Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bigger Than My Body

This song is the anthem of my life. If you don't know it or haven't heard it, go listen to it. Right now. I'll wait. Oh, it's by John Mayer--you need that information when you look it up. I will be forever grateful to a dear friend--Gita Wasan Patel (more on her in an upcoming blog to be released July 5--for realz)--for introducing me to the magic that is John Mayer. You don't have to like his public antics, but he is a fine musician and it seems like he just gets better with each new album.

Digressing much? Naw, I wouldn't know anything about that. Yeah--back to "Bigger Than My Body." The only time in my life that I haven't been considered "vertically challenged" was at birth. I was nearly two feet long then. You heard me right--a 6 lb, almost 2-foot long baby. I'm sure I looked like a skateboard or pencil or some random long and skinny object. Maybe I resembled a hot dog. That would be funny.

My birth was the beginning of the end. Like I said, it was the only time in my life I could ever be considered "tall", although I guess at birth, I actually would have been considered "long". I should ask someone about that. But according to Mayer's song, I'm bigger than my body gives me credit for. I really think that's true. When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had a standard go-to answer: five-foot-five. When the person asking the question demonstrated confusion, I would simply say, "My mom is five-foot-four." That would usually induce a slight smirk or chuckle, and the question would be dropped. Here's an actual conversation that took place somewhere around middle school:

Boy: Hey, did you know you're short?

Me (feigning shock, but making it look very real): WHAAAAAAAT?!? *I actually did the shrieking part, just for good measure.*

Boy looks confused

Me: Are you kidding me?!? What do you mean I'm "short"?!? I thought I was seven feet tall! Oh, oh, this is going to break me now.

Boy (still looks confused, then remorseful): Uhhhh...

Me: Don't you know it's rude to say stuff like that? You totally deserved that.

I probably walked off in some sort of huff. It might have been overkill, and I wish I could tell you that was the only conversation like that I ever had, but it wasn't. It really used to hurt my feelings. I wanted nothing more than to be four feet in elementary school like everyone else, or five feet like everyone else in middle school. It wasn't fun to have people tower over me and remind me of how short I was each day. Middle school is hard enough without having to be reminded each day of your...ahem...shortcomings. In fact, I still ask my chiropractor every other visit if it's possible for him to lengthen my legs to 5'5". I know better, but it never hurts to ask.

I wish I had known this song back then, because I could have reminded myself each day that someday I'll fly, someday I'll soar. I don't write this blog today to feel sorry for myself or invite your pity. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

Let me drift off for a minute and tell you that, at my church, I'm one of the leaders for our junior high youth group. On Wednesdays, we break into groups, so the males work with the boys, and the females work with the girls. Right now, we're using the summer as an opportunity to work on identity--specifically, identity in Christ. However, how can I help these girls learn who they are--at such a pivotal time in their lives--if I don't let them know what they are not?

For example, if you met me, would you ever come up to me and say, "Hi there, Diabetic!" No, because I have diabetes, that is not my complete identity. How about, "Hey, Big Lips!" Of course not, because while I have well-endowed lips, my lips are not the core of who I am. Catch my drift?

Here's what I am: a daughter--of God and two parents; a dog mom, a lover, not a fighter, a saucy broad when I need to be, and--hopefully--a faithful friend. There are others, but these are my favorites. I was made this way. While there are times that I have fun with my characteristics, there are times that I'm quite self-deprecating about them. When I do that, I am insulting God, my creator, and myself. I'm selling myself...short (haha--see what I did there? See? See?).

Sometimes, I'm grounded, got my wings clipped. Notice it says clipped, not broken. I think this line in the song is important, because it's a great metaphor for life. My wings are clipped when I'm down because I can't reach stuff without a step stool or chair. They're clipped when I say I'm sick of having diabetes, or tired of people asking me how old I am. To say those things never happen is a lie, and completely ridiculous. But you know what? That makes me human, and as long as I remember that someday I'll fly, someday I'll soar, that's what matters. And you don't have to be short to want to be bigger than your body.

While it would be nifty if cabinet makers would stop making cabinets for people 5'5" and above, the fact is, I am who I am--all five feet of me. In fact, the other day, I hit my head on a bunk bed. I was excited because I was too tall for something! So the next time someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up, I'm going to tell them I want to be a five-foot girl with a seven-foot heart, because that is truly bigger than my body.

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