The pile has sat in the middle of our garage for over four months now. I’m not even sure how it got here. Did we really mean to pack all that stuff, and move it from Colorado to Arizona? My husband occasionally picks up items from the pile, and asks me if the movers might have packed it by accident, because surely we wouldn’t have brought junk with us. We did so much cleaning out before we moved, and made so many, many trips to the Goodwill.
Yet, the pile sits, and grows, mocking us each time we are in the garage. The proverbial “elephant in the room.”
This weekend I asked my husband, “So, are we ever going to go to the Goodwill and drop off the pile in the garage?”
And then this, “I thought you were going to take it. You’re the one who’s home, and has more time during the day.”
He didn’t just go there.
Yep, he did. And, I could tell he regretted the statement the moment it left his lips.
“Hey now. I haven’t had any time either,” I said. Yelled.
How dumb, I thought to myself. That’s the best you can come back with, Krista. Bring on this argument. You got this girl.
I shook my head. We made eye contact. And somewhere in the silent exchange he apologized, and I forgave. He knows me well, and knows there’s a deep seeded reason statements like that hurt.
There’s a bigger elephant in the room than the pile that sits in the garage. It’s the big, ugly beast I call self worth.Here’s how it looks for me.
Random person: “So what do you do?”
Me: “Um, well, I’m a stay-at-home mom. I mean, well, I rarely stay at home.” (LOL, wink, wink.)
And I know, without even looking in a mirror, that my face makes this funny expression. And I feel shame well up inside me.
I despise that question. I absolutely despise it.
I want to sit down with Random Person and tell them the long list of things I do. I want to explain that my husband has traveled for work ever since we said, “I do,” and it makes it impossible for me to have a paying job. And then there was that time I did try to work, and with childcare bills and tax brackets, it hurt us more than it helped us. I want to grab Random Person by the collar and make them understand that I do have a college degree, and it takes so very much of my energy to manage this busy family of mine. And I totally have all the credentials to be an Uber driver, a bookkeeper, a housekeeper, a cook, and a qualified volunteer for just about any organization.
The thing is, Random Person probably doesn’t care. They were just making conversation. Yet I walk away feeling shamed, hurt and angry. The questions, wrapped in untruths, form in my mind and come at me like daggers.
Who are you, Krista? What was that degree all about? What do you do all day anyway? Must be nice living your life. What about that pile of junk in the garage? You are really that “busy” during the day, that you can’t manage a trip to the Goodwill?
For the love. Stop with these lies already.
I would love to tell you I’m on the other side of this self worth crisis, but I’m not. It’s a little better now that I realize how the root of my self worth problem is based on comparison to other women at my age and stage of life. And I find fuel for this comparison/self worth fire all the time on social media.
I have the friend who is single, living in a large metropolitan city, working in the career she always dreamed. I look at the single moms who manage work, kids, a home, custody issues, and the occasional relationship. I look at the happily married women, with a gaggle of kids and a corporate job to boot. I view photos of the woman who raises her own support, and travels the world bringing aid to those in need. And I think to myself, what’s their secret? How do they juggle all this?
There are probably as many unique answers to those questions as there are women who ask them. In fact, if you put all of us in a room to discuss this topic, we might find we struggle with the same taunting demons.
Self worth, found in the wrong places, is ugly and fierce if not dwelt with. Case in point, my pile of junk. Though there was a literal pile of junk in my garage for the past four months, there’s also this figurative pile of junk that’s been around for many years. It’s even traveled with me as I’ve moved through different stages of my life. It might take on different appearances at times, but it’s still there.
I wish I could offer a ten-step process of How to End the Self Worth Crisis, but I really don’t have any tangible answers. It’s an unhealthy thought pattern that needs to be broken. It’s a lie that needs to be destroyed. It’s caring what other people think, when it’s the perception of the One and Only that matters. It’s believing with every fiber of my being that God knows. He created me. He knows me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows my struggles. He knows my energy levels, and my breaking points. He knows the plates I juggle, and the ones I shatter. He knows.
Now why would I even search for my worth anywhere else?