Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I feel foreign to it

I have been thinking about writing this blog for quite sometime. But I think the idea of being so extremely transparent is what has steered me away from it. Sometimes as humans, we have all of these intense, intricate and life-changing thoughts that pop into our heads (I personally reference that as the holy spirit). Some of us choose to share it with our friends, spouse, siblings, co-worker, etc. But the idea of sharing what is on my heart, seems like I am giving away the answer-key to all my insecurities. A wise person once told me, "Listen with your mind, speak from your heart." Ever since I heard that saying, it has stuck with me.

So what is the mysterious subject? Well, in a nut-shell it contains beauty, love, lust, affection, desires, and how in the world to differ right from wrong. I know what your thinking, I just opened an invitation for controversy, and sentiment. First of all, I am speaking from my own heart. My misfortunes, my wounds and my insecurities are always going to be different from everyone else's point of view. So, I speak from my own experiences and my own dialectic past. 


 A year ago, I would have described beauty as: Skinny, Curvacious, Blonde, Tan, Blue eyes, Perfect teeth, Busty, Perfect complexion, Fashionable etc. Right off the bat (to whomever is reading this) I am sure there is at-least one characteristic you disagree with, or maybe you disagree with all of them. What is the common theme? 1) All of these attributes are physical 2) This IS reality, no matter which direction you try to place your argument on. My question that has been a probing challenge in my journey of life is: "Where did this idea come from?" Why do I feel like I have to establish and be all of the above? Am I forgetting an important conversation I had with the "queen of beauty" in which she shared these secrets with me?

Here is a bigger question: Who makes us as women feel beautiful? Who makes us feel like we somehow convey the porcelain image of beauty mentioned above? The most common responses could be: My boyfriend, My husband, My friends, My mirror (haha), etc. 

So what happens if you've never "had" that "ideal" beauty? Does that mean your not beautiful? Does that mean the man you are dating or married too will always or eventually lust over that girl walking down the street that does have those traits? And then....will he secretly think she is more beautiful than you? I know I may be spitting fire here. But lets be honest...those phrases are all ones most of us can fall victim too. Or maybe I am alone, who knows.

Lets get down to the point here. Why?

Here is my personal conclusion. 
Women, no matter where you are at in life, are or have been broken in someway shape or form. Take a minute and stem back to the first encounter you had with a man. How did he make you feel? Did he make you feel fat? Did he make you feel pretty? Did he make you feel stupid? Most of our first encounters with men, are with our fathers. But what about the women that have never met their father? Or the women with views of their father being very abusive? Well lets go with the best case scenario to "lighten" the mood a bit. Lets say best case scenario you have a pretty good father figure. He tells you your doing well in school, maybe he tells you a dozen times he is proud of you, maybe he tells you at a high school dance that you look stunning. Ok so far the first man you encountered with has treated you, pretty well. But then, as a part of life we move past that - and onto the next man; which is usually our first boyfriend. Or maybe for some, the first guy you genuinely loved.

I find something comical. However we are raised, we really are all the same. We seek the attention of feeling beautiful. Out of the chaotic and diverse world we live in, we can probably agree on one thing and one thing only. Our hearts biggest desire; which is to be delighted in, and to feel beautiful in the eyes of a man we admire.

Here is my second question: Right now, this day in age, how do men portray to a woman that he thinks she is beautiful? I will be short and sweet (Since that's typically how the relationships go)

1) Guy (or in some cases the girl) picks out girl/guy out of crowd, acknowledges him/her
2) They find common ground on a conversation topic, find something in common (Girl may or may not already be planning wedding, JK) 
3) Guy or girl asks to go home with them
4) You know what happens next.... Lets just say they aren't going home to play Monopoly, kids.

I guess in the misconstrue blunt phrase I get from a guy asking me to go home with him is "Prove to me that your beautiful with the way you can pleasure me physically." And the sad part, I took the bait.

In recent months, I have found myself uncomfortable with the guys I have encountered with at church, and at young-life events. I get nervous, and I haven't figured out why. It was until a recent conversations, and processing those ideas that literally took me by surprise. 

Conversation 1
"I don't like it when girls wear yoga pants." -Guy
"Hmmm. Why?" - Me
"Because its like you can see the form of their butt. Its like an outline of their butt with black paint over it." -Guy
"Because it grosses you out? (Typical me response...jumping to the conclusion that we all have to have a perfect butt)" - Me
"No, because its a temptation." - Guy 

Conversation 2 
(Conversing about a bible verse relating our physical desires to the person we are dating) 
"Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

"But I feel like I would want to kiss the guy I am dating." - Me
"Yeah because that's what the world has persuaded you to believe." - Guy
"So your saying you could date a girl, and create a boundary of no physical interaction, no kissing, no holding hands?" -Me
"Yes." - Guy
"But how would the girl know you are an affectionate guy, if that is something she desired in a spouse? And how would a women feel like you thought she was beautiful over every other woman if you never grabbed her hand, or kissed her when she looked pretty for you?"
"Because there are other ways to show a woman you love and adore her besides groping and kissing her. There are other ways to show a woman she is beautiful and that you delight in her than expecting her to take her clothes off and prove it." 
"(speechless)" - Me 

Ok what just happened? Honestly, even after he called me out and left me speechless, I still didn't believe him. Then I was driving home, and these conversations just kept my mind going in circles. Then, I had my Jesus "Ah Ha!" moment.

All this time of feeling awkward around guys at church and at young-life meetings wasn't because I am weird, or ugly, or not good enough (which is what I have led myself to believe). I realized that I have only been treated disrespectfully by men, so when a man respects me, I feel foreign to it. 

Let me repeat that...

I have only been treated disrespectfully by men, so when a man respects me, I feel foreign to it.

To be honest, I never ever believed that men like this even existed. What have I been doing with the past 23 years of my life? And more importantly, who have I wasted those years with? In so many relationships women get to the point of settlement, and feel like "this is the best I can do." Being a victim myself, I have settled with a lot of guys. So I began developing this distorted image of how men treat women. But really, at the time I didn't categorize it as "distorted" I viewed it as normalcy. I can specifically remember my first "falling in love" experience and later thinking "Really? Is this it? Is this what everyone is ranting and raving about? Those movies are bogus because I definitely don't feel fireworks." Its literally amazing how I had this distorted image of men in 1 category: schmucks. They only care about what you look like, and all they want at the end of the day is your body, and what you have to offer them. And I was always first in line at the ticket booth. Wow. Even writing that breaks my heart all over again.

But here is the catch: My wounds, and my past of regretful behavior are MY fault, not his. I chose to be treated this way. I took the bait, and adapted to that lifestyle. Once I removed myself from it, it was like I was placed in a different country. It made me realize how broken I was, and how far down in the pit I went. When you become so indulged in something, it becomes a lifestyle, and you know no other alternative. It becomes your ideal, and your reality. But by the Grace of Jesus himself, he saved me. He showed me a whole different perspective on beauty, love, lust, affection, and desires. He showed me a world full of men that aren't just schmucks out to get your goodies. A world where men chase after my heart, not my body. A world where I don't have to be 100 pounds, proportionately curvy, Blonde, Tan, Blue eyes, Perfect teeth, Busty, Perfect complexion, and fashionable. 

To answer my initial question. Where does it come from? It comes from the choices we make. It starts with the respect you have for yourself, and the respect you want for your future. Don't fall short of your hopes, dreams, and desires. There are millions of men that will respect our hearts, and our beauty. It might take a bit longer to find him, but from what I have heard, its worth the wait.