On the first day of sixth grade, I watched Amber walk into Spanish class and was more than a little surprised. Her once curly hair was now straight. She had turned in her clothes from the girls section for juniors and, well, she had filled them out.
I could not say the same for myself. I was still using a hairbrush after taking my hair out of braids, making it an unfortunate triangle shape…And I’m still not filling anything out…
She was glossy. I was frizzy.
Pretty much the story of my life.
But I think that might be the story of all of our lives.
We prefer to be seen with a gloss over our lives. We pretend in conversations, we cover it with a filter online, we avoid anything that isn’t easy, breezy, beautiful.
It’s much more comfortable and requires much less vulnerability than the alternative.
But I’m really bad at gloss. I’m clumsy and talk too much. I’m neurotic and think too much in social situations—which just makes for too many awkward stories to mention.
But I couldn’t show that. I couldn’t be seen as incompetent, unwanted, or not enough. Somewhere along the line, faking having it together became the name of the game. I was pursuing gloss over substance in the off-chance that the gloss brought fulfillment.
I’m calling it.
My life is frizz, not gloss.
In my line of work, paper makes a difference. I have co-workers who have to think consciously about the kind of paper we print things on. (Stick with me, I have a point!)
I have found that I tend to like when things are printed on uncoated paper. It feels flat, sturdy, and real. It’s just the ink and the paper and the result is beautiful.
Glossy paper feels oily and can’t be touched, lest you leave your fingerprints on it. Sometimes the sheen makes it hard to read, and, to be honest, it’s a little outdated.
And isn’t life this way?
We cannot keep up with untouchable gloss. We weren’t made that way. We can’t fake who we are, at least not for long.
We were created to live uncoated, plain lives. Taking the risk to be who we are and bloom where we are planted.
When I am insistent on being seen through gloss, I loose sight of who I am and what my purpose is. I become really great at loving myself and not caring about those around me I am called to serve.
Who you are—your frizz, your quirks, your imperfections—they were given to you so intentionally. Even your broken pieces are meant to bring greater glory to your creator. And it is out of this being that you have been equipped to thrive in the context where you currently find yourself.
That, my friend, is holy ground. There is not higher calling than to be yourself. There is also no other place that leaves us as vulnerable.
This is the risk we take, but it is also the freedom we find in living uncoated, plain, and holy lives.