My homemade jeans, sewn lovingly by my mom as she did for many years, sat snuggly on my waist as every piece of clothing usually did in those days.
My everlasting struggle with extra pounds since I had entered into this world, made even my mom’s perfect measurements and skilled sewing sit awkwardly.
It was the dead of winter… and the dreaded “arena day” had arrived way too soon again for my liking.
Grade 6 would be the beginnings of the cruel years as most were coming into their own identities, moving from the ever accepting early elementary years.
A cloud of cold air hung on my every breath, hitting my lungs hard, perhaps harder that day as it coupled with the anxiety of the unknown… The unknown of who would subtly skate by and hook my skate to plant me face-first on the cold forgiving ice, along with any cutting words to accompany the gesture.
I pointed my toe pic onto the ice, gripping the paint faded chunky door mercilessly, opened to the sprawling mass of ice, betraying my skating skills from the onset.
A rush of wind enveloped my whole being as my worst fears whizzed by my unsteady self.
“Your mom still sews you boys clothes!”
Were the stinging words my ears heard as the hard cold ice came closer and closer to my face as my skate wobbled as it danced the Tango with another as “the bully” rushed by.
And there it was… what my heart had been dreading for days before…“arena day“.
The kindness of my grade 6 teacher wasn’t enough for my young heart in that moment as she led me to the bench for a short break. My bruised shins didn’t hurt nearly as much as my bruised heart.
“Why”… was all I wanted to know. “What had I done”?
Oh, I know my young generous growing body did not fit into the cute little clothes the grade 6 girls of the late 70s enjoyed. But was “that” it?? Really?? And my homemade clothes??
I believe wholeheartedly I was a good person, always wore a smile even though the heartache of these encounters would pave the way far too much for the next four decades.
The diet and exercise that would accompany the next 40 years were cruel task masters in the quest to stop the bullying that would come in many different forms.
But the real bully was always with me… It was me. Yes me… Or so I believed.
Just hear me out.
For decades I tried to control me with weight loss, even when even the biggest boundaries were crossed. So much energy focussed on all my imperfections, much like a bully would do to someone else.
I was my own worst enemy… I was the real bully… or so I thought. My own personal bully when all the other bullies had gone for the day. This bully stayed with me constantly. This bully affected every area of my life for too many years, even the silence of my own thoughts.
I seemed to never escape this relentless bully.
Then one day, not too very long ago, I had had enough of this bully. Other bullies in my life still came and they still crossed my path in different forms, but they became smaller as I dealt with my inner bully.
I was tired… very tired. I had no more strength left in me to face the bullies in my life any longer. I could not change them.
But I could confront my inner bully as I started letting go of all that was not working in my life anymore… or should I say, never really had. It was not pretty. But neither was keeping the real bully around.
I started “cleaning house”.
I brought up “boxes and boxes” of hidden beliefs and lies from the “basement” of my heart. It was a mess, but as I took each “box” out the front door of my heart and loaded it on to the shoulders of my God, never to be brought back again… I started to breathe.
I started replacing those closed boxes with new open boxes that filled my heart with a sweet Aroma of self-acceptance no matter my size, my weight… no matter how many times I had failed in my eyes or others.
Self acceptance… I started to heal… Finally starting to Believe what my God had always said about me since the day I was born.
I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” despite all my shortcomings. No condemnation from the God of the universe. His promise to” never leave me or forsake me”… No matter if the whole world did, left me overwhelmed.
I was a” daughter of the most high King”…. Loved so so much! He says ” he thinks of me every second of every day… day and night, and knows me by name”.
I’m always on his mind! Who could ask for anything more!
He had never seen me as the real bully, even though I had thought it for so many years. He knew the enemy of my soul fed me those lies for so many decades.
He was the real bully.
So many years have passed since those dreaded “arena days”.
I know now who the real bully is.
Not the person behind the knocked skate…. Not the person with the cutting words…. Not even me… It was the enemy of our souls.
Today being the first day of a brand new year, I choose to believe what my God says about me in the midst of the ever-present bullies of this world influence by the real bully.
Not them… Not me…
But the true enemy of our souls… The real bully who is already defeated by the One who loves us the most.
Our God willingly gives us Hope to let go of the lies that have held us bound for too many years by the enemy of our hearts…
The real bully.