Spiritual

My Life as a Decoration

My Life.jpg

This is a post for the misunderstood.

That’s kind of weird sounding, so let me rephrase: This is me, panicking at the last minute because I didn’t have anything to write about, and therefore plunging into a deep and philosophical pondering.

Scared yet?

You should be.

To dive right in, I’ll start with a quick history lesson. I wasn’t always a writer. I wasn’t always an artist. I wasn’t always witty. I wasn’t even a nerd. And I’m not talking about back when I was four; nope, I only started drawing seriously about three years ago, and writing a year later.

Before that, I was a shy little dork who slicked her hair back in a low ponytail (I’ve graduated to a high one…) and would literally tremble when people she didn’t know talked to her. (I still do that, but it’s not as obvious…) Back then, I didn’t have a useful thing to my name. In fact, some of my aunts nicknamed me ‘The Decoration’.

Stop freaking out, people, it was a joke. Because I would sit in my little corner of the house like a queen, even though I didn’t really do anything. I laughed at it just as much as the rest of them. Still do. But I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t times when I’d look at Anna—Anna, who was good with kids and a whiz at cleaning houses, Anna who could knit and sew and fall down stairs like a pro, Anna who was so Godly and deep, Anna who everyone simultaneously loved and was terrified of—I’d look at Anna and wish that for once in my life, people might look past her and see me, not as a decoration who never said anything, but as a genius in disguise.

Okay, that might be pushing it, but you get the point. NOT TO SAY THAT NO ONE LOVED ME OR LIKED ME. Far from it. But I wasn’t good at things. I wasn’t noticeable. I was a decoration.

I would never have let on to it, but deep down inside, that always bugged me.

Fast forward three years, and here I am. I can draw. I can write. I can make people laugh. Sweet elvish waybread, I’m even a nerd. But the insecurities, the fear that no one would like me unless I was good at something, didn’t leave. Yes, at this point, I’ve gotten over it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an awesome person. Can’t deny it. But it took me a pretty long time to get to this point.

See, I staked my self-worth on attributes. Writing, drawing, even humor. Though it’s a noble *cough* trait, I’m not going to save the world by being funny. Sorry. Ain’t gonna happen. And I’m CERTAINLY not going to draw it to death. When I first started my book, I worried for the longest time that no one was going to like it because it wasn’t Tolkien, and subsequently, wrote as much Tolkien into it as I could. The first draft is actually pretty amusing, especially when I came across the line:

“To you, Liriel Willowtree, I give [insert magical lantern thingy that was probably made from the light of a star]. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”

light.jpg
Can we stop for a moment and ask Frodo what he’s doing with his eyeball? Man, the guy looks like he’s about to keel over dead.

I was going strong on the originality here.

Just so we’re clear, that part got cut. I finally learned that if people want Tolkien, they’re not going to come to my book to get it. For Tolkien, they’re going to go to Tolkien.

Is that not profound?

People will come to my book because they want to get my book out of it. Not Tolkien. Not that funny writer person I really admire. Me. I don’t have to change my writing into something it’s not in order to make people like it. I simply have to be myself.

I think the world is starting to catch onto this philosophy. Haven’t you heard all this ‘Be Your Inner Star!’ propaganda? ‘Let yourself go!’ ‘Be true to yourself!’ Blah blah blah. Note that I completely disregard all of this. You know why?

Because the world’s idea of unique is still a stereotype.

There is the definition of cool. And everything cool or popular fits within that category. And then there’s the definition of ‘Unique’ and ‘Being Yourself’, and if your natural personality doesn’t fit into that category, then you must not be unique or yourself. We all know that one person who dresses outrageously and says, “This is just my unique style.” Um, news flash: There are 7.5 billion people in the world, and I bet at least two-thousand of them think that your unique style is their unique style. There is absolutely no way to be original nowadays. Someone will have always, always done it first.

If that’s the case, then how can we ever be noticed? How can people like us when we’re not geniuses or fashion designers in the midst of a world full of geniuses and fashion designers? The thing is, our worth doesn’t come from our ability to write, or the color of shoes we decided to wear. Our worth is so, so much deeper than that. Our worth comes from God, who created us each unique, and the work that He does in our hearts, and through us.

Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,Β but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. ~1 Peter 1:18-19

We may forget what this means sometimes, but we are people. We are living, breathing evidence of God’s extraordinary craftsmanship, and that alone makes us incredibly unique, every single one of us. What is in our hearts is so much more beautiful than what we can do with our hands. It doesn’t matter if you’re funny, or artsy, or beautiful.

Real friends, the friends worth having, will love you for who you are on the inside.

I know that’s hard to believe sometimes (trust me, I was a shadow for most of my life, and consequently know all the struggles shadows face), especially when there’s a particularly amazing person in your life who completely dwarfs you by their amazingness, incredibleness, and just over all awesomeness. But listen:

It’s the characters in the story that seem the least likely to succeed who end up saving the world.

So if you feel discouraged because you think everyone around you is so much better, remember that I would infinitely prefer to be you. Because now I think people only see my worth through my artistic side, and not because I’m a *cough* nice *cough cough* person. But people like you because of you.

Moral of the story: Stop trying to be Tolkien.

~Sarah

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19 thoughts on “My Life as a Decoration”

  1. You should just set fiction to the side for a bit and write about life. πŸ˜„
    It’s great that you’re willing to share this and I love how you’re using your own experiences to help others grow. Keep it up. ❀ Couldn't agree more.

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    1. “The Life Lessons of a Galadriel-Wannabe”. That has a nice ring to it. πŸ˜„ And thanks. I really don’t want people to think that I’m just a bundle of Plerp-like stories and awkward experiences. πŸ™‚

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  2. Ohhh…how did you know I needed that now. *shakes head*
    You’re good at this whole mind-reading thing. Galadriel has taught you well.
    I don’t see your worth thru your artistic side, fyi. I would far rather have you, yourself, even if you didn’t draw or anything. So you’re right. πŸ˜„
    Of course.

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    1. We all need a bit of Galadriel-mind-reading every once in a while…
      Back at ya, girl. You’re an amazing human being who flails and titles your emails ‘Thing’. πŸ˜€

      And I’m always right. πŸ˜‰

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  3. When I was reading your post it was literally like reading my own story with different names and slightly different events. Good night it was creepy (not really, it was awesome but I digress).
    Thanks for sharing! I completely agree that I, as an artist, sometimes *cough* often *cough* see my worth though what my hands and mind can do. I think that might be where jealousy comes in. Perhaps we get jealous of other, more skilled artists because deep down inside we’ve based our identity on what we can create, and when someone is better, it scares us and shakes that faulty foundation upon which we’ve built our identity. But God loved us before we had smartness and sarcasm. He loved us before the beginning of time.
    Our identity and worth has to come from him. If not, our hands will fail us. Our minds will grow old and fall apart. We’ll lose what we put our hope in, and where will that leave us?
    Also, high five for a fellow people fearer. I was terribly shy as a kid. Terribly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, jealousy’s another thing. And STRESS. Speaking for myself, I’ve worked my tail off in the past because I’m so afraid someone’s art homework is going to be better than mine, and if I’m not the best, I feel like my worth has significantly diminished.

      The mind is a crazy thing, is it not? πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. That was great! Honestly, it was like that for me a lot. I always felt that my worth was found in what I did, not who I was. This post was so awesome (especially that caption about Frodo… I love it xD)

    And I was so shy. So, so shy. I was seriously afraid of any adult who wasn’t my mom or dad. It’s strange how people like that end up as writers πŸ˜‰

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  5. I’ll throw this in here… as one of those ‘Golden People’ who can do lots of stuff and people say is amazing, it’s very easy to become defined by the things you do instead of who you are. It’s a bit of the same struggle, only reversed. People tell you you’re amazing because of what you can do, and if you aren’t careful you can slip into a spiral of weak self-worth built on the acclamation you get from others.
    When people expect you to being amazing and you fail (really, who can be amazing all the time?), if you’ve built your whole idea of your own worth on your amazing accomplishments, that failure is devastating. But if you know your worth lies in who you are as a child of God and not your accomplishments, you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and say ‘better luck next time.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, this was something else I was going to mention but forgot. It’s so terribly stressful, discouraging, and scary when you feel like everyone’s opinion of you is balanced on how amazing you are at your chosen craft. Impossible expectations of perfection from yourself, especially if your self-worth is at stake, only ever end in unhappiness.

      This is something I’m still working on…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. You said it. Also it can foster a spirit of bitterness if you aren’t careful. Bitterness in thinking that others value you only for what you do and can’t accept that you bleed like other people— act surprised when you fall and disapproving when you fail.
        I struggled with this a while back, and eventually came to realize that blaming others for expecting you to be perfect is actually blaming yourself and looking for someone else to put it on.
        Yeah, the pressure isn’t fun. But people will have expectations, and if you blame them for reacting when they’re broken, that probably means you’re not secure enough or confident enough in yourself and your God-given worth to forgive YOURSELF for breaking your OWN expectations.
        Anyway. *cough* There’s your little piece of psychological analysis for the day. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  6. And now, the long awaited comment from MOP:

    For almost 16 years now, you have decorated my life. *sniff*

    With oddity. 😁

    😘

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  7. Sarah,
    I had the opposite problem and yet the same problem as you. I am not the decorator of the family, I am the one who is busy working things in the background. I am running around corralling babies, cooking, cleaning, and other random stuff that need to be done, and sometimes I feel overlooked. I will admit, I am not the prettiest sister. I’m the oldest, but I’m not the prettiest. Most people give me a quick hello, and then gush at how gorgeous my sisters are, while I start arranging everything and working my tail off. This still bugs me, as I am NOT an INTJ, but a ENTP, or something like that, but over the past couple of years, I have come to realize that I am not the “work horse”, but am an important part of my family. (Who else would remember that the four year old needs underwear in the morning or that the three year old needs socks with his boots.) People do appreciate me, and love me for being me, even if they are not always giving me attention. Because, to be honest, if they were always telling me how helpful I am, I would be distracted and wouldn’t be helpful. When people leave me alone, I can get work done. Thank you for this post.

    ~Bethia

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    1. I think God puts us in the very situations that we have the hardest time with as a way to test our faith and grow our character. If we can overcome some of our struggles while we’re still young, how much stronger and more Godly will we be as we grow? To find a homemaking, industrious, Godly young woman in today’s society is rare, and eventually, you will be respected for it. If not now, later on down the road.

      “She watches over the ways of her household,
      And does not eat the bread of idleness.
      Her children rise up and call her blessed;
      Her husband also, and he praises her:
      β€œMany daughters have done well,
      But you excel them all.”
      Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
      But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
      Give her of the fruit of her hands,
      And let her own works praise her in the gates.” ~Proverbs 31:27-31

      Welcome to my blog! I’m glad this post could have been some sort of blessing to you. πŸ™‚

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      1. Thanks for that. It is good to have other women striving to be godly women for the Lord encourage you when you need it. God really is LORD.
        Just as a side note, when you’re feeling particularly run down, remember that you are a true princess, for you are a daughter of the King of Kings! After I think that, I go around singing in the kitchen and all my family knows for certain I’m nuts!
        Have a great day!
        ~Bethia

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        1. Amen. And yes, who needs fantasy princesses when we actually ARE princesses? It’s glorious.

          (And I’m of the opinion that deep down inside, we’re all really just nuts. πŸ˜‰ )

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