Today Buzzfeed had a quiz you could take that determined how hipster you were. Naturally, I took it and laughed audibly at myself as I realized how much I slipped right into the mold. Followed by the laughing was a sense of shame, “Crap, I don’t want to be like everyone else. I don’t want to fit a stereotype.  I just want to be Kath.” And THEN a thought hit me over the head like a suitcase full of nostalgia just welcoming itself for the night.

I got to thinking about the past, something I do almost too well. I started thinking about who I am vs. who I’ve been. And that catapulted me right back to high school.

In high school, I was the type of painfully shy that meant if you looked at me I broke into hives. Not actually, but if anyone did look at me, following was more often than not an excessive inner dialogue about why they looked at me and what must have been wrong with me for them to have been looking at me. ‘There’s something in my tooth.’ ‘My shirt’s tucked in too tight.’ ‘My hair isn’t straight enough today.’ I was always searching for something wrong with me, something that wasn’t good enough. And that DROWNED me. I spent most school days wandering my way into the nurses office with my head held in shame, coming up with some new ailment convincing enough that they would send me home for the day. I couldn’t stand being around people, let-alone repeatedly convincing myself that what they thought of me was who I was.

So I’d go home and I’d write. Because that was the only thing that made me feel like I had any form of control. I’d sit down and I would scribble on a page until my hand physically couldn’t hold a pen anymore. Then I’d type. Slowly, I started to make more sense to myself. And I was ashamed to even speak of the fact that I sort of liked who I was.

In the years following high school, I met Jesus. And I met myself. After meeting both of those people, I became a lot more fond of telling people who I was. Because it was someone I’d grown quite close to. I began to learn that the person I am would be entirely different if it weren’t for all of the people I had tried to be. This made me grateful. Grateful for my brokenness, grateful for my sadness, for my hate, my depression, my sin. And it made me look at myself in the mirror with an overwhelming sense of love, for who I’d been and who I am. 

I look back on the days where I hated everything about myself and I weep, but I also celebrate- because those days brought me to a place of utter surrender, of forfeiting my crippling self doubt and doing something simple and profound, liking myself. 

So now, I’m 22 years old and I’m sitting on Buzzfeed taking a quiz on how much of a hipster I am, and liking cute little succulents too much is my biggest insecurity. PRAISE JESUS. 

All of this to say, I believe a part of us has gotten really good at shaming people who love themselves. It’s a difficult thing for us to understand, and it leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and theory. But when a place that has seen more debris than stained glass window can see their dusted light as art, that’s worth celebrating. When a heart that knew darkness for so long finds light and decides to brag about it, that’s WORTH CELEBRATING. When Jesus shows the sacred worth of a broken spirit, that’s worth celebrating. Loving who you were made to be is not shame. It is celebration. Let's hold tight to that.