I haven’t ever really fit in. I grew up a poor, overweight, shy kid with a last name that just begged to be made fun of. I didn’t have a lot of friends and lunchtime at school was brutal. My only sanctuary during my middle school and high school years was the band room. Music was literally my jam. I was good at it and it provided me with the life-giving breath that I needed to make it through those years.
But over time, I’ve gotten more comfortable in my skin. I’m still overweight and can still be aloof (because I’m an introvert that likes to listen more than I talk). I also have a very mannish haircut, a nose ring, and a few tattoos (although only one is visible). Oh, and I’m also studying to be a pastor. In the south. In a denomination that can, depending on which flavor, be somewhat hostile towards women preachers. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a support system who affirm my calling and choice of hairstyles both of which make me feel empowered to be me.
Still, sometimes I feel exposed. Like people are looking at me and judging me. I’ve got this voice in my head that comes around periodically and reminds me of how much I don’t fit in. Sometimes she whispers. Other times she screams. Then I start thinking I should probably grow my hair out and get rid of the piercings so I can be more feminine. Maybe wear more dresses. Or lose weight. Definitely that. Or learn how to be more outgoing. Speak up more!
Why is it that we always want to change to fit other people’s expectations of what they think we should be?