Monday, December 16, 2013

Me=Mariah. But Not Really.

In my head, I sound just like Mariah Carey. In fact, I am Mariah Carey. Complete with dramatic hand motions when singing high notes. **

**Important note: I sound nothing like Mariah when I "sing".

The other day as we were coming home from a women's event at church, Rihanna's song Stay came on the radio, so of course I belted out all the lyrics (even Mikky Ekko's part). Then I felt a soft, somewhat consoling pat on my thigh. "Mom. You don't sound like Rihanna."

Was she telling me I needed to stop singing? It was going so well.

"Yes I do," I insisted.**

**I sound nothing like Rihanna, either.

", you don't."**

**In other words, I can't sing. And make it pretty, anyways.

Insert pouty face.

I really wish I could sing well. I've wanted to sing like Mariah ever since her debut in 1990 with the song "Vision of Love", followed by "Love Takes Time" (I own this CD and still love it, and would gladly sing both songs a capella for you.)**

**This would most likely not be an enjoyable experience for you.

I remember thinking that Mariah Carey was just the best. She was beautiful and rich and could sing. I wanted to be just like her. I even wanted my name to be Mariah. (And I determined that my daughter would be named Mariah one day. I grew up. Didn't happen.)  In one of her videos, she wears this awesome leather biker jacket, so of course I asked my dad if I could use his old black leather biker jacket.**

**So not the same effect.

When I figured out that I would never a) sing like Mariah, b) look like Mariah or c) be as popular as Mariah, I was truly sad.  I remember thinking how totally unfair it was that she got to be Mariah Carey,** and all I was (still am) is plain old Heather. White as a ghost, un-beautiful, average size and weight, no boyfriend, unpopular, can't-hold-a-tune or look good in a black leather biker jacket Heather. I mean, it was like God was playing a cruel joke. Haha, your heart wishes you were this and I made you like this! And they're nowhere even close to being the same! Funny!

**I took particular exception to the fact that my parents were both white, making me white white, while her parents were an interracial couple, making her stunning.

For a while, I wished away the life I had.** I wished my parents were different. I wished my house was different. I wished my clothes, our cars, my school were all different. But most of all, I wished myself away. I didn't want to be me anymore. I was nothing, a nobody. People at school hardly even noticed I was around.+

**My sister is the lone survivor in the quest for wishing away my entire middle school existence. I loved her.
+This is in part due to the fact that I hardly said 23 words from grades 6 to 8.

It wasn't just that I couldn't be like Mariah. I was that everything I saw, everything I compared myself to made me seem insignificant and irrelevant. Seventeen, Cosmo, Allure, Sassy **--they all made me feel sad. And bad. And very insecure.

**My mom got me a subscription to a Christian magazine for teen girls called Brio, but it just never caught on in the mainstream crowd. However, this could be a sign that you were raised in a Christian home.

I wish that instead of that cool, neon teen Bible and a subscription to Brio magazine, my mom had told me that the thing I wanted most in the world (to be beautiful, followed by being a good singer) I already possessed (the first, not the second)--if I dared to be so brave as to access that part of me. I was so focused on the outside that I barely paid any attention to the inside--the part of us that beauty really and truly shines out of.  I tried 80 different shades of red lipstick just trying to match the one I saw in the magazine, and the whole time I was getting in the way of my own self. I was trying so hard to impress somebody that I couldn't allow my true self to shine forth. The sad thing is, that after all these years of potential maturity and growth, I still see a Cosmo on the shelf at CVS and immediately wish I could look like that.

I strive so hard to not be me. To be what I think I want, what I think the world wants: a beautiful object. Pretty to look at, but ultimately empty on the inside. Void of emotion, personality, creativity, or charisma. I had one goal: to be pretty. But just being pretty makes for a miserable existence.

The Pinnacle of Prettiness can never be reached. And we'll beat ourselves down in the dirt trying to get there.

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty
that comes from within,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is so precious to God.
{1 Peter 3:4}

I know, I know. A gentle and quiet spirit. Ugh. Some of us just weren't made with a gentle or quiet spirit.** But knowing that God made us all to be unique and individual, with creativity and passions and relationships--that's a beautiful thing. And He made us with a craving for Him, for His light to radiate--true beauty.

**Me? Quiet? Yes. Gentle? Not really.

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