It is an average winter’s day. I’m driving my kids home from school, while an argument erupts over what music we are going to listen to. We settle on a random station. A song plays which I distantly recognize. The harmonies are beautiful, the lyrics captivating. “Ah” it hit me, this is a song from “The Greatest Showman” movie. I liked that movie, I remember as scenes from the movie begin playing in my mind.
Feeling nostalgic, in days which follow I begin listening to the soundtrack, finding myself drawn into the music; the themes in the lyrics, the way the music moves me, holds me and won’t let go. I surrender, and allow myself to listen to the soundtrack over and over again. Then it hits me. The themes I am listening to are themes from my life. I know what it’s like to not fit in.
In my thoughts I am taken back through stories from my past which affirm this feeling.
I was sitting in a hospital bed on my 12th birthday, learning to inject myself with insulin because I’d just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. What was more painful than the syringes piercing my skin was the subtle realization that I was now different. Different from who I used to be, and different from everyone else I knew.
Next, I was in High School, showing up to school the day after my friends had abandoned me, not known how to walk me through a painful break-up. I didn’t know where to go, who to talk to. I no longer had no place where I was known, where I belonged, where I was safe.
Lastly, I was married, with young children. Having left my job as a Pastor Women’s Ministry, my family agreed it was time to leave our church. There were things we saw, things we heard, and experienced which indicated this was no longer a safe or healthy place for us. We instantly lost our community. We no longer belonged.
Listening to the “Greatest Showman” soundtrack, I can feel myself being pulled down as these old stories rise up. It sucks to not fit in. It’s hard to realize you are different. It’s not easy to no longer hold a place you used to, and to lose people who were valuable and important to you. It’s hard to have thought you were in like-minded company to find that you were actually alone in what you felt, or thought. Maybe you have never quite fit in. Maybe you’ve always been different.
Suddently a small shift takes place. I listen to the lyrics of “This is Me” and realize there is a new story unfolding in me.
“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me”
I realize I need not feel ashamed of my differences, because we are all different. Every single one of us is unique. We each have a different story, different values, different struggles, different victories. I’ve held ideas about what I deem normal, or what I need to be, or what I need to say in order to “fit in”, and those ideas are too narrow, and no longer serve me well.
I’m ready to let go of the messages I’ve accepted from others about who I am, and instead I’d like to claim my own sense of identity and show up as I am, unapologetic, unashamed.
I am human
I make mistakes
I am a woman
I am bruised
I am brave
I am a warrior and I am glorious
This is me