Daughters, I’m so impressed with you. I want to be just like you when I grow up.
Standing at the glass back door, I overlook the shimmering water in my swimming pool. Perfection. I can’t believe I have that in my backyard. I’m so pulled to open that door, step outside. Oh, how I’ve longed to take one of those pictures of my feet propped up at the pool on a hot summer day. But one has to be outside, in the sun, by the pool, to do that.
One day, Daughters, one day.
One has to slip on the bathing suit, the horrid reminder. Of all those years of pain, of fear, of embarrassment. The reminder of imperfection. Of being different.
What happens when you wish your self away? The very skin you’re in.
Years spent wishing away acne-prone skin, especially on my back, can cripple a person. My confidence, confiscated. The lack of confidence still follows me around today, like a shadow. Go away, shadow.
Years thrown away.
I’ve shunned the outdoors for years, only able to bear it with joy alone. We have the most amazing swimming pool, with a hot tub and even a fireplace. The view is incredibly beautiful and serene. We’re so blessed. Who wouldn’t long for that?
Who wouldn’t long for freedom?
I slip into my memories of yesterday. But some reminders are not longed for in the heart.
Starting in high school, for years, I didn’t want my bare back revealed. Being in the drill team made that extremely difficult. Going to my changing area, I’d try to hide, hurry to change, cover myself. Cover my shame.
Keep your back turned from everyone. Don’t let them see.
A visit to the dermatologist for slight facial breakouts led me to the threshold of help, but I was too embarrassed to tell them about my back.
“Do you have any other problem areas?”
“No, I don’t.”
Fear and embarrassment, even youthful foolishness, lingered.
I’ll never be free.
In my very own prison. The prison that moves when you do. Secret miseries running deep through your pores into your very soul.
I hated to wear bathing suits, tank tops, bridesmaid gowns. No, don’t make me put my hair up. Torture. The beautiful topknot with ringlets hanging down only reveals my ugliness. Let my hair hang long, covering my back. Covering my embarrassment. Covering my shame.
Don’t see. Don’t look at me.
Shrinking back. Destroyed.
And who knows the pain of acne? Like needles sticking into my back. The slightest touch brings pain, to my back, to my heart.
Years of on and off antibiotics, only to have it come back once off the medication. Persistence could define me.
Ushering out my appendix, along with an ovary, ushered away acne. Praise be. After all these years, praise be. After 30 years, I finally love the skin I’m in.
My daughter fights the same thing. How amazing that even though she’s adopted, God made her just like me. She comes to me. Her dress is gorgeous. Zipping up her dress, I notice the speckles of acne on her back, her shoulders. Acne that persists once off antibiotics.
“Daughter, do you want to wear a light jacket? To cover the bumps?” My handicap trying desperately to cripple her. Generational bondage. Bondage that yearns to imprison others. I think I’m trying to help.
“Mama, I don’t care about it. All kids have it.” She smiles. She even beams. She doesn’t care. Well, okay then. Her confidence is like the dawn of a new day.
Daughter drags little sister to me. “Mama, look. She has her first bump on her face. Isn’t it the cutest thing?” Both girls are giggling, unencumbered, unembarrassed, unafraid. Beaming.
Fearless. Flawless. Free.
Go therefore, beautiful girls. Love the skin you’re in. Don’t take 30 years to go out in the sunshine. Throw open wide that door, release your hands, and embrace life. Do not throw away your confidence, sweet girls. Remember the One you belong to, Beloved of the Living God. Go out into this world. Persevere, Daughters. Prop up your feet. Live and love. Bring pleasure to your King.