Twentytooth

The long awaited birthday post. I have begun to hate reflection because it is a harrowing process of pointing out all the things I could’ve or should’ve done better. This year I’ve come to another iteration of my True Limiting Factor: striving to change myself (ironically)!

The obsession with being better, of growing and having made progress has shackled me. Has made me depressed. And makes me depressed. Somebody I consider a mentor told me that she once regarded her eating disorder as a thorn in her side, something she wished would just disappear. Something she begged God or the universe to take away. Then, at some point the thought stirred: what if this thorn was meant to teach me something? What if all these vices and destructive habits are clinging onto me because they are attracted to my punishment-based, self-hating mindset?
How can I be with the things I loathe about myself, such that I no longer hate myself at all? How can I accept that this living, eternal being that I am is enough, as I am?

See, it’s the same track over and over again and I’m getting tired of hearing it. The driving impulse to fix myself and try harder – how ludicrous to think I have failed even at loving myself! I’ll stop fiddling with the thorns, entrapping them ever deeper. God will perfect me His own way, as the only doctor who can heal my hurts and habits.

Today, I am a new creation. 22 with some two grey hairs.

Sophie, you are loved when you are late to class, eat too much, speak too hastily, snap impatiently, lose your new gadgets, spend too much, neglect your responsibilities, procrastinate, sit idly, think inappropriately, selfishly, and carnally. You are loved when you have nothing to say, when you feel like you don’t know a thing. I love you still. 

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I’m twenty-one

Might as well write a post, right?

The defining moment yesterday: I carried the laundry basket in my arms and walked across the hallway; a picture of the birth canal. I thought: twenty one years ago today, I was a singularity. From where there was no consciousness, I was brought to life. And here I am with the fullness of moments, strings of thoughts and feelings, present and past knit together. Here is a snapshot of life as I moved forward through to the end of the hallway, making my way to a graceful exit.

What do I do with a day of affirmations? Shouldn’t I have felt happier? Why wasn’t I able to embrace the love I was receiving?  Somehow I couldn’t tap into the authenticity of people’s messages. I think I’ve always had this erroneous idea that I must strive in order to be loved- that I must give more in order to deserve kindness. If I truly understood their hearts for a moment – the thoughts of my brother, my sister, my best friends and my acquaintances about me – I’d be brought to tears.

I think we must remind ourselves of the absolute reality that we are intrinsically valuable. God only makes remarkable creatures and He delights in me. He likes me, no matter what I do- just because I am.

It is a privilege to be surrounded by such talented and amazing people in my acapella group. It is a privilege to learn French, even though it takes me five hours to type one page. It is a privilege to send out an email at 2am for my sorority. As my friend so wisely put it: “even on my worst days, my resting state is all the way up here”. Yes! I am resting perpetually on the apex; I am wonderful and I do not have to prove it. Thank you Jesus! If I am already loved, if I am already victorious, what is holding me back from loving the things that I am doing, the things that I am a part of? Nothing. I am walking in His light today.

 

When life is good

I love days consisting of Starbucks coffee in the early afternoon. She gets a spinach muffin and I don’t understand. I get a blueberry muffin (clearly the more sensible flavour) and laugh at how late we’re going to be. I’m completely inconsiderate about time. I need to stop being late. I was late to my own birthday – half an hour to be exact, and it could’ve cost me a table. In order to compensate/apologize for my tardiness, I promise to buy Katie a vanilla latte.

After the fashion show, we decide that no, we don’t want to go out. We want to stay at home, sprawl on the chairs and slouch in our clothes. It’s just too much effort to move. We call up a sushi place, check Ebeneezer’s and McD’s but they either don’t do delivery or they don’t answer our calls. Finally, we settle on KFC and order wings, crisscross fries and chicken rice. To top it off, I open a bottle of white. Then, we feast and talk because there is never a shortage of words and comfortable silences to share amidst bites of crispy chicken.

– – – –

It’s my birthday. I go for a run for some alone-time before dinner and thank God for life. Running just makes you more aware that you’re breathing; my muscles tell me I’m here.
He calls and says he’s close by, deciding to bring me the letter himself before I meet the girls. I try to piece the letter together (it’s cut into squares) but the wind is determined to wreck my life. So I have a quick look through the sections of  photos he’s printed out (on the flip-side of the writing) and tuck them back into the envelope. Safe.

I’ve booked a table at a steakhouse when most people I’ve invited don’t even eat red meat. My bad. The salmon and chicken are delectable but the poor vegetarians have only potatoes and steamed vegetables to eat. My besties are late but I let them off because they have something planned for me- I can’t wait for the cherry on top of my birthday when we finally come home.
The waitresses come out with a cake and candles, and everyone starts singing the birthday song. What is one to do in a situation like this? Sing along and smile because there is nowhere to hide. But I’m officially embarrassed, surrounded by the eye of multiple iPhone cameras and making an appearance on snapchat stories. As we dig into the slice of tiramisu cake, I take out the puzzle pieces from the envelope and arrange them into the letter. I’m touched by his fatherly tone, the protective, caring voice in his words. “He’s in love with you”, my friends say. But I know that’s not true. He’s just one of the more sensitive, sentimental guys I have the pleasure of knowing, whose friendships with people are more like the friendships between girls (because somehow girl-girl friendships are different from boy-boy ones). I reach into the envelope and find the USB that he mentioned, stocked with a plethora of high quality torrented movies. Sweet.

“ID”, he gives us his best poker face. We show him with arrogant smiles and I can’t help but laugh at her memorable “HA!” That playful, mocking tone is exactly what he deserved. Yeah we’re 18! #served

The very best thing about my 18th was the words I received. How crazy it is to think that some people appreciate me the way I appreciate them! How lovely it is that some people think I’m one-of-a-kind, that I’m a loving person and friend. I could not ask for more. I hold the letters close to my heart, strapped to my chest, and hope to keep them forever. My incredible friends have a way of making me cry happy tears… Nothing can explain how blessed and humbled I am.