A Matter of Character

Every now and then I like to take time and just reflect on my past.  This is a treasured time for me because I can go back and see lessons that I should have learned long ago and see signs I should have picked up on earlier in life.  However, it is also a tool to be used as a reference for future endeavors and hopefully guide me in making better choices and wiser decisions.


In my past I was lost and confused and stupid.  I put such a heavy weight on the wrong traits and not enough on the right ones.  Allow me to explain.  I was more concerned about appearances and not concerned enough about what lies beneath those appearances.


I observed those around me and I drew conclusions from those observations.  I saw how certain people were treated and I wanted to be accepted and treated the way they were.  They were blessed with looks and it seemed their every need was catered to because of it.  Now, I knew I was attractive, but I also knew I was not beautiful like them.  I got some advantages given to me, but I was not “lucky” to have every whim tended to like them.  I focused on ways to get noticed and have the attention I craved.  It was as if I was selling and promoting my superficial self and ignoring the real me that lied beneath.  Yes, I was a sell out and I am not proud to admit that.


A lot of it was spurred on by my lack of self-esteem and my wanting to fit in.  No matter how hard I tried, I would never measure up to their standards and when I fell, I fell hard.  Reality has a way making itself known and everything comes crashing down in the process.  Naively, I brushed myself off and decided to try once again for the same old wishes.  I say naively because my eyes were closed and I just could not see what was right in front of me.


As a result I went through the process again and again to the point of exhaustion.  I was too thick-headed to see this was not working and it would never work.  Again I crashed and this time it took.  I had begun to learn from these experiences.


What I found is that I am so much more than an appearance.  Beauty is a wonderful thing, but it eventually will fade and then what I am left with?  I needed to strip these layers and see just who I am beneath all of this.  Did I have character?  Was it weak or strong?  Could I change my character or must I always be doomed?  Okay, I am sounding a bit over-dramatic, but this is a serious topic.  Just who am I, who have I been through all of this, should I hang my head down low or can I hold it up high?  Why should any of this matter?


It matters because our character defines us, not just to ourselves, but to others.  It matters how we see ourselves and how others see us.  Are you caring, willing to go that extra mile just for someone to be happy, or are you so caught up in yourself that you can never see those that are hurting and need your help so desperately?


I spent a lot of time hurting and I tried to cover it up by putting my outer self on display.  I felt if I was accepted by my looks, then I was loved and I would be cared for.  I determined my worth by my appearance and nothing more.  I was wrong.


I lived a lifetime behind makeup to bring out the beauty in me.  I spent hours acquiring clothes to show my sense of style.  It was all a waste of time.  I am not saying to avoid taking care of yourself or that you shouldn’t utilize means to be presentable to society, but I am saying it is not worth it to spend money to flaunt yourself in front of others.  People do not care, and those who are focused on appearances will be the first to leave when yours start to diminish.


Do not make an investment on the outer appearance, but rather invest on what the inner self reflects.  Would I want someone to know me only when they need to or would I rather be someone a person can run to in their hour of need?


I had to search myself for what I felt was important.  It did not happen overnight, but it did happen.  I had a lot of the basic materials, but I needed to refocus on them and let them bloom.  My heart was shifting from me to now thinking about the concerns of others.  I wanted to be able to help someone get food or find work, or feel loved more than I wanted to be accepted because of my appearance.  I wanted to be strong and stand on my own, not on someone else’s assessment of who I was.  I wanted to be a voice for those who could not speak, an advocate for those who desired justice, a hand reaching out in the darkness to another hand that needed them.  It is a journey and it is never-ending.  It isn’t done for rewards or recognition; it is done because it is the right thing to do.  It is a desire born out of love and it began when I learned to love myself fully and accept myself whether or not others have accepted me.


What I am finding out from all of this is a lesson that continues to teach me not just about myself, but about everyone.  We need one another.  We are to love one another no matter what.  We all are someone and we all are beautiful.  However, this beauty will not fade because it comes from the inside and it was created out of love.  It is because of love that it will thrive and with love it will succeed when we use this gift and give of it, to those who need it.


My character was flawed and I would have said it was assassinated years ago, but by a saving grace it was reborn and now it blooms.  I have had lows and highs, ups and downs, and it has grown to stand firm through all of this.  It was weak, but now it is strong.  It does define me and it has reshaped me.  I have now become the person I was meant to be.  I no longer am a slave to my outer appearance.  I can let my heart shine and let that be the glow I seek, not the glow achieved from the magical artistry of a makeup brush.  Define your character and you will be able to define who you are.  The road is long, but the blessings are plentiful if you remain focused on others and true to yourself.  My bruises have healed and the scars though still there, are not viewed as a symbol of disgrace.  They were earned during this journey and proof of my character.  I do not cover them up, but wear them proudly.

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