Fifth grade was tough. I remember the fights and the tears to this day. No, not with my classmates but with my sweet, exhausted Mama. You see, I didn’t just want to wear makeup, I needed to wear makeup. I believed I had a legitimate argument for my case, too: It would help me feel better about myself which would obviously* help me succeed in life.
Mom finally relented and agreed that I could begin wearing makeup on the first day of sixth grade. In preparation, I remember picking out a little green compact in Wal-Mart that summer along with pencils, rulers, and a new backpack. That compact held so much promise: “You’ll finally be beautiful with this!” it seemed to call from its packaging. My permitted instruments of beauty (er, success) were a CoverGirl pressed powder compact, brown mascara, pink and clear lip gloss, and Love’s BabySoft perfume.
You may know where this is going... I got my whole face full o’ slap put on and looked in the mirror. What did I notice? That makeup doesn’t make you look different. A bookish, precocious sixth grader should have known that, but I can still remember the disappointment I felt: no amount of makeup was going to change my face. I would have to change how I felt about myself and learn to quiet my inner critic, a journey I’m still on.
During CAM, our focus is sharing the message of awareness and acceptance. We contact our friends, we contact the media and we take over Facebook with yellow messages of support. But the challenge many times is finding that same acceptance for ourselves as cranio individuals (and parents). We don’t ever arrive at acceptance because life is full of challenges, but we can practice it daily. And no matter what your source of insecurity – your speech, your finances, your weight, your learning style – we can learn together that inner critics don’t get to chart the course.
For me, acceptance goes beyond becoming comfortable with my looks and outward presentation. It is more than a obtaining a series of accomplishments to hang on the wall, because acceptance is not overcompensation. Finding acceptance has required me to recognize and admit my vulnerabilities. It has also required me to adjust my expectations – not in a way that limits me, but in the sense that I know and accept my responsibilities.
Acceptance is a journey that each and every human can take. When you fully accept yourself, your goals take shape and obstacles become a part of the course meant to be climbed up and over, not an individual burden you must carry on your back for the entire path. Acceptance means knowing what you offer and what you need. It is also the ability to articulate both to those around you.
Acceptance is a journey. Every day that we wake up we can approach life defeated or with moxie. I’m walking with moxie today, but on the days I don’t? I just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking... because acceptance is a journey.
*Can you tell debate team was an early favorite extracurricular?