This is a personal story that I was a little embarrassed to tell years ago, but now I wear this story proudly like a badge, because it’s a story that perfectly illustrates how badly I suffered from low self esteem / low self image as a teenager, and how MIRACULOUS it is that I have grown to this point in my life. I battled with this for years after, but this story marks the beginning of my recovery.
And the turning action point involved a McDonald’s milkshake.
I remember the drive back home in high school after attending a summer camp for SGSA (School for Gifted Students in the Arts). I met people there that I didn’t know existed. I was surrounded by them. Kids who knew Monty Python, kids who worshiped the music from Phantom of The Opera, kids who understood what it means to have passion… kids who actually thought I was… cool.
On the drive back home from this camp, my parents and I stopped at a McDonald’s and when we sat down at the table, I realized the woman at the counter forgot to give me a straw for my milkshake. At first my low self esteem (the inner critic which had ruled me most of my life) spoke up to say I should keep my mouth shut and try drinking the milkshake without a straw.
Then something rose up inside me… something NEW.
“NO!” A new voice rose up. “You deserve a straw! Besides, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to drink a McDonald’s milkshake without a straw! Go on, Wendy! GET. YOUR. STRAW.”
So I did.
It was in a meek little squeaky voice and my body was trembling, but I did it!
And yeah, that was a personal BREAKTHROUGH for me.
The first of many, thank God.
THAT is why community is so important to me. The few weeks I spent with those other kids really awakened me. I had no idea there were other people like me out there. Until that camp experience, the only people I felt I could relate to were the two or three buddies from school and my immediate family. I believe meeting with like-minded souls STRENGTHENS us as individuals.
I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made online through this blog, through classes and courses I’ve taken, online communities I’ve joined, etc.
I only hope that I give some of that strengthening support back in return. I’m definitely trying!