Ever really looked at yourself as if you were meeting you for the first time? Were you Terrified? Appalled? Sickened? Suicidal?
I attended a book signing today because the leaders of my fiction writing group were kind enough to accept my story, "Not Safe", for publishing in the group's anthology, Shivers in the Night. I have never been published before; therefore, I had never been at a book signing before. I dressed as nicely as I could, put on my "best" makeup, and tried to act comfortable. But I was very uncomfortable. I was nervous because I am highly critical of my own story, I believe I'm horribly disgusting to look at, and I wasn't sure I was happy with the way I decided to sign my name. Also, I had trouble remembering how to write a "G."
As I sat talking to the other authors, I realized that they actually like me. They were kind and warm to me. Even the leader, who I practically idolize because she always seems on top of things, seemed glad to see me. The leader always keeps her cool, even when things go a little wrong. She never seems to "sweat" anything.
Some of the authors took videos today as keepsakes. (Did I think of this? Of course not! Which is why I'm having to use an ancient picture of myself on this post.) The other authors didn't seem to be thinking of their appearance or any of their real and/or imagined shortcomings. But I was terribly self-conscious. I've heard that a person cannot be self-conscious and God-conscious at the same time, and I believe it.
When I saw the videos, I noticed that I'd squished up into myself, which I recognize as an attempt to look smaller. I seemed to frown a lot. I also seemed bored (I was not). I chomped gum like a cow--my mother's old-fashioned Southern soul would have been mortified! My scars and sores stuck out like old bullet wounds under the harsh, efficient lighting.
I have been doing so well on the low-carb, high-fat diet. I stopped drinking caffeine a week ago as well and my personality has turned unbelievably sweet. I'm seldom angry, I'm not stressed, I have a ton of endurance-type energy, and so much of my pain is gone. My fasting blood glucose readings drop further every day.
But when I saw myself on the videos, an almost suicidal revulsion of myself tried to take over me. I was physically ill. Since watching the videos, it has become more and more difficult to resist simply eating as much of whatever I want in order to attain a comatose state and then die. This is a situation that I find myself in every time I see a picture or video of myself. I hear thousands of self criticisms collected over a lifetime screaming how I'm ugly, disgusting, fat, not fit to breathe, etc., all pounding on my inner ears at once. When I "hear" these, there is a deep-seated desire in me to leave this world, to escape, to run like a bunny into the woods and hide. I'm so afraid--of what, I do not know.
I am, however, resisting these self-destructive feelings. I am also rejoicing because the Bible says that I should rejoice when I am under pressure. My faith-testing produces perseverance/endurance (some translations say "patience") and when perseverance/endurance/patience is completely done with me, I won't lack anything (James 1:2-4). I've taken the faith-test many times and failed. I want to pass the faith-test this time. I need to answer "Yes!" and conform my actions to "He has made all things beautiful in His time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11, World English Bible).
So I will withstand the pressure to run. I can face the wolves in my head because I'm standing with the Lion of Judah--Jesus the Messiah. He will protect me. In the meantime, He has surrounded me with wonderful, non-judgmental people. I feel so blessed right now!