growth + wellness

Acceptance Without Exceptions

June 28, 2010

I don’t approve of about 96% of the pictures in which I’m photographed. In the age of digital photos, I, like many of my friends, are notorious for asking the camera (wo)man to retake a photo because it didn’t meet our expectations. I often stare at pictures of myself, unhappy about the freeze framed Gemmie, finding hundreds of unflattering qualities. “It looks like I have a double chin.” “My arms look HUGE.” “My hair looks like a lion’s mane.” “My stomach looks like it has rolls.” Whenever I lament over a picture I don’t like because of some flaw to my mother, she usually responds, “Well… that’s how you look.” Wow, Ma! You basically called me ugly, much like the truth. And damn does it hurt! But, as she often is, Moms is right! The camera doesn’t purposely sabotage the photo, it simply displays the image it’s given. Sure, some angles may be more flattering than others, but not even the best of angles can’t hide certain inevitable realities. It shows what it sees.

Learning to accept what IS has been the hardest lesson (or, rather, set of lessons) I’ve ever had to experience in my life. I want to alter things, fix the broken, right the wrongs, conceal the ugly, and ignore the inevitable. I can be relentlessly unwilling to accept things for what they are when I don’t deem them as good enough. If they don’t meet my standards, if they aren’t worthy of my seal of approval, a change must come. I want to change what’s out of my control—knowing I can only control myself and my actions. It’s like an obsessive compulsive drive to make myself perfect along with everything in my presence… as impossible as the task may be. As if controlling everything/one will make me feel better about myself. The control freak-perfectionist in me wants to be in charge, wants to chart the course of life, rewrite history. Because, for whatever reason, I can’t imagine life going on, or the world continuing to spin on its axis, if I leave well enough alone.

As I get older, as I mature, as I become more spiritually aware, I realize that I’m not perfect, the people around me aren’t perfect, and wishing for a perfect world is a waste of a wish. Instead of putting all of my energy into trying to mold everything (and everyone) to my idea of what it (they) should be, I have to be willing to accept my faults, mistakes, weaknesses, blemishes, imperfections—and those of others. All I can do is work on ME and becoming a better person, regardless of the situation. I am beginning to be more comfortable with the idea to, as the Niebuhr quote says, “accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Because, at the end of the day, que sera sera. It’s foolish of me to try and control the uncontrollable; that’s God’s work. I accept the challenge to worry about myself and work on the things for which I, solely, am responsible. So, thankfully, with each new dawn comes a new day. And as long as there is air in my lungs, I can always start afresh.

Thank God.

Ex-Editor-in-Chief,
~Gem

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9 Comments

  • Reply Shondriette June 28, 2010 at 4:24 am

    1) Congrats on your 1st post! I'm so proud of you for this new adventure :)2) This was beautifully introspective and I felt like I was reading a page from my own diary. Thank God that His mercies are new every morning and we're regularly given opportunities to get our acts together.

  • Reply Cheekie June 28, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Hey Gemmie!! e-hugs you for your inaugural post!! Loved how you started out with such beautiful introspection. *dap*

  • Reply Beez June 28, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Happy first post day! BTW, you're gorgeous. You're great. You'd make a lovely date. I have to repeat this to myself all the time, so I know exactly what these introspective times are about. Like God's knocking at your head in a "Do you REALLY know what time it is?" kind of moment… *e-hug*

  • Reply Naturally Alise June 28, 2010 at 5:24 am

    "I realize that I’m not perfect, the people around me aren’t perfectI realize that I’m not perfect, the people around me aren’t perfect"It is so wonderful when you realize that!

  • Reply thatdamnafrican June 28, 2010 at 5:46 am

    This is a lesson that a lot of us have to be reminded of over and over again, but it's such a freeing experience once you learn it for the first time. I had to deal with a lot of self-esteem issues when I was younger, but thanks to some really emotional experiences that God threw at me, I learned how to be content with who I am and to look at my life as the blessing that it is.I still battle with this need to try to fix other people's situations, specifically when it deals with my friends. But I know I can't be Superman.Great first post, Gem.

  • Reply Ivy St. June 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Congrats on your first post!! It was a wonderful and insightful read. I think that as women it is important that we accept who we are so that others will. This shows a lot of growth on your part and will inspire growth and change in others as well. Congrats!!

  • Reply Gem of the Ocean June 28, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    THANK YOU ALL FOR THE LOVE, SUPPORT, AND FEEDBACK!!! you all rock for taking the time to just read im so happy *does a jig*it was definitely therapeutic to write this post. i know it's kind of serious for a first post but it had to be written. now that ive exposed that part of me i feel like i can now be comfortable in sharing ANYTHING–serious, foolish, or otherwise.

  • Reply SaneN85 June 28, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I'm wondering where my comment went from last night. Well, just know it was beautiful and supportive.

  • Reply ONE is the Magic Number « That's What GEM Said June 28, 2011 at 12:04 am

    […] year ago today I posted my first blog post–Acceptance Without Exceptions–here on “That’s What GEM Said.” I was nervous and reluctant to start my own […]

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