The airbrush machine was running and the pigments filled in the cup. Slowly and methodically, the gun of the airbrush went up and down her arm showing the new skin color she so desperately wanted.
When she finished with disappointment again over her latest experiment, she went back to the cyber world and researched her next idea rolling around in her mind – How to bleach your skin.
Many nights I would hear her cry in her room. In her desperation and keeping secret from me, she would cut her arms to see if there was another color under her skin.
All she ever dreamed of was to be like everyone else, to be accepted and loved, and not so different looking. Her addiction to make-up and videos on how to make your face and body a different look and color were overwhelming at times. She couldn’t understand why everyone loved how she looked while she felt so worthless inside every time she looked in the mirror.
Self-esteem and perceptual images can wreak havoc in any young teen, boys included. How far will our pre-teens and teens go in achieving the look to be accepted and loved? Piercings, dark make-up, bleaching of skin, new clothes styles, starving their bodies, drugs and more only lead to more disappointment because what is going on internally is never satisfied. In the end, they never really receive the peace, contentment, and love they are so seeking.
Scene, Punk, Goth, and Emo are the rage nowadays too when teens try to find their place in society. Even though it wasn’t a joke, my husband started to call our daughter Gothmo to make it easier on all of us as to who would greet us every morning. Going back and forth from Emo and Goth have differing issues but both had similarities – wanting to be accepted. Of course, our daughter thought this was ingenious and loved the new title.
On the serious side, teens across the nation and world are trying to find ways to help soften and cure their pain that they are going through. So they change their bodies, fashion styles, and emotions to whatever they are identifying with in their pain.
You have to understand that all of these changes are not the root. They are just symptoms of something deeper going on inside of them. Could it be from a divorce or some abuse? How about a hurtful comment or being rejected? Was it from the loss of someone special in their life? In any of these cases, love stands out the most of what is wanted and needed.
Symptoms always start out small. Just like a parasite in your body, it will continue to grow and persist and eventually get worse until it is out of control and puts that person into a dangerous situation. That is why it is imperative to search for the root cause.
Opening a channel of communication with your teen of your own self-issues that you have struggled in can be a place to start in finding out the source of their root problem.
Even in the midst of my daughter cutting and being Goth I still embraced her with love and showered her with my care and concern. At times she has often said to me that my love for her was too overwhelming because she didn’t feel she was worthy enough to receive it.
That opened the doors for me to share with her that no matter what abuse, rejection, loss or comment made to me, that there was one who ALWAYS saw me worthy – God.
God loved me at my lowest. He loved me when I didn’t deserve His love. He loved me no matter how I looked because He created me and saw me as fearfully and wonderfully made. He loved me enough to send His son to die on the cross for me. He continues and forever will love me because He calls me His own. And most importantly, He wants to love and comfort those who were hurt, pained or rejected.
Today, my daughter knows that she is loved tremendously. She thanks us often for always loving her even when she didn’t feel that she deserved it. Because of that Godly love, she has been released from her pain and low self-esteem and instead reaches out to the unloved, the outcast and the ones who are lost.