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I grew up in the church. I grew up in a culture where loving others was prioritized. And loving others became what I wanted to be known for. It was everything to me.
Now it is time to admit that, throughout my life, there has been a girl that I have regularly hated. I have called her names like fat and ugly and stupid. I have thought of her as incompetent and invaluable and incapable. I have seen her as unlovable, undeserving, and unworthy. I have been there to point out her imperfections and weaknesses, to make her feel guilty for what she was or wasn’t doing, and to pressure her into being someone she’s not.
Critic - Life
I have been her biggest critic for her whole life and I have been pretty nasty.
Is this surprising for a “good” Christian girl? Maybe. But even more surprising is that for most of my life it seemed the church encouraged me to hate this person, to not think of her or her needs, to bury her dreams and desires or to ignore her altogether.
Belongs - Girl - Girl
This girl belongs to me. This girl is me. And this girl has been hated for too long.
Through sermons, books, and individuals, I was repeatedly taught and shown that I was always supposed to come last, always supposed to deny myself, and always supposed to think of others. I was supposed to love others unconditionally, but love myself? No, that was self-centered, wrong; heresy even.
Needs - Selfishness - Accomplishments - Care - Body
To think of myself or my needs was selfishness. To be proud of myself or my accomplishments was pride. To take care of my body or spend time on physical self-care was vanity. To look beautiful or be confident in my body was a possibility for men to lust after me. To accept and love myself was heresy.
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