Tag Archives: rejection

Eighth station: Jesus speaks to the holy women

Eighth station-Jesus speaks to the holy women

Reflection

My Jesus, I am amazed at Your compassion for others in Your time of need. When I suffer, I have a tendency to think only of myself; but You forgot Yourself completely. When You saw the holy women weeping over Your torments, You consoled them and taught them to look deeper into Your Passion.

You wanted them to understand that the real evil to cry over was the rejection You suffered from the chosen people-a people, set apart from every other nation, who refused to accept God’s son. The act of redemption would go on and no one would ever be able to take away Your dignity as Son of God, but the evil and greed, jealousy and ambition in the hearts of those who should have recognized You was the issue to grieve over. To be so close to God made man and miss Him completely was the real crime.

Prayer

My Jesus, I fear I do the same when I strain gnats and then swallow camels; when I take out the splinter in my brother’s eye and forget the beam in my own. It is such a gift-this gift of faith. It is such a sublime grace to possess Your own Spirit. Why haven’t I advanced in holiness of life?

I miss the many disguises You take upon Yourself and see only people, circumstances and human events, not the loving hand of the Father guiding all things. Help all those who are discouraged, sick, lonely and old to recognize Your presence in their midst.

Amen.

 

Love your perfect imperfections: Part 2

I was elated; my friend had just complimented me; I looked amazing. Even though he was just a friend, his words seemed to impact my life greatly. And now that I had his validation I felt great. I was doing things right. That got me all psyched up; I maintained my low carbs diet and intense work outs. When I looked at myself in the mirror I loved what I saw. My curves were just how I wanted them. I was thrilled.

A few weeks after that night, mom sized me up as I set the table for dinner. “You’re slimming,” she remarked. I had noticed it but somehow I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

“No, it’s because I’m in baggy pants.”

“I know the pants don’t particularly fit but I’m telling you, you’ve lost weight,” she insisted. “It must be the intense work outs you’ve been doing lately.”

I didn’t want to argue with her. I just went to my bedroom and stood in front of the closet mirror. I tried outfit after outfit, to see if what mom had said was right. My clothes fit, but I could see there were some unfilled spaces that were once filled. But even as I looked into the mirror I didn’t want to admit what was right in front of me; I was slimming. Given that I was still petite, it meant that if I lost any extra weight I would appear unhealthy. I had just come out of a phase where I’d lost so much weight because I had been straining too much at a job I had, which had led me to quit after realizing I’d started feeling weak.

I couldn’t imagine dragging myself back to that phase consciously. Whenever I bumped into friends on the streets they would look at me like I was sick. I was too skinny. At the time I hadn’t met my skating buddies. We only met later after I had quit my job and had put on some pounds.

That night when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized mom was indeed right, I made a choice. I could opt to slim to please my friends, or I could just be my real curvy self. I opted for the latter. I would be myself. Whoever wanted to be in my life would have to accept me for me; with all my perfect imperfections.

Beauty is more than just the outside appearance. I learnt that ages ago when I was still a kid. I wasn’t about to let people I considered my friends dictate the life I lived. If they wanted to be my friends they would have to let me be the person I wanted to be, and slim wasn’t it.

Around that same time I found myself too busy with school work; I didn’t have much time for hanging out with my friends. When I was free they weren’t and when they were I was tied up with something. Sometimes though, I felt like I was deliberately avoiding them. Months later, last year, one of my skating buddies and his family moved. I was devastated, because somehow I liked him more. He appeared to be the head of the team, even though no one had officially appointed him. He was just cool like that. In my opinion he was the skater with the coolest moves.

That same day I found out they had moved, I called my other friend to check if he knew as he’d been out of town for the past few months. He didn’t seem to know. While we were talking I asked him if he’d be signing up for a skating competition that was being held in a few weeks’ time. He hadn’t heard about it so I sent him the link. Before we hang up he asked how I was doing and I told him I was great even though I was still feeling bereft after learning our friend had moved.

“I know you’ve put on weight,” he teased. I just gave him a mirthless laugh. I didn’t confirm or deny it. He said he would let me know when he was back home. When I hang up, my thoughts lingered on his words. ‘I know you’ve put on weight.’  I realized he was just a vain guy, fixated on my weight. I wasn’t going to live a miserable life trying to please someone who couldn’t see past my flesh. That day something inside of me died; the desire I had to be validated by my friends.

I decided I wouldn’t let them call the shots. It was my life, my rules. If they thought I wasn’t good enough to be their friend just because I wasn’t slim, then I had no business trying to force myself on them. I wouldn’t live a dejected life trying to live up to the expectations of men who had a twisted notion of the essence of true beauty; flawed men who thought they knew what true beauty was.

John Legend’s song stirred something deep inside of me.

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

If someone loves you for real, they will love you for you; with your perfect imperfections; without trying to change you into what/who they want you to be.

Love your perfect imperfections

Have you listened to John Legend’s song, All of me?

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I’m losing I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you.

The lyrics above are the chorus to his beautiful song. I’ve listened to the song a couple of times before, but last night as I listened to it, it took me back in time; to the year 2012.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon. I had called one of my skating buddies to come help me fix my skates. The wheels had worn off and I needed to get them replaced. It was a few weeks after the Christmas holiday. He had travelled; ergo we hadn’t been seeing much of each other for a while. As he unscrewed the old wheels off, replacing them with the new ones I just watched, listening to him give a detailed account of how he’d spent the holidays.

When all the eight wheels were in place he gave me the skates back so I could try them out. Gladly, I put them on and rolled on the spacious car pack outside my house. He hadn’t brought his skates so he just watched as I did my rounds. A short while later I went back and sat next to him, pulling them off. I asked if he wanted to ‘test’ them and he was only too glad.

“You’ve gained some weight,” he noted.

“Yeah,” I grinned.

“If you get bigger than that we’re ditching you,” he teased, referring to the other guys we skated with. I only laughed in response.  That day we didn’t skate much; we just talked, catching up on the days we’d spent apart.

After that day I became so cautious how I ate. I’d make sure the servings weren’t too large, just so I wouldn’t gain weight. Then I started working out more to ensure I burned any excess calories. One Saturday mom saw the food in my plate while having dinner and she commented on how little it was.

“My friends said they’d ditch me if I put on more weight,” I laughed. She laughed too because it sounded funny.

Days later, on a Sunday evening I bumped into that same guy while I was going to buy groceries and seeming awestruck he told me how great I looked. “But your stomach’s a bit big. Or you’ve just eaten?” He asked lightheartedly. The worst part is he always made his comments blithely, so I always took them as that, jokes; only that later, when I was alone the same words would come back to haunt me, making me feel like I needed to try harder to get their approval.

Everytime I ate, my friend’s words would ring in my head and that made me avoid large servings; I didn’t want to lose my friends because of something I could avoid. It all turned out fine. For a while at least.

One Saturday while out skating at night, we went to some nearby bar to get some beer. The guys were having a house party. We waited while two guys went in to purchase the drinks. As we waited outside at the parking, my friend rolled in his skates up to where I was standing and he went on and on about how good I looked. “Skating should be made mandatory for girls,” he said, “It’s the quickest way to slim.”

His compliments made me feel good and bad at the same time. Good because he acknowledged I looked amazing and bad because he made such a big deal out of my body size. It’s like my size would affect his life. Later, he escorted me back to my house. We sat on the front porch, talking, and since I was getting into the house I took the skates off. Normally, he’s not that taller than me but because he was in skates and I wasn’t, he appeared much taller that night.

When he stood to leave he grabbed my waist, pulling me to him. “You look amazing,” he told me. “Don’t change.” I flung my arms around his neck, in a goodbye embrace. His house was in the next court, which was just a few minutes away. He wasn’t my boyfriend really, it’s just that he was closer to me than the others; earlier, before we went to the bar we had sat down on a curb to catch our breath after speed skating for miles non-stop. He had asked why I refused to be his girlfriend when he proposed some months before but I didn’t tell him why. I didn’t think we were compatible as a couple. My female instincts told me we were better suited as friends.

I watched him roll away in his rollerblades and I carried mine to the house, my lips curved in a smile. It had been a lovely night.

Almost Aborted: Part two

new baby

As I watched the rejection my cousin endured from close family members, the phrase,’ it’s only when you’re in need that you get to know who your close friends are’, made perfect sense. My sisters and I were always treated like outcasts, but now that she was pregnant, she was ostracized from the rest of the family.

While staying with us, she was warm; a side she rarely showed us; but we weren’t fooled by it; we knew it would last only as long as everyone else was against her. We knew she was using us, but we didn’t mind it; we wanted to be there for her. Apparently some relatives found out she was staying at our place, so they would try to get first-hand information from us; nonetheless, we guarded her little ‘secret’. Whoever wanted to know anything about her would have to get it straight from the horse’s mouth; from her.

Mom finally managed to convince her mom it was okay for her to keep her baby; so she went back home. Normally we hardly visit each other, but at that time we broke that unwritten rule. If we didn’t go to her she would come to us. The palpable forlorn look she had been wearing that entire time was replaced by a cheerful one. Her mom hadn’t reconciled herself with the fact that she was going to be a grandma; nevertheless, she was slowly starting to get used to the painful idea.

Eventually, my cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. At three days old, she was the first new born I had ever laid my eyes on. I didn’t know how to hold her, because I was afraid her fragile neck would snap; but I got the hang of it. When some of our cousins made snide remarks in her presence, we stood up for her. Just like us, she had no prior knowledge on how to handle babies, so we imagined the frustration and pain she must have been feeling.

The first few days after my niece’s birth, my cousin seemed distressed; her eyes were ever red and swollen; we imagined she had been overwhelmed by the whole issue; she had to wake up in the middle of the night when the baby started crying… It was hard for her.

Every last Friday of the month, I accompanied her to the clinic for her post-natal check-up. I watched as the little baby girl grew from kg to kg. It was an honour for me. The feeling was amplified by the fact that she would cry when other people held her, but when I took her in my arms she would stop. Her grandma was shocked when one time she started crying, but when I took her, she stopped and started smiling instead, staring at me with her big beautiful eyes.

Slowly, we started drifting apart. Our routine visits stopped completely. But that was after the other family members saw the baby and fell in love with her. No one scorned my cousin again; apparently they all loved the baby.

During my niece’s first birthday, everyone was invited to the party, except my sisters and me of course. My cousin had gone back to her old snobbish ways; but honestly we didn’t mind it. We had known that would happen sooner or later. Her mom called my big sister to ask if we were going, but she told her our cousin hadn’t invited us.

My aunt asked my cousin about it but she told her she’d only invited the people close to her; the same people who shunned her when she needed them. We just laughed it off, genuinely unoffended. That’s the treatment we’ve always been given since forever by her and the rest of our snobbish cousins; we gradually grew indifferent to it.

This past Easter, my niece turned four. She’s a spitting image of her mom, although when I looked at her a few months ago I thought she had a striking resemblance to her uncle-my cousin’s brother. My cousin is the only one with a baby so far; our other cousins, my sisters and I are yet to walk down that road. So now that my niece is the only baby in the family, everyone dotes on her. Recently, during a get-together which my sisters and I skipped, the ‘senior’ family members were asking the rest of our cousins to follow my cousin’s example and get their own children.

Honestly I found it ironic; when she got pregnant, the same people thought she had made the gravest of mistakes, now they hold her on a pedestal, for everyone to emulate.

My niece is clearly adored by everyone, and I wonder how she would feel if later she finds out-God forbid-that many wanted her aborted. It was easy for people to write her off when she was only taking form in her mother’s womb, but now she’s here with us, the same people shower her with affection unreservedly.  Her grandmother for instance, she was on the forefront, championing for her to be aborted, but now when they’re together, I get the feeling she loves her more than everyone else; a complete change of heart.

“Auntie,” my niece called me when I was seeing her and my aunt off one Saturday evening a few weeks ago; they had visited “I want those.”

“What?” I asked her.

“Those,” she hinted at the jeweled gladiator sandals I was in with her eyes.

I smiled. “But they’re too big.”

“I want them in my size.” She replied confidently. I hadn’t seen that coming. Her innocent request had me laughing loudly, impressed by her witty reply. So now I owe her a pair of shoes. It’s impossible to not love her; it’s hard to imagine she was almost aborted. Nonetheless, given the strained relationship we have with her family, I doubt we will be seeing much of her in the future, God willing.