Sitting at a little family-run pizza joint on a first date (from Tinder of course), he asked me the question that most men asked me on the first date. After the initial 'We should get a drink sometime' suggestion came up, I always politely responded with something along the lines of "I don't drink, but we can figure something else out." At this point in the conversation one of 3 things usually happened...
2. "Are you pregnant?"
3. "Sooooo, should we get like, coffee?"
Now sometimes they played it off and we actually would make plans. So on this particular evening, as I casually out-ate him in slices of deep dish pizza at this old school pizza place, he came in strong with the burning question... "So, why don't you drink?" I tried to not look down or awkward as I tried to play it off with a "It's a long story.." response hoping that he wouldn't press on about it. Sometimes they would poke and prod with a few questions about it, and I would typically just try to change the conversation and play it off like I wasn't as uncomfortable at that moment as I really was. How was I ever going to meet a genuine "good guy" if I actually told them about the hot mess I had been in the past? Surely they would judge me or be scared away if I told them the actual events that led to my sobriety and changing my life. I was terrified of letting someone I had just met know what I had considered to be shameful, embarrassing, and my biggest flaw so far in my 27 years.
For a long time I liked to sugar coat, downplay, or completely hide the things I considered to be flaws of mine. In my past, I drank disgusting amounts of alcohol, wore outfits that looked slutty and desperate, and was searching for attention from anyone that would give it to me. It has taken a long time for me to be able to identify and admit that these were flaws of mine, because who honestly wants to point out the things that they think are wrong with themselves and accept them wholeheartedly? Probably not many of us. It is so much easier to live a life in denial while crafting a perfect image of our lives on social media to fool everyone (including ourselves) into thinking that we have these exciting, shiny, enviable lives without any problems or flaws. We don't want to show people our lasting scars, our deepest cuts, & our darkest moments.
There are many Bible passages and messages that relate to the idea that without darkness, you cannot have light.. And it is an interesting idea to think about... If we had never been in the dark, would we actually ever realize what the light is? Without knowing wrong, would we be able to so easily know what is right? I like to think that the dark times in our lives are there so that we can identify the light times and appreciate them so much more. Without the bad times, would we appreciate the good times as much as we do? Without our "flaws", could we ever actually identify and appreciate our strengths? This way of thinking can paint an interesting approach of looking at what we consider to be "flaws" about our own selves. Looking at the person you have grown into, you cannot realize your own personal growth without looking back on what you have grown from. These things, good and bad, have molded you into who you are today.
One of the most liberating moments for me was finally putting what I considered to be my biggest flaw out there for everyone to read. When i started this website and blog I will be honest with you, I was terrified of the response it would get. I rewrote my initial blog entry about my first year sober numerous times. I didn't know how much I should share or keep private. Would people judge me? Could this be something someone will hold against me one day? Will people back away when they hear the truth about everything? I decided to just go for it... to put out every feeling and every thought. I broke my heart open and I poured in into my keyboard that night. And when I published this website and my first blog was live I can't even describe to you the weight that had been taken off of my shoulders, the mask that was peeled away. I was no longer dodging the questions, I was no longer ashamed to relive the night that changed my life, I was no longer going to withhold my story like it was a dirty little secret to be ashamed of.. Because every single step I have taken, every mistake I have made, every triumph, every failure, every single little decision of my life has molded, shaped, & transformed me into the individual I am now.
And one day, when you burn down the walls you had built to hide the things you considered to make you "flawed" something beautiful will happen.. You will tell someone the things you once hid and were so ashamed of. You will flip through the pages of your book and not skip chapters. You will not feel your stomach drop when someone asks you why you don't drink. You will share the pieces and the parts that have built you into who and what you are today. You will tell your story proudly, and show how the "flaws" in your life have shaped you into this incredible being. You will share you dark times and appreciate the light that shines at the end of that tunnel even more than you thought possible. And one day when you do this someone will not back away and will not judge you for the pieces that have built your life. Someone will want to know every and any little thing that puts you together into the person that you are. And I can't even begin to tell you what that feels like.. After spending so much time feeling ashamed and holding back it feels nothing short of life-changing to break those solid walls down.
It look me a long time to realize that in life (and especially in dating) that flaws were not something to be ashamed of. While we worry that someone will not like us for our own flaws, you must remember that they are probably "flawed" as well in their own eyes. In the big picture of things, we are all really just looking for someone who takes us as we are, flawed or not. There is an amazing quote about flaws in love that I stumbled on by Patrick Rothfuss, and I have vowed to keep this idea of his in my mind from here moving forward. He says, "It had flaws, but what does that matter when it comes to matters of the heart? We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect."
What has left imprints on our lives is what has made us unique & rare. So figure out what you consider to be your "flaws". You may be able to list them right away, or it may take time to realize what they are. You may carry the same idea of what your flaws are throughout life, or they may change dramatically over time. I can guarantee you that some, if not all, of your flaws will not be flaws in the eyes of another person. And I can also guarantee you that in some way, these things you consider to be "flaws" are the very things that make you YOU. So wear your flaws, and be damn proud of them. Every scar, every failure, every tear, every heartbreak, every rock bottom... View every broken, fragile piece of your story as a diamond that you will wear on your crown. Because a crown with no diamonds on it will never sparkle quite as bright when the light finally shines down on it.
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