It happens. We all go through it. The ugly stage. I’ll never forget what brought it on or how I responded, but thinking back I know there was something that changed in me that day. Not the day the change in me began to manifest, but the day I realized I was in fact, and ugly duckling among swans.
My cousin who was in college, lived with our family while she finished up her classes. She was in her early 20’s and me, just on the cusp of womanhood. She was beautiful, confident, and brutally honest. And she had a boyfriend (GASP!). As if she was of another species, I was fascinated and terrified of her. This is because of no other reason than she represented what I would one day become but couldn’t really wrap my head around yet. I can still remember what it felt like when she passed on something to me that she didn’t want anymore. I felt like she was bestowing something on me “royally adult-like” when in all actuality she gave it to me because she thought it was something I’d like – since I was still a kid.
I was pretty sure of myself back then. I couldn’t help but to be nosy. I drained her with endless questioning and would often confront her about things I really knew nothing about. She wasn’t ever mean to me as I recall but she must have said it to prove a point.
“You’re going through your ugly stage.”
That’s what she said to me. It’s funny, I didn’t feel ugly. I have never felt ugly in my life. Out of place, perhaps, but never ugly. I was taller than everyone in my kindergarten class and in every grade until maybe fifth. It didn’t bother me until I really started liking boys. (Side note: maybe this is the reason I always liked older boys…hmm, now it all makes sense!).
To wrap up my thoughts I’d like to say that I don’t know what affect my cousin’s words had on my impressionable self-esteem. There is no way to be sure that it didn’t take root in my psyche (life lesson- oh be careful little mouth what you say – lol). The overall lesson that I can pull from this is that “ugly” manifests in different ways with different people. It shows itself in ones immaturity, insecurities and inadequacies-and is not to be seen for more than it is. No one gets upset with a baby that can’t walk the day it’s born or a caterpillar that doesn’t know how to fly. Doesn’t that just sound ridiculous? So whether or not my big cousin was telling me I was ugly or just immature, whatever stage we find ourselves in we must learn to take on a perspective of humility and to be content. Fyi- I’m preaching to the choir, friends.
So next time you junk something up because you’re just not there yet, don’t feel bad, you’re just going through your ugly stage. One day you’ll wake up and realize you’re not a duck at all!
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
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