A thesaurus tells my story…
I read a sentence today that jumped off the page at me.
I just kept reading it over and over. It was like I was seeing myself in a mirror for the first time in years. . . . I was recognizing the true me for the first time in what seems like forever—noticing the changes time has brought. Not in a distasteful way, but a way that recognizes things are different and appreciating the beauty of the wisdom that has replaced the youthful glow.
What was it about that sentence? It was the word undiminished . . . so I looked it up all fancy like, in a dictionary AND a thesaurus. And there before me was my life.
diminish /dəˈmɪnɪʃ/ verb / 1 : to become or to cause something to become less in size, importance, etc. / 2 : to lessen the authority or reputation of (someone or something) / : to describe (something) as having little value or importance.
This has been my life. People at all stages of my life making sure I understood that I was of little to no importance, other than to serve their needs. It was imperative that I be reminded that I don’t matter and am profoundly insignificant, lest I step forward and (gasp!) shine brighter than my surroundings. I have been treated with such astounding levels of indifference that I completely believed the lie.
Now I was entranced, so I looked up diminish in the thesaurus and was blown away not only by the words that describe my life, but the antonyms that clearly show what I was promised.
Main Entry: diminish / Part of Speech: verb / Definition: belittle / Synonyms: abase, bad-mouth, cheapen, cut down to size, decry, demean, depreciate, derogate, detract from, devalue, dispraise, dump on, give comeuppance, knock off high horse, minimize, pan, poormouth, put away, put down, run down, tear down / Antonyms: compliment, praise
And it is the word abase – the suggestion the thesaurus said was another word with the same meaning as diminish – that told the rest of the story.
Main Entry: abase / Part of Speech: verb / Definition: deprive of self-esteem, confidence / Synonyms: belittle, debase, degrade, demean, diminish, disgrace, dishonor, humble, humiliate, lower, mortify, reduce, shame / Antonyms: cherish, dignify, exalt, extol, honor, respect
These words perfectly describe my childhood.
They perfectly describe my marriage.
But I am no longer a child. Soon, I will no longer be married.
So, do they perfectly describe me?
As I said, I believed the lie that I don’t matter. . . .
Until one day I didn’t.
It was a small event and one no bigger or more hurtful than the hundreds before it, but somewhere deep within my heart, the switch flipped. The dim light that had been shining in my soul,darkened by others too afraid to let it shine, broke through.
And that light illuminated the facade I had been living behind . . . the lies I had believed and the lies I told to create this false front of “all is well.”
I used that light to step out and start on a new path. It is my time to shine and declare . . .