A journey in creativity and faith

Category: Identity

The reason why I stopped smiling



When I was 12-years-old, I was a shy girl who longed to have more friends. I found it was a good idea to smile to other people, and so I smiled to everyone at my school. The boys began to pay attention to me.  One day I sat at my school waiting for the bus home, and so did a group of 13-year-old boys. They touched my thighs. I told them no and pushed their hands away, but they didn’t listen. At one point they stopped. The following days I didn’t go near the boys, and I stopped smiling. The boys stopped touching my thighs, and they began bullying me.



Today, I’m married and have two kids. I still find it hard to smile. When the boys at my school crossed my lines, I was broken. I began to be ashamed of my body and of being a woman. For many years I hated myself, and my self image had negative consequences for my marriage.
When I was 17-year-old, I met my savior. Jesus started a long process of healing me. A few months ago, I stopped being ashamed. I began to think it was OK to be me, to be a woman.

I have met few boys and men who looked down on me because of my gender, but their disrespectful behavior has had an effect on me. I’m angry on the cultures, thoughts and ideas which make even small boys look down on women.

Last summer I was on vacation, when I was kept awake by a noise and lights. The next day I read in the news that in the town close to where I was staying, a 17-year-old girl had disappeared. The lights and noise that kept me awake, came from the helicopter, that searched for her. The following months many people in Denmark searched for the young girl and we prayed for her. Last month the young girl who had been disappeared was found. They found her dead in a waterhole. The police said she was a victim of a sex crime and murdered.

In Germany, some women wear pants with a lock to protect themselves from the danger of being molested. In many countries, women are treated like animals and have no rights.

How can we teach our boys that girls and women have value?
How can we teach our girls they are worthy, that they are wonderfully made?

Stinging weed stories

When I moved into the house I live in, it had a garden with no flowers. With the help from my mother and mother-in-law we made a perennial flower bed. Unfortunately, I was more busy taking care of house and children than gardening.

35 years ago, another garden was planted. It was built on a foundation of good vegetables and solid bushes, but there is a lot of weed. I could have removed the stinging nettles and thistles, but I the weed has grown bigger than my shoulders, and I let them sting my ears and forehead. Dandelion flowers are pretty, and my skin has almost got used to the stinging nettles. The weed tells me many stories. You can’t, you must not, you’re not good enough.


I hear the stories so often I begin to believe them. Lie becomes truth, and truth becomes lie. The stories hurt me, but I know them well, and I find it comfortable to get stung by thistles and nettles, and hide myself at feed of the weed, imaging I’m a tiny beetle crawling on the ground. The little beetle wants to dream and explore the world, but it is afraid. It’s afraid of getting outside the weed, because it fears to eaten by a bird of prey. Sometimes I want to kill the weed, but the roots have become giants, and my fingers are not strong enough to remove them.
But I know other stories.

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In Christ

The nun is fired
The princess and the sex monster are forgotten
The broken glass is gone
The veil for my eyes is removed
I have a new mirror
I see Christ in the mirror
I see myself
I see Mariane, woman
God’s beloved child
precious in my Father’s eyes
free and righteous in Christ
reconciled to God in Christ
a new creation in Christ
I see Mariane in Christ
the glory of the Lord
(5 Cor 5:17-21 and 2 Cor 3:16-19)

Have I spent 30 years walking in the fantasy of a fake fata morgana?

The other day we sat at our dinner table, and my son told us about his dreams about becoming a farmer when he has grown up. I asked my 4-year-old daughter what she wanted to become when she becomes an adult. Her answer came as a surprise to me, but before I tell you what she answered, I will tell you what I dreamed about in my childhood and youth.

 Too many dreams

When I was a child and in my youth, I dreamed about being good at something, to have success and to be meaningful to other people. I’ve dreamed about becoming a singer, a dancer, an actress, an artist, a journalist, an author, teacher or a pastor. When theology didn’t work for me, I was educated a kindergarten teacher and deacon, which I later found out was not my dream job. I got the education, but there was no job for me. I dreamed about having a career, but it began to look like a fantasy or that I should wait for I don’t know how long.

When I was a child, I never thought about starting my own family, but some time after I was married and I was about 24 I looked at all my cousins and my siblings who all had children, and I thought “ok, maybe I should also have some children.”

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Why it matters, what you tell others about yourself

I am unemployed

“Tell us about yourself.” I get this question 9 out 10 times when I’m at a job interview. Doesn’t the employer know how to read? He can see who I am in my job application and CV. No, he can’t. He wants to see and hear me tell him who I am. When I get this question, I tell him about my marriage, my kids, and what I have been doing since I graduated. I repeat the things in my CV. In the end, I tell him why I’m there; I am unemployed.

It’s the story about the identities society has given me. Society tells me that I’m a kindergarten teacher and a mother. For three years, society has been telling me that I’m unemployed. I could call myself a terrorist of society, a failure or a social outcast because this is what the word “unemployed” means to many people. For a long time, I denied being unemployed, but not anymore. What the word means to other people, is not my problem.

Who am I?

  1. My Unemployment Benefit Fund are raising their arms: “You have an education, you are a kindergarten teacher!” I look at the floor. I can’t find a job.
  2. I have relations. I am daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, an aunt, a daughter in law, a wife, a mother, a friend, a neighbor and a woman.

Who am I to myself?

  1. I am a human being created in God’s image. No one can deny my humanity. No one can question that every person has value.

I am a writer

I am also a writer. I began to write a diary when I was 8. I wrote poetry when I was young. I became an adult. A voice inside me said:

“You are not a writer because you haven’t published anything. You can’t become an author or a writer because no one wants to publish your books. No one reads books. Why write when your husband, children and job applications need you?”

An author told me: “You are not a writer for you haven’t published any books. You are an amateur writer.”

No. I don’t want to be an amateur. When I think about amateurs, I come to think about Dancing with the Stars, X-factor and stamp collectors. I connect these people with something temporarily, with a hobby. My writing is not a hobby, it’s a passion. I want to write even though books are an endangered species. I write even though no one reads my words. I write because I love to write. I am a writer. When I’m writing, I am alive.

Why the words “I am” are dangerous

 Be careful which words you put in the end, when you say “I am.”

In the Bible, Jahve, the Hebrew word for God, means “I am.” In John’s gospel Jesus tells us who he is; “I am”; “I am the bread of life.” “I am the good shepherd”, “I am the light of the world”, “I am the door”, “I am the resurrection”, “I am the true wine tree”, “I am the truth, the road and life.”

When I say “I am”, I create my own identity.

When you say “You are”, you create an identity for another person.

What do you tell others about yourself? Share in the comments.