Sunday, August 2, 2009

Confessions Of The Nameless... {Beautiful & Broken}

I have a confession to make. It is something I try to hide most of the time...but really, I know that everyone already knows this little so called secret....

The truth is, I have a lot of trouble opening up to people and letting them get to know the real me. I have a hard time being myself with people. I'm the type of person who has a horrible tendencey to listen to other peoples problems (I'm a good listener) and not share my own. I have to fight the fact that I'm not good at opening up to people, and that sometimes I can get a bit too comfortable with that....

I by nature can be quite a hard person to get know. I'm really careful about who I let my guard down with and how much. Way too carefull really. I've always been like this, and it has always been my down fall. Even blogging on websites like these feels scary when I realize doing that means I'm sharing my heart with complete strangers....not an easy thing to do when you have a hard time being open and honest with even the people you're closest to. Really, I thought being like this was a good way to protect myself, but all it ever did was put me in a self imposed prison cell. A place I was never meant to be.

When I was a child, I was always been labeled as "shy", and "quiet". Which to the people who labeled me as such, it was just their simple, natural way of describing me. I don't believe they meant any harm by it. But to me, those labels felt like a brand, a permanent stamp across my forehead. To be fair, they were, at times, very true statements of how I was, but they weren't all that I was. Labels, however true they seem, are no less damaging. Maybe I'm alone in feeling this way, but I felt that those labels gave me no choice but to play that specific role. Even though it was so far from who I really was, that was who I had to be, and there was no hope for becoming anything more. And I've spent my life trying to rewrite this role, but I seem to mostly fail at it.

Some people in my life would say that a large amount of this problem comes from the fact I was homeschooled. But the whole " typical homeschool stereotype" is not always as true as most people would like to claim it is. I went to public school till the last part of 5th grade. And I acredit that time in public school to blame for most of my shyness and awkwardness. School was always hell for me. It wasn't the work, I made mostly A's and B's. That wasn't the problem at all. It was the fact that at school (not at home, mind you) I was mostly a very quiet child. And I learned very, very fast that was not okay. So both kids and teachers would label me as shy, and quiet. I was labeled as the kid that didn't talk. I remember walking through the lunch line as a little 1st grader and over hearing even the lunch ladys say "There's that kid who never talks, I think there's something wrong with her." I suddenly felt ashamed of how I was, and started to in fact believe that just maybe there was something wrong with me.

At home, I was a completely different child. I had friends and close cousins that I played with. I would talk and laugh and be me. When I started homeschooling at the end of my 5th grade year, my life changed. I all of the sudden started getting out of a lot of my shyness. It was and still is at times a battle. But for me, at that time in my life, I became a totally different kid. One that felt secure in who I was.

Although, I'm not trying to advocate homeschooling in this blog, and it certaintly isn't for everyone, it was a saving grace for me in many ways at that time. It has it's good points and it's definite downfalls. But that was my specifc journey. School was the place I knew I couldn't be me. And trust me, I know that there have been kids who were labeled way worse than I ever was. But at any level, it is a truly amazing thing to see how the damage sticks with you. How these labels, if you let them, will define you for the rest of your life.

It's funny to think that, at first, I never felt like the things I was labeled as. But sooner or later, you become that part. It's not that I didn't want to break out of it, I just never knew how. You take up that role because you do not feel permission to be anything else. That's who people know you as and that's how they expect you to be. Or maybe they never really did, but that's how I felt at least. You feel like they think this is all you are and all you'll ever be. It is your name. Not just metaphorically speaking either. I have had people introduce me (and I'm sure some of you have to) and say "This is Krystal, she is really shy." So in essence, it became my name. It became me. But yet in my heart I knew I was always so much more than just that.

Madeleine L'Engle says:"To be given a name is an act of intimacy as powerful as any act of love."

I longed to be given a name. I needed to know that people knew I was more than those labels. She goes on to say:

"It seems more than ever the compulsion today is to identify, to reduce someone to what is on the label. To identify is to control, to limit. To love is to call by name and so open the wide gates of creativity. But we forget names and turn to labels. If we are pigeon-holed and labeled we are unnamed."

I confess I truly let myself be pigeon-holed. I let myself be nameless for a long time. I let myself be placed into a box, a small one at that. I know that in our society people will always label us, always put us in boxes. But we are just too big for these boxes and too complex to be defined. There are so many different layers to a person. Layers that are not always visible at first. Different people, situations, and enviroments will bring out different layers in each person. It's like with God, our society will always try to put him in a box that he is way too big to fit. They will always try to define him, but he is way too complex to fit any definition. These boxes and labels will never contain him. If we are made in the image of God, I can only conclude that we to, are way too big for the narrow boxes that could never possibly contain us.

For so long these labels made me feel like I had to protect myself. Keep a strong guard up, even in my friendships. But I'm sick of doing that. It's taking the easy way out. How can you have real friendships and relationships when you can't share your heart with people? I want my friends and family to feel like they can tell me anything. I feel blessed when they come to me and entrust me with their heart. But I feel like I've robbed them of that same blessing by not sharing my heart with them. I feel like you need to carry the full weight of who you are into all your relationships. Being open and honest brings healing to your life and your friends lives. For when you share a part of your heart with someone, and let them into your struggles, pains, fears, joys, dreams, hopes, you give them permission to do the same. I'm learning that more and more each day.

I'm blessed to have people in my life that love me, who know I'm more than a label. Who give me a name everyday, and I thank God for that. I feel challenged to finally start letting my guard come down. Being more open and honest in my friendships. And also challenged to start getting to know people and letting them get to know me. I'm tiried of being so hard get to know. By the grace of God, I will learn to let people in. It will be a process, but I know that it will get easier.

It took me years to realize (and I still need to be reminded) that "shy" isn't my name. "Quiet" isn't my name. "Awkward" isn't my name. God knows my real name. He calls me "Beloved".


This is a lyric I wrote a few years ago about being labeled and unnamed. A lot of this lyric was also inspired by the book "Walking On Water:Reflections on Faith And Art" by Madeleine L'Engle. Which I would recommend to all artists. I learned so much through that book. We are all so broken but he makes us so beautiful through him.

*Beautiful & Broken*
We are born beautiful and broken. We grow up incomplete and uncertain. Each of us with a different crippled limb. Oh she tried so hard to fit in but she was labeled a misfit. She said "Everyone's gotten so used to it that I guess it's just easier this way. Everytime they walk by they convince me why there's no hope for change."

But with you I can walk on water in spite of my broken legs. I can speak to angels who call my name. With you I'm more than they tell me I'll ever be. I'm healed, made whole and holy in my ever limited human skin. You are the God of the beautiful and broken.

We are born beautiful and broken. We grow up scared and insecure. Every part of us crying out for your holy perfection. For more than this broken reflection. We don't belong in a box with a double lock. I want to grow and overflow like the tree outside my window. They'll try to tell you who you really are. A label will either define you or make you search for your true definition.

{Repeat Chorus}

They give me a label when I'd rather have a name. For a name is an intimate gesture in the everyday mundane. Only you allow me to become, you give me room to grow. You are the beautiful that has healed my broken soul.

{Repeat Chorus 2x}

(C) Krystal Celeste

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