OPINION: Identity Crisis

Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer

abbey column

Everyone has utilized meaningless things to shape an image of what they want others to view themselves as. Maybe it’s the sport you play. Maybe it’s the people you surround yourself with. Maybe it’s the clothes you wear.

Recently, I spent the weekend secluded in the woods with my church youth group and my youth pastor, Josh, posed this same question. My friends’ voices overwhelmed me, hollering out things like, “relationships” and “clubs” and “looks”–all things we had let others define us as. In his hands, he held up a full length mirror, scribbling down everything that the middle and high school students could think of. The list was devastatingly large, encircling the entire perimeter of the mirror. All these things weren’t necessarily bad (I happen to like my job and my hobbies and my friends), but I didn’t like the idea of my entire person being identified by one of these single things.

As we all stared blankly into the mirror smudged with black ink, Josh revealed a red permanent Sharpie marker. Uncapping the lid and promptly placing the tip on the glass, he scrawled out two words in particular that stuck out to me.

Beautiful and complete.

Bright red bold letters written right in the smack dab of the mirror, exponentially larger than the chicken scratch surrounding it. Suddenly, all the other things seemed meaningless. As we all were mesmerized by our reflections in the marked up glass. We’d used these simple things in our everyday lives to let others define and judge us, forming a mold of ourselves based on what others think. We determined our self worth from the number of likes on a picture, the number of friends who sat at our lunch table, the number of compliments we got on our outfit, when really, all along our self-worth should’ve been coming from ourselves. If we know we’re beautiful, it doesn’t matter what people think. If we know we’re complete, then don’t give others the power to say we’re wrong.

Pulling his sleeve over his hand, Josh revealed one final secret to us. He began feverishly wiping away all that black that was encompassing the mirror and as if some sort of magic trick had been done, poof, it was gone (when really we just hadn’t noticed it was a dry erase Expo marker all along). All the words that we had let others tag onto us our whole lives dissolved, leaving behind only the bold red print.

I am beautiful and I am complete.

 

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