot of beautiful qualities! You'd better get used to it!" I thought "it" meant looking in the mirror/ seeing ourselves. It was too much for me to hear. And it was a good thing I was sweating like crazy, because I don't think anyone noticed that I cried. Not sobbing or anything obnoxious, just tears. I just made like I was using my sweat towel on my sweaty face to try to make sure no one noticed. After class, I must have been noticeably quiet, because the instructor was walking out with us and asked if I was okay. I said yes. She said "are you sure?" I said yes, I'm fine.

Now, this is bugging me. I am beginning to recall a man in my life telling me "you're cute and you know it." I thought "I do?" And I've been trying to think of why I feel this way. I don't carry myself like someone with low self-esteem. I have confidence in my abilities and I'm not afraid to say and do what I want. So I was thinking, what is wrong with me? Why do I feel / think this way?

Then it came to me. I don't ever remember getting compliments when I was in my formative years. I didn't have a father to hold me and call me his beautiful baby girl. I remember the day in high school that I looked in the mirror and thought "Maybe I'm not ugly..." I remember the first time I ever heard someone tell me that I looked pretty. It was my Senior year in High school. A friend of mine said "you look really pretty today. Do you feel pretty?" and I was blindsided. Even with my first boyfriend, he never said I was beautiful. He would say "you have a beautiful smile" or "you have a beautiful voice." I never recall him telling me "you're beautiful." Now all of that might be moot, because he's totally gay now, so whatever. That's another blog.

What do I remember? I remember being picked on and to use a trendy word these days "bullied" in elementary school. My nickname was "Crybaby Kristen." I cried a lot (still do), but I can't really feel too badly about that, because I was picked on a lot. I was called fat, and when I got glasses in 3rd grade - four eyes. Once in fifth grade someone asked me what my mom made an hour (because he was my neighbor and apparently knew we were poor). I didn't know. I just made up a number, I didn't know what was high and what was low. Just said a number. He laughed and said "you mom makes minimum wage?" I don't even know what she made then -  I was probably way off! I had no idea about any of that stuff. I remember a certain classmate to remain nameless asking every girl to "go out" in 4th grade.... every girl except me. I remember classmates around that same time making a bet and the person who lost had to "go out with me" all summer. I remember when I was a witch in 4th grade being voted "scariest costume" but I knew it was a joke. In high school, people who I thought were my best friends turned on me and mocked me in front of other people (to look cool, of course). A friend of mine laughed when she found out I was going to ask a friend of mine to go to prom with me (as friends). I got so scared after that, I never asked him. He still found out I was going to ask him, which forced me to call him and tell him that I was just going to ask him as friends, so things wouldn't get awkward. He responded to me by saying "I don't care what other people think." I still never asked him. I went with a group of "friends," who then left me at Prom with no ride home. I never told my family. I just said I had a lot of fun and later destroyed every single picture except one of that night. The next school day, a person who was my friend and her prom date just laughed their faces off when they saw me. The guy was my locker mate. These are the painful things I remember.

For the longest time, it was even really difficult for me to take compliments at all. For instance, I sing and I remember going to sing at a friend's wedding. I had to give myself a little "talk" in the car on the way there. I had to think "Okay, people are probably going to compliment you after you sing. So you're going to have to smile and say thank you, and appear gracious." People at karaoke, for instance, used to think I was stuck up, because they would compliment me, and I would just smile and walk away. I have since learned that I have to smile, and say thank you. I usually say "that's very nice of you to say." I want to be gracious, but I don't want to seem arrogant.

Even this weekend, I was talking to a friend of mine because a guy introduced himself to me. He came up and asked if I knew who he was. I said no. He said "I'm on your facebook!" He is my friend on facebook, and I thought maybe I knew him because he had common friends with me, including some of my family. But he wasn't who I thought he was (He was very attractive, I would remember him). I asked a mutual friend who he is and how I would know him. She said "maybe he just saw you on my page and thought you were cute and added you?" I said "no, that's not even possible." There's no ending to this, he didn't then miraculously ask me out or anything. Its just the way I think. This is the same girl who told me "I know lots of guys who would love to be with you," after learning of my split with my ex. I was like "what? You're lying?" Then I basically thought I didn't want to know because they were probably gross people. 

Maybe this is why the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldridge appealed to me so much. I've read it about a half dozen times. Part of the book discusses that not being "good enough" is one of a woman's biggest fears. We feel like we will be too much AND not enough. For instance, our emotional needs might be too much and our sex appeal won't be enough for our man. I can definitely relate to this. I have told people "I just look at him and I think, why would he want me?" (By the way I'm not referring to the guy in the previous story or anything, just in general, and I know I have said this before). Even with having lost weight and a (male) friend of mine saying to me every time I see him "You're looking so good." I don't take it the way like "you're beautiful." I just take it as a side effect of weight loss. 

My mindset is so bad that if someone says I'm cute or I'm beautiful or pretty, I pretty much always shake my head. Even if I don't say "you're wrong," or "that's crazy," I still portray that sentiment. I'm trying to think of how to fix it. I know all the scriptures telling me that beauty is fleeting and all that other stuff. I understand that. Its not the knowledge that I don't have, its the actual belief that I actually might not be hideous to behold.

All of this might sound crazy, but I had to get it off my chest, as I couldn't sleep. I want to be able to have a man look at me and tell me that he thinks I'm beautiful and accept it. I don't know how long it will take me to get there, but I'm trying. I just wish I had someone to talk to that could truly understand how I feel.


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