I Don't Want You to See Me Like This.

I don’t want you to see me like this. This sentence has stuck with me for a few days. Just fresh off of a sleepover with my friends, I noticed a common theme. None of us liked to be seen as anything but what we wanted to be seen as. At the moment this irritated me. I wasn’t irritated at anyone in particular, just the fact that, if I could take a wild guess…more than half of the women today feel the same way.  Which gives me a pit in my stomach.

When I think of my daughter. As most situations tend to make me do, considering  we are constantly growing with her and trying to raise her in such a harsh world. When i think of her right now, she lives in the moment. She is as raw and real as it gets. I think we can agree that  most of our kids are. When they get sad, you know it. Most of the time we can hear it 3 aisles over, right? When they are frustrated, if you are in your sons range of sight and he has a ball in his hand, you know it! ha! What I am saying is, they don’t cover up the ugly or wonder how the person next to them will view them when they express a feeling. They aren’t worried that this will label them.

I understand that they are young and not as well knowledge as us adults. The fact is, I don’t want to not know who my friends are. I don’t want to meet new people and meet the person they are trying to be. I want to meet them. I want to know that when I un-alphabetize your CD collection, it makes you want to lose your shit. Otherwise chances are I’ll do it on a monthly basis. Until one day you freak out on me and I am completely blindsided. (Although this would make for a good april fools joke right?!). The way I see it, if their is a withholding of whats really going on in your life and how you are really feeling then you are crippling me as a friend. I can’t console you. I can’t ask you how things are. I can’t cry with you. Most importantly, I won’t know that I should be praying for you. Not only that but, no one can’t keep the smile on 24/7. Eventually its too much pressure.

Honestly finding out the realities of a person I have known for a while a year or so later, would kind of make me feel like they had been a stranger the whole time. Or that maybe I was the reason they didn’t open up. Being strong by yourself when you don’t have to be, makes things difficult. I know. Because I did it constantly. We all have different reasons that make us put up that wall. But in the end it’s crushing. People pursued me until they got tired of not being needed. They couldn’t be my friend because I wouldn’t let them. The funny thing is, I so badly wanted close friendships. I wanted the sleepovers, the inside jokes and the ones that consisted of later nights talking about our future and goals and inspirations rather than who the talk of the party was last night.

Over the years I have learned several things. One is that transparency is good, when you have a group of the right people. There are some people I will share mild life stabling blocks with and then there are those that I will walk in the trenches with because I let them and they let me. And I don’t think that being wise about who you share your heart with will ever come off as being fake. I think it is smart to protect your most meaningful and prized possessions which affect your heart.

I think God wants us to be authentic. If not then how could my struggles help another get through the same thing. Maybe they wouldn’t even know that we had similar struggles…then I would miss the opportunity to help and they would miss the opportunity for help. How would I feel in comparison? If people around me have it all together, I would question my own lack of ability to handle things. Or envy the appearance of someone thats seems “to always have it together”. I love that God made us deal with life in different lights. It makes me see the full picture. It helps me to understand the beauties and the darknesses of the world in a different way than I see it. And that I think is golden.

I think somewhere along the lines of generations after generations, women were too busy stepping up and being strong for their families, for their life, for their kids, for reasons that they shouldn’t have to be and we began to mistake being strong as not being vulnerable.  And then when we see our moms do it, our mentors do it, our close friends do it, we start to do it to. Because who wants to stand out? Recently for the past year, I have been a home group leader. And my leader I mean my house is where we meet. lol. Anyone of those people in my group could lead just as well as I do. But as the person leading our group, I want to be 100% authentic. As a woman of Christ I feel like I am called to be. And as a friend and a human example I know I need to be. Facebook has a rose colored glasses way of making other perceive that your life is always perfect. So when I am around people I want them to know I am a human being. I have feelings. I make mistakes. Sometimes I am way too organized and sometimes I overreact. But I would much rather people talk about, me, Ashley Carroll at my funeral, than who they thought I was. I don’t want to be a stranger at my own funeral. Much less in my own life. But, I hope that when I am no longer living in this world, that I will have left a piece of me that is raw, un-replaceable and real. And I hope my daughter will have a strong sense of who her mother was, so she can grow up with a strong sense of who she is.