I was talking with my sister yesterday about comparing ourselves with other people. It’s an easy trap to fall into and one I’ve fallen in again and again. Some people seem like they have it all….or at least all together. We envy those who don’t have our struggles, but in truth, their struggles could be much worse than ours if we only really knew them.
When I turned 30, something changed. I’m not really sure what, but it was something big because it started me questioning a lot of things in my life about my beliefs, my philosophies, and who I am. I was also deep into my college studies by then and I’m starting to think maybe we do our children a disservice by making them go on to “higher learning” straight out of high school. I did some college courses straight out of high school, finished my degree last winter and I will tell you that I learned more about myself in the 2 years of college I took in my 30’s than I ever did in my teens. I started really thinking about who I was. Really knowing me for perhaps the very first time.
Then I decided to run for public office. I have 7 opponents. Did you read that? Read it again. SEVEN opponents. If you’ve never felt self-conscious, I encourage you to seek election and then have to make a speech in front of the people who want the same job that you want. The first time I did so, I was a nervous wreck, and public speaking has never bothered me. If you’ve never been self-conscious, try living in a small town and watch your opponents signs go up in your neighbors yards. Try seeing yourself on camera, in print, and have your name plastered as many places as you can and watch people in the grocery store stare at you as if they are either trying to decide if you’re that girl in the paper that’s running for Circuit Clerk or KNOW you’re that girl in the paper that’s running for Circuit Clerk and surveying your appearance as well as what you’re buying.
I’ll tell you up front that my appearance and public perception matters to me. I want to represent my family well. I want to represent my Savior well. But, at the end of the day, there’s only so much I can do. Some people just aren’t going to like me. Life is often not fair and I am prepared to have more unfairness in my life than not. Because, for perhaps the first time in my life, I am at peace with who I am. I wish I had better hair days, a smaller waist, more education, more money in the bank and fewer scars on my body and on my heart. But I am at peace with the person that God created. Because HE made me. And He’s continually shaping me and I’m not a finished product because I’ve allowed Him to do so.
I’m also at peace with my campaign. We’ve got a little over a month to go and then I will know what direction my career will take. I’m proud of how I’ve run. I’m proud of being true to myself. I’m proud of the fact that I haven’t been anything other than myself because if I can’t win as me – the real, flawed, imperfect me – then I don’t want it.
For the first time in my life, I am at peace about my life. And that’s saying a lot because there are a tremendous amount of uncertainties abounding right now.
Maybe this peace is fleeting. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and be drowning in anxiety. But right now, in this moment, I feel like I’ve reached a big milestone. And I’m really thankful for it.