The Secret of the Sacred Scared

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My blog post today has totally been inspired by another blog called Momastery, written lovingly by Glennon Doyle Melton. Glennon is this incredibly flawed woman who spends her days encouraging other flawed women (and men) to simply carry on. She let’s us know that sometimes, when you can do nothing else, showing up is an achievement. And, by simply showing up, we can accomplish great and difficult things.

Glennon is an open book…inviting all of us into her life…warts and all. She calls those who follow her blog “Monkees”. It took me a while to figure out the name before the light bulb went off. “Monks” are those who live in ‘monasteries’. DUH!! How did I miss that? I’m proud to call myself a Monkee!!

Last week, Glennon did a five-day series called “Our Sacred Scared”. Glennon described the series as being “about refusing to be ashamed of our humanity. The world is changed by scared people who JUST GO AHEAD AND SHOW UP SCARED AND FULLY HUMAN instead of waiting to morph into some sort of superhero before they start living. World changers show up, with their insecurity looming and their knees shaking – long before anybody gives them permission to show up. Don’t wait for permission and don’t wait for perfection. Do what you need to do. Fail wildly and try again. Fail again and try again, again. Keep failing and trying ’till you die. THAT’S THE STUFF. All the magic and connection and excitement and LIFE is in the flailing and failing with other messy, beautiful, brave folks.” You can read more at Momastery.com.

Glennon invited ten people to write a few paragraphs on their ‘sacred scared’. These nine women and one man are writers, activists, teachers, pastors, and motivational speakers. And, each one is very successful at what she or he does. Yet, everyone of them has a ‘sacred scared’. It’s a secret ‘narrative’ that repeats over and over again in their mind, heart, and soul…telling them repeatedly that they are unworthy and undeserving of their success or accolades. It doesn’t matter that the reality of their life shows success. Every one of them felt completely unworthy…a fraud in some aspect of their life.

When Glennon started this series, I was, at first, drawn to the title, “Sacred Scared”. I love words and I love when they can be used cleverly. And, I really loved how two words that evoke completely opposite emotions and sensations can be connected in a real way. I also loved how just a slight rearranging of the letters changed one word into the next. I added one more word to the title which I think belonged…”secret”. And it’s because that’s what the “Sacred Scared” is. And, it’s something many of us, if not all of us, share.

Glennon has inspired me. So,even though I am not a successful writer, activist, or even a successful blogger, I decided to share my “Sacred Scared”.

My mother was an amazing woman who thought I could be and do anything and everything. Yet, regardless of that, I feel that I must have been a terrible disappointment to her. She was kooky and avant garde…and creative. She delighted in being different. My aunt once told me that when they were young women, everyone else would be dressed to the nines with a hat and gloves. My mother would show up with fresh flowers in her hair. She pulled it off and was never self-conscious about being different.

She tried to instill that same self-confidence in me. She wanted me to embrace being an individual and not follow the crowd. Yet, that was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to fit in and I wanted to be invisible. I’ve written in my earlier posts about being physically and sexually abused. Because of that, I felt ugly and dirty. I didn’t want anyone to look closely at me because I was sure they would see my shame.

Lastly, and most importantly, my mother had a prejudice against overweight people. She was tiny and shopped in the junior department for most of her life. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit her genes and have battled my weight my entire life. Until recently, I wasn’t just overweight, I was fat. I was morbidly obese. There is no other way to say it. I know that must have bothered her immensely.

One thing about being fat is that you rely on other things in hopes that people will see that instead of your weight. I’ve discussed this with other overweight women and many of us do the same thing. While we might not be able to control our weight, we can make sure that the rest of us is put together. We may be fat, but we don’t want to be considered sloppy. My mother rarely wore makeup or did her hair. She truly didn’t care what people thought of her appearance. I probably care too much about my appearance. I spend time on hair and makeup every single day…whether I go out in public or not. I decided a long time ago that if I couldn’t be thin, I was going to aim for elegant.

Over the last few years, I have lost a significant amount of weight. While, I can’t say that I’m thin, I am at least at normal size. I still struggle with not seeing myself as a fat woman. I think I will always see myself that way. Probably my biggest “Sacred Scared” is that I will sabotage myself and that I will gain the weight back. I am working hard to insure that it doesn’t happen.

For the first time in my 63 years of life, I am embracing exercise. Who knew it could really work? My husband and I have joined the local YMCA and have made regular exercise part of our life. Of course, we are retired now and have the time. But, do you want to know one thing about going to the “Y” regularly? Doing one’s hair and makeup is a complete waste of time. I worked with the same group of people for almost 20 years and they never saw me where I wasn’t totally put together. But, my new friends at the “Y” have only seen me at my least attractive. And, that’s okay.

The people who provided articles for Glennon’s “Sacred Scared” series also included untouched photographs of themselves without makeup. So, I decided to include a photo of myself as I look after a morning of water aerobics and exercise. Warning…this is pretty graphic and it’s as real as I can get. Every blemish, every wrinkle and every wattle is there for you all to see. (I can’t believe I am putting this on the internet…but here it is.)

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