I have been thinking a lot today about fitting in and how that impacts my conversion process. I have been struggling with fitting in my whole life. There have been times when I thought if I looked different, things would get better, so I've tried diets and dyes, highlights and lowlights, and more make-up than I really knew how to use. There have been other times when I thought if I acted differently, people would accept me. So, I put away the books and pasted on a big, fake smile.
Maybe these things worked for a while, but eventually my friends found out that I'm a very bookish, serious, plain girl who will never feel comfortable in a bathing suit. The fact is, it didn't matter if my face was made up, my hair was streaked blonde and I was a normal size. I still looked in the mirror and saw "fat, ugly and pathetic" and no one and nothing can fix that but me.
It's hard for me to reconcile the loving-kindness of my Heavenly Father (and my husband, for that matter) with how I feel about myself. It's hard to feel as though I belong in a ward where I've never felt as though there was really a place for me. It's harder still to place my marriage in juxtaposition with all the times and ways I have been hurt and acknowledge that what happened in the past was not my fault, and not only that, but I do deserve to be happy now. It's most difficult of all to look back over my mistakes and to let them go each time I affirm my covenants and truly believe that I am capable of attaining the Celestial Kingdom. I don't. I want to, and I have tried. I repent on a daily basis, I have prayed until my knees were numb and I was crying to heaven... but I still feel that there is something missing.
Talks about the plan of salvation don't comfort me. They make sense, and they give me hope, but essentially they make me feel inadequate. I walk away feeling that there is so much more I should be doing, but lacking the energy to do much of anything.
If you have read this far, I think there are some things you should know that I will probably never say out loud. Ready? Really? Okay. If you're sure...
I hate mascara. I have approximately 20 tubes of the stuff in various stages of clumping and drying, and the truth is, I may use it once a year. On my anniversary. Maybe. Chris has far prettier lashes than I, so I think the gloopy, nasty stuff is pointless.
I have disliked myself since the age of 10, a fact which often makes me sad and quiet. I am dealing with it. I am not depressed/tired/a party pooper, etc. on purpose. If you think I want to feel this way, you should try it for five minutes. NO FUN.
I love to read my Scriptures. Over the last three years, my Book of Mormon has been pretty much a constant companion. I apologize here and now to all my non-LDS friends. If I didn't call you back for days, I was probably somewhere in the Book of Mosiah or 3 Nephi. If you called and I sounded teary and I mention something about 4 Nephi, don't worry. You'll understand someday. In fact, I know a couple of awesome guys who would love to explain it to you!
I <3 long skirts. Aside from being modest, they hide my various imperfections and make me feel pretty.
On days when I work in the temple, the thought of leaving and going back home makes me feel ill, and sometimes going home actually makes me ill. Though I love the thought of moving home, the idea that I'll be at least three hours from a temple makes me very nervous.
There is not a day that I don't miss the ward family into which I was baptized. They weren't perfect, but they loved me very much, and I always felt as though I belonged with them. I never felt that I should try to be someone else, and they helped me through the tough days with blessings and friendship and opportunities for service. I always knew I could call on a whole list of people if I got lonely. I have friends here, of course, but there is a pervading sense above all else that everyone has their own lives and own worries and no room for anything else. Please let me try to brighten your day every once in a while. It does me a world of good.
If you see me on a sunny day in the middle of winter looking up with my eyes closed and a big smile on my face, don't worry. In my mind, I'm somewhere tropical, and it makes me happy. I will return to reality soon enough.
To those who read this novella, thank you. You have made my day.