As part of my idyllic American childhood, I was a cheerleader in junior high. In small town Texas, this was the crowning glory of Arrival Status for every girl I knew. Junior high football in Texas is played on Tuesday nights, so as not to conflict with high school football, which is played on Thursday (JV) and Friday nights (Varsity). (Wednesday night was church night, so clearly no school worth their salt in the Bible Belt would hold a sporting event on a Wednesday.)
Therefore, every Tuesday in the 8th grade, all of the football players wore their football jerseys over their street clothes to school, in order to contribute to school spirit and help generate excitement and anticipation for the games that were to be played later that night. And the cheerleaders, well, we wore our uniforms with PRIDE. Sure, we were happy to help the school spirit…but mostly we just wanted to look cute in the outfit we’d been envisioning ourselves in since our first early childhood trip to summer Cheerleader Camp!
And then one day, my dream turned into a nightmare. You know that dream where you look down in school and find yourself naked? Well, my experience wasn’t quite that horrific…but it was close. Halfway through school one Tuesday, I realized that I had been parading around in my barely-cover-your-bum cheer skirt with no bloomers. Yep, I had forgotten my bloomers at home. (For those of you who may be unfamiliar with cheerleader uniform lingo, bloomers are the oversized undergarments that cover your underwear under your cheer skirt.) Apparently I had gotten dressed very quickly and planned to stop by the laundry room to grab my bloomers on the way out the door…and didn’t.
I was mortified. I was even embarrassed to call my Dad and explain to him what I had done. He had to leave work, go home to get my bloomers, then bring them to me at school while I waited very awkwardly and sheepishly in the front office. But why am I telling you all of this? Basically it’s just a long story to relate how I feel. Publishing this blog and exposing my raw emotions to the world has taken me right back to that 8th grade headspace where I’m instantly overcome with humiliation as I realize that I’m parading out in front of the world without my bloomers.
So here I am again, putting myself out there without my bloomers in the hopes that I might be able to encourage one more person who could use some extra love on their journey to whole-ness. (Is that a word? I feel like it should be a word.) Thankfully I’ve developed some thicker skin since then. It’s even more embarrassing to look back on it now that I wouldn’t even dream of wearing such a short skirt these days. But this is all simply a part of the process that allows me to become ok with me.