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Day 4: Bare Bottom

That moment when you’ve been through so many of these, that the sight of this one almost/does break you down…-personal photo

So far in this challenge, it has been easy to do the exercises in an easy breezy manner if you’ve wanted. It’s been up to you to be as naked as you were willing to be; this is not one of those exercises where you get to do that. Today’s exercise is serious business.

Most people know what the term rock bottom means, but in case you don’t, a definition:

The culmination of a descent to a place where a person has nothing left to lose in terms of possessions, status, wealth and perhaps even shelter, food and warmth as a result of self-destructive behaviour-via Wikipedia “Rock Bottom

There are times in life when we feel as if things couldn’t get any worse…yet they do. This is not that. This is the lowest possible level, where there is nowhere to go but up. Many people think of this as a horrible place to be. The feelings of failure and helplessness can be overwhelming, but there is a positive side to rock bottom.

The positive side isn’t that it won’t get any worse, but that you get to build your life back how you want it to be. It’s a fresh starting place, stripped of all the artifice and outside definitions. There is no more “keeping up appearances” at rock bottom; you are wiped off the map and everyone knows it. There’s freedom in that. J.K. Rowling says it this way:

I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. J. K. Rowling Read more at  Brainy Quotes

Let’s talk about your self-acceptance rock bottom. Maybe this came when you failed at something at which you always believed you were the best. Maybe you gained weight or failed out of school. Maybe you went through a bad break up or struggled with addiction. Maybe, like me, you couldn’t look at yourself in the mirror for three years. Maybe you tried to take your life. What shattered your self-esteem and self-worth? Have you reached your self-esteem rock bottom? When you cleared out all of the rubble of what you used to think about yourself, what was left?

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t want to do this exercise. I don’t want to go back to that place. At the same time, I know that place will keep finding me wherever I decide to run, and at some point, you just have to deal with it.

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The Invisible Unicorn: Me

OsterhaseNikolaus Nein
I am as mythical as these two? Image via Wikipedia

I love the new Diet Dr. Pepper ( or maybe zero calorie Dr. Pepper?)commericals where they’re having a meeting for people/creatures people don’t believe in anymore. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Abominable Snowman all sit around telling war stories about how no one believes in them anymore. The reason I like this commercial so much is because I can relate to the sentiment.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been confronted more than once with the notion that I don’t exist. Well, not that I don’t exist, as in I’m not physically here. I should say I’ve been confronted with the notion that people like me don’t exist.

I’m used to being the exception to the rule. I’ve been told from a young age how different I was from my peers–academically, physically, how I was raised, what I believed in. I was smarter than most people I knew (not that I’m bragging; this is just what I was told): the tests, and other people, said so; I was shorter than other people my age (I only had to look around for that one); most people’s parents weren’t strict like my mother was, didn’t stay at home and BE a parent like she did, didn’t teach them what she taught me (what do you mean you have to go home? What do you mean you can’t date boys yet? My mom lets me…); I believed in waiting until marriage to have sex or live together, in trying to do right and not just doing things I knew were wrong and apologizing for it later.

Being different was something I wore like a badge of honor. I was different better. I never thought that being outside of the norm was a bad thing, because I believed I knew the right things to do and the right way to be.

However, my paradigm has been shifted lately. I realize I’m not just different; I’m unbelievable.

It culminated with the email conversation I mentioned yesterday, but it’s been coming up a lot in the past week. I watched an episode of Oprah‘s 25th season Behind the Scenes show where the producers were working on a show about a 30 year old virgin. When they met with Oprah the day before the show, she hated the idea. What is wrong with that? she inquired. Is it so odd to still be a virgin at thirty if you’re unmarried? She had a worldwide audience, and for some, that was their reality, nothing strange about it at all. She was outvoted by producers and studio audience alike on whether or not it was “weird” or odd to be a 30 year old virgin. It IS odd, everyone agreed. They would wonder why. Is something wrong with her?

I had a conversation at Single’s Meeting about people’s perceptions versus reality. I feel that many people push the whole marriage thing so hard on me and Mr. Perfect because they think we’re having sex already (how else could I possibly be pregnant some Sundays, right? Never mind I could be/am battling the bulge like everyone else). Don’t they know me? I lamented. We’ve both worked hard at maintaining a relationship we know is right and proper in God’s sight. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Why are we not given the benefit of the doubt? Because we’re the exception. The rule now is we must be having sex.

Suddenly being the exception is not only not better, it’s strange and unnatural. Everyone wants to be like everyone else, and if you don’t fit the mold, either you are just pretending to be different or something is wrong with you. Generalizations are the only comfortable labels to wear nowadays; they are fitted in all the right places, hide all the flaws and emphasize all the assets. You can’t go out looking like you, ladies: you have to look like you have a full glam squad behind you. You have to be built like a Barbie, or a singer/rapper who thinks she’s a Barbie.

I don’t accept that. I am daring to be different. I am not going to go along with what anyone else thinks I am just because they think it. I’m not going to assume someone is something because everyone else their age is that way, either (yes, I’ve been guilty of lumping myself 🙁 ). I’m giving myself and everyone else the beautiful opportunity to be different, to be unique.

In what ways are you unique, and how are you going to CELEBRATE it? Leave your two cent’s after the beep…