My most shining moments NEVER happen in the grocery store. Calculate my spending. Make healthy choices. Keep track of coupons. Now throw in a 2-year-old who loves to launch everything I place in the cart right back out. Enter sweaty palms and tension headache.
So on this particular day, with my hair frizzing (in a way that can only mean rain is coming), I bumped into her: Mrs. Stunning. Always impeccable. Slender thighs. Perfect hair. Perfect manicure. Fabulous outfit that no doubt cost double my grocery budget.
Oh and did I mention she is a fitness professional?
And then there is me. Gash on my face (because my toddler got too excited playing “I got your nose”). Wearing the ratty black yoga pants with the holes (that have to be paired with the ratty black granny panties to mask the holes). Spastically crawling around to retrieve the items I put under the cart (so my kid wouldn’t fling them out).
On a good day, I cringe to see her. But especially this day. As I counted in a whisper (because even in sheer humiliation one must stick with the budget!), I was mortified. Still on my knees retrieving groceries, I did what any sane woman would do. I stood up, made certain not to make eye contact, sprinted away and I hid (until I was fairly certain she was gone).
For days I felt the effects of my encounter with Mrs. Stunning. We have a long history. Even as a kid I felt inferior in her shadow. But when the embarassment faded away, frustration seeped in.
I liked to think that I’d reached a point where I’d risen above all that.
In all fairness, I know bettter.
Of course you don’t judge a woman by her appearance.
Of course my worth isn’t measured by my appearance either.
My heart and my head know these things. So why did my feet run away? Why did I feel frumpy for days after that embarrassing encounter? And why, for the love, am I a thirty-three year old woman hiding in Wal-Mart?
After I trashed my sad, tattered yoga pants, I reflected on my supermarket disaster. I realized this incident was not my first bout with the urge to hide. This urge spills over on to most every aspect of my life.
Every summer, all summer, I suffer in sweaty silence wearing jeans through even the most humid of Kentucky summers (because jeans cover a multitude of sins more than shorts). I miss out on fun with my kids, opting to watch them have a blast at the splash pad. Meanwhile I sit by, cranky and hot, praying for the quick return of sweater weather. Hiding with my cellulite and spider veins while my kids make memories without me.
And then there is my tendency to avoid connection. I keep so many fantastic women and potential great friends at arms length. Never letting them get too close for fear they may discover (Gasp!) I’m flawed, imperfect and more than a little weird. So I choose casual acquaintances in favor of true friendship. Still hiding with past hurts while missing out on lasting present and future friendships.
Looking back over just the last decade, the list is endless. Hiding from potentially great opportunities for fear of failure, hiding from relationships for fear of being hurt. Hiding in jobs I hate for fear of the unknown. And, hiding in my fears while they nearly destroyed me. In one way or another, most days I hid as a means to protect myself. But in exchange I lost so much in the process.
No More Hiding
So I’m resolving to not hide anymore. Maybe like me, you are all to familiar with the urge to hide. Each and every day, still, I’m asking for God’s help to show me how to stop hiding. To show me how to embrace life. Embrace friendships and opportunities. And above all to embrace the paths he has carved out for me.Now as for me and shorts, well let’s not get carried away. God and Zumba have more work to do before I can manage that one without being reduced to a blubbering mess, breaking down in a dressing room. But I have determined to embrace capris and cute dresses instead of my sweaty summer jeans this year. Baby steps. Because sometimes, the first steps to freedom are baby steps.
Becca Fee-Carter is a wife and mother of 2 amazing daughters. She lives in Kentucky where she enjoys obsessively reading, running 5Ks with her daughters and bargain shopping. She loves Jesus, daily discovering new facets of God’s grace, and the fact that she’s so far from perfect and that is just fine. Read Becca’s posts here.