I met Shari about 2 1/2 years ago here in Dallas. I was telling her during her shoot that I didn’t know how to write the bio section of her story. She is so many things! People who know her understand what I mean. She is a mother, a wife, a friend. But she is also hilariously funny, joyful, giving, creative. And her emotions are always accessible, making her very genuine and real. She is serious about her love of the Lord and her convictions in ministry. She will always greet you with a hug and a smile, and is an endless source of encouragement. Let her sunny personality warm you up on this cold day with her humorous story ending a bad relationship….
The Day I Came Out of My Closet
I have a confession to make. I am guilty. I’m embarrassed to say this in public. I have been in an abusive relationship since I was 9. I cannot run away. I have to face it. No matter how many times I have tried to hide it, its time to come clean. I have been in a bad relationship with MYSELF!
I started by comparing myself to others. But that wasn’t enough. I began to look in mirrors and berate, belittle, and beat myself mentally and verbally until I would end up in a puddle of tears. I would starve myself, force terrible diet regimens, and even make myself hide because I was mortified to be seen with me. I would shut down in social situations and appear a snob. Why? Because I thought I was supposed to be like everyone else. But I was not.
When I was 8 my parents resigned from their church and we moved out of the parsonage. From that point is where many of my insecurities began. We left a very small, and seemingly secure existence to a beautiful home where I didn’t have to share a room any longer. This was great until night-time. I remember being scared at night and feeling alone. In addition my siblings and I were changing and growing. I particularly took notice of how my sisters were becoming women. Both are absolutely beautiful however we each are different in many ways. Being the youngest, I looked up to them and wanted to be just like them. That was hard to do, as I became the tallest (did I mention 5’11”), curviest (not a size 10 baby) and wasn’t asked out near as much. Boys noticed them and they appeared to have it all together. I thought this was the norm and this was re-enforced by the TV and movies I watched. I was caught up in a world where I allowed the “social norm” to dictate who I was supposed to be inside and out. I felt that I was unacceptable if I did not meet others’ expectations. I didn’t look like my sisters so somehow in my young mind I would not get to do and be what they were. Add this to the fact that in the 80’s being blond was “in”. After all, the common phrase was “blonds have more fun!” I am obviously no where near blond and this was something that I couldn’t change without chemicals. The hard part was that I knew a lot of blonds and they did seem to have more fun. I just couldn’t seem to win in my comparison game. This was seen in friendships, dating, church and even in work situations. I just couldn’t seem to fit into the box that was set before me. This has been years in the making. And the abusive relationship continued.
Fast forward to now. I’m beginning to understand that I was never meant to look or be like anyone else. In a world where we try to dress the same and box ourselves into the current trend, my soul cries out to be unique. I was created as an individual. Not a clone. God’s intricate artistry of an individual cannot be copied. I was never intended to be the same as another. Nor were you.
I decided that since I turned 40 this year it was time to come of out of my closet (hence the choice of title) and begin a healthy relationship with myself. To stop hiding and start embracing who I am. Inside and out. To celebrate my quirkiness and giftings that my Maker programmed in me. To enjoy singing, playing the piano, reading, writing, painting, baking, creating, perhaps start a business, ya know….the good stuff with plenty of laughter to boot! There is an excitement that I cannot contain. A good relationship that is on the horizon. That, my friend, is beautiful!