When I was growing up I wanted to be an astronaut. I loved the idea of being so close to the stars that you could touch them. Then, I learned that astronauts couldn't take bubble baths in space. That was a deal breaker.
I believe with all of my being that our human bodies serve as a battle ground where our soul is constantly at war. There is this innate sense within all of us, that is constantly seeking towards greatness–reaching for the stars, if you will. This is the part of us that believes everything is possible if pixie dust is involved. The piece that still secretly believes mermaids exist. The fire inside that encourages us that even though we went to school for writing, there is still a possibility that we could rock neurosurgery like Meredith Grey. But of course, there’s this other, slightly louder voice that is scratchy and mostly unpleasant. I’ve named this piece of myself my “Rejection Monster”, or Rejie for short. Rejie whispers lies. Specifically lies like, physical pampering and beauty are more important than becoming an astronautress.
This, of course, is unfortunate because I’ve learned that we consult mirrors about 100% of the time. By “Mirrors,” I’m not simply referring to those glass pained pieces of silver, but rather the things and people that reflect who we are as a human soul, both adequately and inadequately. When trying on the minuscule “size 11” jeans from Hollister (which were all the rage back in the day, mind you) Rejie would pop up and shout deep within me, “Those won’t fit fatty. Go back to Sears!” But Rejie’s voice is equally booming when talking to my best friend–a disney princess, playboy bunny, virginal hybrid–who has male suitors coming out of her ears, while all I’ve got is my cat. With that mirror, the monster seems to think my singleness is a p!erpetual fate. In times like this I am left feeling hopeless, directionless, sloppy, and fat.
“Just get rid of the rejection monster!” I hear you crying at me. This seems like the obvious answer, but the problem is Rejie is just as much apart of me as the sparkly fairy dust part.
The trick is not to ignore the monster, but tame it. Let it live as an important piece of your story without overcoming who you are. Because secretly monsters can be sparkly and colorful too.
The topic of body image, especially when attached with a negative connotation, is something that I feel like is widely addressed, but lacks the kind of empathy it truly needs to make a difference. The empathy, grace, safety, and understanding that I truly need when battling years of baggage from eating disorders, negative self worth, and Rejie as a roommate can only come from the LORD. I have been through years of therapy, special diets, support groups, pats on the back, and I can tell you honestly it isn’t until you realize that the LORD created you and died for you with your flaws that you can truly except them. Love them, even. It isn’t until you realize that the mirror the LORD provides you with is the only mirror you really must seek. That all else can fade away and you can truly see yourself for how you were meant to from day one; as chosen, accepted, unique, beautiful.
So what do we do about the days when our celestial mirror isn’t close? When are monster is screaming loudly in our ear? My therapist once told me that to live with an expectation that you will reach a place where negative self image is extinct is not a realistic expectation. It will always be apart of your story. A crack in an exquisite stained glass, a smudge on the portrait. But are those imperfections bad? Or do they simply make us human? In the greek, there is a beautiful word Poiema, which means “beautiful in brokenness”, within the context of being crafted by a master creator. My story is that I am broken. I live in a world that has a knack for putting cracks in the vase that the masterful creator is making of my life. And sometimes he chooses to heal those cracks, but sometimes they stay as a testament that broken is beautiful, smudged is redeemed, filthy is on its way to being made clean again.
Don’t beat yourself up for believing that you need to have that bubble bath a day to keep the ugly away. But take time to look at the stars, dreaming of the greatness that the LORD has for you and knowing that the beauty above is nothing in comparison to how your father in heaven sees you.
Be bold. Be broken. Be free.
Hannah Bushyeager is an up-and-coming playwright born and raised in Southern CA. A recent graduate from Azusa Pacific University with degrees in Theater and Screenwriting, Hannah is passionate about being a “voice for the voiceless”. Having done a significant amount of work with youth in prisons, Miss Bushyeager is determined to tell the stories of those who are not only physically imprisoned, but those who are confined in their own skins as well. Much of this work surrounds the topics of Eating Disorder and Body Image Although her mother calls her “The Next Amy Schumer”, she prefers to be “The One and Only Hannah Bushyeager” bringing her own flavor of wit, wisdom, and truth to the table. When not writing, you can be sure to find her spending time with her hillarious grandfather(check out @adventureswithgrandpamel on Instagram), vintage/thrift shopping or playing with her two cats.