Unfinished Story

Hi, my name is Lauren Rosa and I am 23 years old. I found SWL on Instagram and immediately fell in love with this organization and this cause. To consider myself worth loving has always been a struggle of mine. I am my own worst critic. No one is harder on me than me. Every day, and I mean every day; I struggle with insecurity, self-esteem, and self worth. I’ve shed many tears, wrestled with thoughts of self-hatred, & felt alone in the midst of crowd. Even when the people I love surround me, I feel like outwardly I smile and appear present, but inwardly I’m screaming silently to be seen and heard. The thing is, that I know with my head that I am worthy; I know that I deserve love, but I struggle to believe it with my heart.

I am a tall girl; I’ve been my height since I was 12. Imagine being 5’9 ½ when all the guys in your school have barely hit puberty and haven’t had their growth spurt yet. Even so, being 23 I always feel taller than 75% of the population. “Your model height,” they say. But in the inside I know I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, or fit enough to be a model. See that’s my biggest issue. I’ve never felt enough for anything in my life. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not giving enough, not loving enough, not worthy enough.

When I was little, probably 5 or 6, I was molested by an older girl. I never really dealt with it until I was 14 years old. I had been suppressing the memory and denying it because maybe if I didn’t think about it, it didn’t actually happen.  But it did happen, the memory came flooding and rushing in, it was clear and vivid, and replayed over and over again in my head and I didn’t understand why. It was unfair and I was hurting. But it was the summer from when I was 14 years old, that I did a 2-month summer Internship where I received healing from that incident. But I realized that this incident shaped my life and was the root of my insecurities. I didn’t really trust girls because of it.

I was that tomboyish girl that was ALWAYS with the guys. My mom was always mad at me for always ‘hanging out with the guys,’ ‘being in the street’ and ‘never being home.’ But it was in my home that I was molested, while my parents were working and I was home with the babysitter.  It wasn’t my babysitter who molested me but it was a older girl from the same apartments who was there to “play with me” while my older brother read in the kitchen out loud as my babysitter cooked.  I still have more guy friends than I do girl friends and as a result I’ve noticed it affecting my self-esteem. Lately thoughts of not being enough have crept into my friendships. Because I have so many guy friends, I’ve started feeling like well I’m always the homegirl or sister because I’m not pretty enough and the guys would never look at me the way they look at other girls. It’s funny how when I view myself as unworthy or not enough, my relationships are affected. I tend to isolate myself and push people away in an effort to hide; I put up walls.  

Anyways, fourteen was a big year for me. A lot of life changes in a short 365 days. Aside from finding faith, I fell in love for the first time.  Being a brand new baby Christian, my life began to quickly change and transform. I began seeing things from a new perspective and changing from the inside out. Still young however, and apparently very naïve, I looked up to my Sunday school teacher. He was 22, handsome, and loved the Lord. I wanted to be like him, and he soon he became my mentor and took me under his wing. What I didn’t know then that I know now, is that it’s never a good idea to mentor someone of the opposite sex. Quickly my feelings of appreciation turned into a crush, and well the more time we spent together, the more the feelings became mutual. However, when your 14, its never really the best idea to date someone 7 years older than you. So of course, my parents were dead set against the idea even though they viewed him like another son; regardless, I was their little girl. Not to mention the pastors were not for us either. It quickly became an ‘us-against-the-world’ type relationship. We continued on and off secretly throughout my four years of high school. Then the unimaginable and unspeakable happened (at the time and in my mind at least). He cheated on me, and to make matters worst, it was a girl three years younger than me, so therefore 10 years younger than him.  I was completely heartbroken and it was then that my self-esteem and self-worth spiraled negatively out of control. It was then that the not enoughs began. Only aside form my own pain and hurt, I felt more for the younger version of me that he was about to completely destroy like he did me. So after my season of depression, I was filled with what I like to believe was righteous anger and I was determined not to let this girl be robbed of her self-worth as I was. At this point I was had realized a lot of the mistakes I had made and I didn’t want her to have to go through them. So I befriended her (as hard as it was for me to do so due to all my feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred). But more than how I was feeling, was my desire to not see this girl go through the same cycle I had just gone through. I saw myself in her; young, eager, and new in the faith. Through my consistency, persistence, prayer, and loving on her, she was able to know her worth and realized she deserved more. She ended the relationship and somehow we became the best of friends. It’s crazy how our friendship formed in the midst of chaos and hurt. I was able to stand beside her on her wedding day as she married a man who values her, cherishes her, and reminds her of her worth daily.

After my broken relationship, it took a long time to heal and find myself again. My self-worth was on the floor. Although time has passed, and I have been healed; self-esteem and self-worth are still a daily struggle. I have to actively not entertain the lies that I’m not enough.

Recently, (well actually not so recently if you ask me) I graduated nursing school. I know my calling is Nursing, and I’m called to take care of the least of these, the broken, and the sick. I want to become a Nurse Practitioner so that I can open up clinics in third-world countries and help those that are outcasted, or can’t afford healthcare. However, not being good enough (as always) creeps into the picture. Although I’ve graduated and I have my degree, I’m technically not an RN until I pass my boards. Well, I already taken and failed my test three times. Everyone doesn’t get it. “Your so smart, you’re just overthinking,” they say. Or they use words like “genuine, caring, loving, & compassionate” to describe me and tell me “you’ll be a great nurse.” Even my patients tell me over and over again about how “caring” I am and that “I should be a doctor “etc. But failing so many times has planted seeds of doubt. I don’t see what others see in me. Here I am 23 years old and I’m still not good enough, I’m inadequate, not smart enough, and not good enough.

Fear of not becoming who I’m called to be paralyzes me and I find myself not being able to concentrate and focus because I can’t get over the feeling of not being “enough.” I sometimes quit before I even begin because I fear I’ll fail. I have come to realize that I have received my self-worth from people, from their approval, and from their opinions. More often than not I put myself worth in what I do or say. But I’m learning everyday to not overestimate what I can do in a single day and not to underestimate what I can do in my entire life. I think what stunts us most is a timeline in our head of where we are supposed to be & what we are supposed to be doing.

They say that “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” well it really wasn’t. And I’m learning everyday not to let the space between where I am, and where I want to be scare me. Learning that my self-worth isn’t measured according to the imaginary time-line I created for myself, nor is it measured in another person and their opinions of me. Learning to trust my process and the timing of the way my life unfolds. Learning that some days its okay not to be okay, but at the end of the day, that truth doesn’t change. And the truth is that I am worthy.  I’m worthy of love, worthy of joy, and worthy of happiness. I’m worthy of allowing myself the room to fail because it brings growth & new perspective. Failure produces perseverance and steadfastness, it teaches you what is worth fighting for. But it certainly doesn’t define you. Every once in awhile through the fog of insecurities and feelings of unworthiness I have moments of clarity and remember my worth. And I can say that the SWL team has helped. So I end my unfinished story with saying thank you SWL team for reminding me that although I tend to forget, that I truly am worthy.

Written and loved on by Lauren Rosa.