Claiming who we are. I’m speaking about the whole ensemble of you. Not the church poised & pew ready version. Not the, as D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince would say, “Fresh from the barber shop or fly from the beauty salon” version either. I’m talking about the you who hasn’t shaved your legs since circa 3 weeks ago. Or maybe that YOU who forgot a really special person’s birthday, has served freezer burned bagged chicken nuggets to their family on a three day streak, or perhaps that side of you who lies in bed at night irritated at the push-pull tug of your dress up wardrobe of wife, mother, employee, friend, sister, Cotsco member, bill payer, toilet cleaner, etc.
Living inside a skin that’s way more ours than we authentically want to claim it to be is a reality. It’s a stifling feeling to know that we are human made flesh. That we are not the magazine cover or the pristine Pinterest recipe. As a recovering perfectionist, I luuuuuh-ivvvve for the moments where things are timely and pretty and polished and smoothly-efforted only to find success.
This whole perfectionist curse is shicka-shicka slim shady if you ask me. My homeboy rapper, Eminem, really puts a powerfully twisted spin on this idea of our authentic selves when he poses the question, “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?”
And the answer to that question is: YES. We do stand up. We stand up in our flesh. Our humanness walks into our proverbial closets and dresses pretending to be the image we hope others will see. We cover the unwanted. We disguise the errors and the flaws of our hearts. We mask the frustrations of flesh and the idea that we don’t have it all together.
And women? Ooh, girls. We are the worst.
And it is here, that I feel it’s high time that I stand up. Face forward and frontal into the tri-fold full length mirror of sisterhood, I want to call out the flesh. Claiming humanness does not make me less; it cleanses me for more. I can’t be His holy vessel if my cobwebs and dusty corners aren’t acknowledged. He made me flesh. Even more poignantly, He knew. He trumped my weaknesses with His son’s life, death, and resurrection. Surely, I can step out of my slim shadiness and PLEASE STAND UP.
Hold on, holla if you hear me, and let’s begin this roller coaster ride.
I am THE Queen Latifah of this enormous flesh eating human stronghold. It’s like Lucifer just climbs up in my club and starts shadow box dancing without my permission. Before I even realize, I’m transcending a beat and producing an image of woman who is about one hot second from crazy camp. How my children eat, CHEW, make their beds or sit in the back seat of the car suddenly becomes my wrecking grounds. Don’t even get me started on topics like voice volume while in the throes of video gaming or pop tart crumbs. Don’t even.
And, the answer is yes. Yes, there is a specific way you should show your love for me, husband. The designated and appropriate form of affection should be a nice, loving hug with a few well thought out words of affirmation. No. A small of the back touch or a light pat on the bottom as you walk through a room WILL NOT DO. Unless, of course, you want to send me to into absolute shake down. I’ve even been known to avoid rooms in my home so I don’t have to either witness or be privy to the above noted.
Nice, Meg. Really nice.
And this obsessively critical whips tail all over me on my insides, too. It’s nothing for me to prod & poke through not just my physical image, but my internal dialogue as well only to trample the holy living and invested eternally in house. What’s not right per my standards becomes BOLD and BIG. “I’m not ________. If I just had _______. If I worked harder than ____________ would have happened.”
Like a good fine can of White Rain aerosol hair spray from my teenage high-banged years, I can cover a pretty vast area of the floor space leaving myself and the people I love sticky, tacky, and gunked with this flesh faux pas.
Because judging everyone around you to a CHEWING standard that of which could ONLY be achieved in an etiquette class IN HEAVEN and bashing your body, mind, and spirit on the regs leaves naturally to the next step. To feel sorry for yourself.
I know. It’s the next ugly that comes. At least for me it is. I immediately want to hate on myself a bit more for the thoughts I’ve held captive about the people I love, even more so, the ways in which I’ve chosen to outwardly act out these thoughts. Not to mention, the idea that I chose to bust up and critique hearts, including my own, that were created by my God. How dare I inadvertently judge the one who sparkled the seas and sanded the beaches. I revert back into my shell of self and sulk. I feel sorry for my lack of character. I revel in my imperfections and contemplate the idea that God may just be waiting on me to get my junk together so that He can use me for His greater good. And by reveling, I really mean pouting. Because getting your junk together looks like a drug bottom lip and tears of self-absorbency. Clearly, it does, right?
Secretly tracing out your shape of humanness is just how ole pitch forked tongue thrives. He’s not like Harry Potter’s HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED. He should be called out. SATAN. He’s real. And even worse, he can AND does run shop when we claim only the outward of us that we want others to know.
Over indulgence is our next loopty-whirl in this cray-cray wardrobe debunk. This masquerading tool is where the credit card companies, Little Debbie Snack Cakes of the world, and professional storage building services thank you kindly.
When a woman climbs onto her broom of insecurity, flies around pummeling fireballs and lightning bolts at those nearby, dive crashes herself only to arise from the rubble tail tucked whispering to herself, “I don’t know why I’m a wicked witch. I don’t like being a witch. I just wish I could be anything but a witch” it just naturally makes sense to buy and/or stuff ourselves with things to make it all better.
They’re a quick fix.
A few extra throw pillows to spruce up the place. A new rug. A whole box of Swiss Cake Rolls devoured. An exercise routine that most Navy Seals don’t even effort. A set of fake nails. An impromptu trip to T.J. Maxx to the tune of $361 dollars. Stuffed attics and jam packed basements become the graveyards of our sick selves. We spend. And then we spend some more. We obsess over just the right heel or the perfect vase for our Aunt Edna’s retirement party because they distract us from the heart work that needs to happen there on our insides.
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
Ahhh rock bottom. It’s a depleted place to be, huh? Ain’t nothin’ vivacious or trump tight down there on the bottom rung. It’s dark. It’s heavy & empty all at the same time. It’s where broken manifests itself into a place of actual physical existence. You can no longer deal with you. You’re past frustration and have moved into a space of absolute disgust for what you’ve allowed yourself to become.
Ordinary life-ing like laundry, playdates and church attendance just feels oooey. You want to hide yourself from yourself. “Don’t Let Me Get Me”. My girl, Pink, so says it best.
Home stretching it, you unravel. Completely. Effortlessly. And most ashamedly, too. You confine yourself to what you ARE NOT. You live in the sludge of the handyman with the horns. He consumes the spectacular that the Lord created in you. And you realize it full on as you continue to shy away from image reflected back by the tri-fold mirror right there in front of you.
In this sketchy oxymoron of sorts, Christ becomes less because of the frocks you outwardly DO NOT claim to wear in as much as the frocks you internally CHOOSE to clothe you.
It is up to us to claim it. We are to claim all that we are. Each outfit that we wear is our walk here where credit card companies thrive and husbands pop our bottoms out of love. The more transparently we are in tune with both the fickle and the for real good that lives in our insides, the closer we are to authenticity and our best selves.
Hiding the humanness of us is dangerous. It’s allows a huge open place for shame to manifest. It just also happens to misrepresent to others the idea of an earthly life. Our best practices are truth and dependence on a great big Father who only wants us to lean in. He asks of us to truly dress ourselves in the real skin of life. He needs us to claim our confidences just as much as our inner chaos and irrational thoughts. It’s through a life lived honestly surrounded by a community others operating with this same fashion sense that we lift up and magnify the very one who did, in fact, sparkle the seas and sand the beaches.
Our closets are filled with so many frocks. Let’s own them. Let’s live them. And let’s make the most of claiming our humanness for His kingdom come.
Meghan Cobble has a passion for story and the art of collecting memories. She is known best for blogging about frugal fashion and inspiring readers to live BIG in the little moments around them. Meghan’s writing style has been described as hilarious, honest, vulnerable & hope filled. In addition to designing, teaching and writing. Mrs. Cobble publicly speaks to women’s groups encouraging ladies with tools & tips on how to find the look for less with using thrift stores as a primary clothing source. Connect with her at meghancobble.com.