As I studied the stranger in the mirror, a surge of what I can only describe as pure self-hatred ran through my body. “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” I screamed at the teary-eyed reflection staring back at me.
I watched the pain darken my eyes as I felt the words jab like a knife; a feeling of worthlessness crept into every inch of my body. I was angry. I was tired of not being good enough. I was done competing with everyone. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I worked, it was never enough.
I was never enough.
Every day, I was trying so hard underneath my tough act—to win people’s approval, to be loved, to feel like I had finally done enough to be worth something. There was nothing I could do to erase my flaws, but my achievements felt like a bandage I could put over them. As a result, I was constantly trying to achieve more. In high school, my classmates voted me “Most Likely to Succeed” and class president. If there was a group I could excel in, I was there. I was in a special honor student class and prided myself on being the best of the best.
But I knew I was running…from my hurt, from people, from rejection.
I was a different sort of addict. I kept medicating the pain I felt with accomplishments, but when it was just me, the fear and feelings of worthlessness always came rushing back.
I remember making a pact with myself as a young girl. “You’re not pretty, so you’re going to be smart,” I promised. “You’ll work harder than everyone else so people can see that you’re worth something.”
In my late teens, I found myself having a severe emotional breakdown from the intense stress I put on myself. When boys began to show an interest in me, that same insecurity led to heartbreak, and I hardened my heart more and more toward the male species.
Soon, I had developed a very unhealthy approach to life: Hurt people, namely men, before they hurt me.
I sat crying in an abortion clinic one day, making a decision I never imagined making in my wildest dreams. When I found out I was pregnant, the fear, guilt, and disappointment that welled up in me were unbearable. I had plans. I had goals. I didn’t want to be a mother ever, let alone as a teenager.
The counselor told me that my decision would make everything better, that it would give me my old life back, that it was just an inconvenient blob of tissue—but it didn’t, it didn’t, and it wasn’t!
Things got worse.
So much worse.
That’s when I realized I had been sold a lie. Actually, a pack of lies—lies about what it meant to be a woman, what it meant to be happy, and what it meant to be successful. Lies from our culture, from my teachers, and, worst of all, from myself…
But I couldn’t lie anymore.
My excuses had been ripped away and everything I had spent years fighting for was suddenly laid bare before me in all of its brokenness.
I sat on my bed, wrecked, contemplating the two decisions that had been rolling around in my head for days….
I could kill myself.
Or I could pick myself up, dust myself off, and try to find the truth about happiness, about men and women, and about life.
I was in Washington, D.C., for a political dinner a few years ago and there happened to be a large, very heated women’s march going on at the same time. Women were crowding into the streets, shouting that they were nasty women and waving pro-abortion signs. Some even wore hats shaped like…well, vaginas. They were a sight to behold.
I couldn’t help but reflect on my own journey out of the feminist movement and how far God had brought me from the broken, suicidal young girl who swore she would never get married or have children. I now walked hand-in-hand with my husband, who was and is one of the greatest joys in my life. I smiled up at him as I thought about my five other joys back home in Ohio—our children.
Praise God for the incredible work He has done in my life!
As my husband, Gary, and I walked to lunch during our stay in Washington, I passed three women who were a part of the protest. They wore shirts that read “NASTY WOMEN” in large letters.
I stopped for a moment, unable to resist starting a conversation with them. “Why do you want to call yourselves nasty women?” I asked.
Their answers were dripping with bitterness toward men—a sentiment I couldn’t judge because I was once in their shoes. In fact, I have no doubt I would have been leading the way at that very march, proclaiming abortion and man-hating were the answers…
If not for the fact that those lies almost destroyed my life. There, but for the grace of God…
After listening politely to them, I commented, “Some would say that demanding the right to take the lives of our own children, including fellow women, by the hundreds of thousands is a nasty business. What would you say to them?”
It must have struck a chord. The women stuttered to answer and almost seemed to soften before turning cold again. Then they claimed that birth control had decreased the abortion rate.
Less murder is still murder.
Did you enjoy this blog post? Then you will love Drenda Keesee’s book Nasty Gets Us Nowhere!