Last year I had a pivotal moment in my life. I was at a conference and the guest speaker called me out and spoke to me about being an ugly duckling and about the jealousy and conflict I had to endure all my life because of my beauty and that it was now time for me to begin to call forth my tribe and then and only then would I feel like I truly belonged.
Now I consider myself by the world’s standards a fairly beautiful woman. Even at 47 I am still very youthful looking. I was a model as a young woman and if I wanted to I could model again. I have hazel eyes, light clear skin, full lips and long thick hair. I am tall, thin and these attributes meet a lot of the standards for outward beauty. Not to mention I have learned the amazing magic tricks of proper makeup application and finding the right clothes for my own personal style.
Yet as I heard those words I had a distinct memory flashback. As a young girl I was unique in my looks, I was mixed race, hazel/green eyes, large lips, fuzzy thick curly hair, I had an awful over bite, was tall and skinny for my age and all of this attracted a lot of attention- good and bad. All of these attributes were just underdeveloped and in time would become some my best features. In addition to this my single mother was unfortunately living in poverty so my clothes weren’t fancy and designer. So I considered myself an ugly duckling. I didn’t feel like I fit into my circumstances, my family and due to certain abuse issues, even my life.
For those of you that are not aware of the story of the ugly duckling it tells of a homely little bird born in a barnyard who suffers abuse from the others around him until, much to his delight (and to the surprise of others), he matures into a beautiful swan, the most beautiful bird of all. The story is beloved around the world as a tale about personal transformation for the better.
As I seriously pondered this I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten that I used to feel like I was an ugly duckling as a child and even as a young teenager. It was because of the amazing changes that had happened within me over the years why I didn’t even remember this. I felt beautiful! No one that knew me now would even have any idea that I once felt this way. I even had to call my sister to clarify some of the memories that were coming back to me.
Truly the love of God had transformed me into the beautiful woman I was on the inside and I allowed that to be seen now on the outside. And greater than this I began not to care if others saw the beauty in me or not. I knew I was beautiful and of value and that was enough. I walked in this confidence and that was what was beautiful to so many people.
But these words were touching another area of my life. Deep inside I had always felt like I didn’t belong. My thoughts and beliefs were different than my family, my husband, my church and others, I have always felt so unique and this had a huge effect on me. It took me 47 years to become comfortable with my identity and who God made me. To be able to say “I don’t have to change me- I like me!”
This word from this speaker was from God, It was for me to give me hope. I was going to encounter my Tribe, my Karass, that group of people that were called to the same purpose as I. After this my inner beacon began to send out a signal calling out for the ones in the world that were just like me. I was now ready to attract the right type of people that would help reinforce who I am by being a mirror for me. This was Gods design. Ducks and Swans are different and Swans don’t grow well in barnyards trying to become Ducks. It is possible but in the end the Swan flourishes best in the company and environment that was always meant for Swans.
So if you are reading this and maybe you have been living in a barnyard, or you keep seeing Swans and know that though your time of maturity has not yet arrived, that you are in actuality one of us or maybe like myself you have had insecurities about your looks and your purpose because you know you are definitely not just like everyone else. Whatever the situation, circumstance or emotional state you find yourself in I would like to call forth your inner Swan to the place where we swim, Join us in the place where we are free and full of grace. Finally, for all of you ugly ducklings, JUST WAIT… you are being transformed into a Beautiful Swan.
Charmaine Hinds- Excerpt from Where the Sunflower Grows