Musical Musings: Natalie Grant "The Real Me"

Natalie Grant, The Real Me

Foolish heart looks like we're here again
Same old game of plastic smile
Don't let anybody in
Hiding my heartache, will this glass house break
How much will they take before I'm empty
Do I let it show, does anybody know?

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Cause you see the real me

Painted on, life is behind a mask
Self-inflicted circus clown
I'm tired of the song and dance
Living a Charade, always on parade
What a mess I've made of my existence
But you love me even now
And still I see somehow

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Cause you see the real me

Wonderful, beautiful is what you see
When you look at me
You're turning the tattered fabric of my life into
A perfect tapestry
I just wanna be me

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Cause you see the real me

And you love me just as I am
Wonderful, Beautiful is what you see
When you look at me

I know, I know…it’s been a while since I did a Musing…but I assure you, this song is totally worth the wait.

I suspect I’m not the only person on earth who often feels like we have to conceal the deepest, truest parts of who we are. I’m not the only one who’s ever been so completely broken that we sometimes forget who we really are, and wonder if there’s any value in our true selves. I know I’m not alone in wondering if anyone will ever love me, really love me, for who I am and not for what I can do for them.

I also know that I have been blessed beyond imagining. I found a family who took me in and patiently loved me even when my behavior and actions were unlovable. I married a man who patiently loved me even when I was convinced I was damaged beyond redemption. I knew that I loved him so fiercely that I couldn’t (and still can’t) imagine how I would get through life without him by my side. I never doubted that he loved me, nor did I ever really fear that he’d leave me; he’s always been too honorable to do something that low. My fear for so many years was that he would eventually learn the “truth” I knew in the deepest parts of me; I didn’t deserve to be loved the way I loved him. I was too damaged to earn that sort of adoration and devotion. He’d never leave me, but he’d grow to resent me for saddling him into a marriage with a hopelessly damaged woman when he could have been happy with a woman who could complete him. It was easy to be suicidal; I never could have earned the kind of love that would leave him destroyed by my death. Sure, he’d grieve me; he’s that kind of man. But he’d get over me, he’d get on with his life, and in the end, he’d be better without me than he could have ever been with me. He’d tell me he loved me, and it was never that I doubted he loved me…it was that I doubted that I was capable of earning the kind of love he always professed. I was too damaged.

I fear I hurt him terribly in those first years of our marriage. Like I said, my lack of trust was never in him, it was in me. But still, I would swing into suicidal depressions every 6 months or so…and he saw it as me not trusting him. It broke his heart to think that I would leave him…never knowing, never understanding that, in my mind, I would have been doing him a favor. I was releasing us both…me from this damaged existence of constant failure, and him from the damaged woman he was burdened with. How it breaks my heart that I allowed my hurt to hurt him so.

And yet, through it all, as I thought I had to earn the right to be loved, to even breathe, he was there, and he was a mirror of the real source of our love for each other. Even went I felt completely unworthy of the air I breathed, or the love he had for me, God was there, He was there, and He loved me. John was a portrait of God’s love for me. He waited, arms open, heart open, crying for me to please, oh please, let him love me…just the way I know God was. They saw my hurt, they saw my heartbreak, and all they wanted from me was to let them love me. They saw past the damage I couldn’t. I saw the scars; they saw the beautiful woman I was created to be.

2 years ago, I went on a trip back east. I stayed with my grandparents, I visited my mother and sisters, I saw my niece. My aunts and an uncle and cousins came and had dinner with me. I went on a vacation with my adoptive family, spent a week with my parents, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, my husband. I visited my aunt and cousins. I traveled to see my aunt and saw a cousin I hadn’t seen in years, and he was delighted to see me. I came home and did some Beth Moore studies. The entire summer was a portrait of the lessons I learned in the studies. It wasn’t an overnight change; each day, each week, was another piece of the puzzle falling into place.

I realized that the “truth” I’d believed for so long was actually a vile lie. I’d allowed myself to be deceived for years, my entire life. All my life, I believed I had to earn the right to be loved, even as I never expected that from others. I never demanded from others that they earn my love; rather, even when my mother had given me every reason, time and again not to love her, I found myself unable to stop loving her. Even those who had never done anything to earn my love, I couldn’t help but love. I couldn’t explain how I lived out a truth I couldn’t grasp for myself, except to say that I didn’t do it in my own strength. My aunts and uncles, my cousins, my nieces and nephews never loved me for what I did. That I live and breathe is reason enough for them to love me. They’ve rejoiced with me as I’ve overcome my past, but they loved me long before I got that far.

Alas, living 26.5 years expecting to earn love instills habits. I find myself even now acting out of those expectations. I find that I’m a people pleaser, wanting to give people reasons to like me, to love me. Granted, as personal problems go, trying to please others isn’t nearly as obvious or as dangerous to others as some problems can be. Nor am I saying that living life so that we can bless as many people as possible is a bad thing; we should all seek to leave the lives we touch better because they’ve known us. But living that way, trying to earn the right to be loved, it does tend to wear a person out. I think that’s why I was always suicidal…I kept getting tired of trying to make everyone happy. I got tired of the constant drain on my emotions and strength. Even now, I find I have to limit my interactions with some people; I find that I too easily fall into the same patterns of behavior, of trying to earn their love...when I shouldn't have to. It drains me, and I can't live that way. I don't have the strength to earn anyone's love...and until I learn how not to react that way, I can't put myself into situations where I feel I have to do that. It would be too easy to wear myself out again...and become suicidal again...and I won't do that to John.

I think that’s why I like this song so much…why it resonates with me. It talks about letting go. Letting go of the appearances we try so hard to maintain, and then discovering that we were loved despite them, not because of them. There’s an indescribable freedom in being loved just because you are. There’s a freedom in having someone see who you are, who you really are, scars and warts and all, and find that they’ve loved you all along…that they see the beautiful person you’ve been underneath it all.

I’m not perfect. I have more scars than I care to count, some of which I’m still finding. I still make mistakes, and I still have burdens and struggles I have to carry. But the difference is this: I have been damaged, but that’s not who I am. I am beautiful, I am worth the air I breathe, and I am loved. That’s the Real Me. And if you look deep enough, you’ll find that’s the Real You, too.

Wonderful, beautiful is what you see when you see the Real me.


Not above 107? Ha!

Last night, at 6:45, as I was getting gas, I saw the temperature at the bank across the street. 109. 42.7 degrees C for those who are metric.

The Heat SUCKS!


Hey, less than a month!

OK, lets see.
Still way too hot out there. Not as hot as I was afraid it would be though; I don't think we've gotten above 107 yet (or for my metric readers, 42). Yes, that's too hot, but no, not the 120s I was afraid of. Thank GOD.

Physical therapy is going very well. I've got another 6 weeks, or rather, until I leave for my cruise. I'm doing well. I'm doing stairs at church, and I only limp occasionally...usually right after I did the stairs! Which means no need for exploratory surgery! YAY!!

I've lost 13 pounds since I moved here, and continue to work on it. I haven't gotten out to the exercise like I should; there's a place here in town that has one on one trainers, and I'm thinking of going there. Drinking lots of water, adding fiber to my diet (the nifty stuff you add to your food, but adds no flavor) and the physical therapy are all helping. That and, since we moved, it's easier to keep the kitchen cleaned up, which makes me more willing to cook and such, so I'm eating better, too. YAY!

37 days till we cruise. We'll drive to OKC Friday, fly out WAAAAAAY too early in the morning, and get on the ship. The message boards I've been visiting over at Cruise Critic has nearly 100 more people cruising on our same cruise. I'm so excited! YAY!! (are you catching a theme here?)

Emma had her first birthday and is doing well. Jennifer gave birth to her son last month, Zachary James. My sister Sarah is expecting a baby in November. That means I have 9 neices, 2 nephews, and a nephew on the way. YAY!!

I think that's all the news I have at the moment.

The Heat