Revelations: Miley Cyrus' twerking reminds columnist of lost girl she once was
Ladies, come a little closer.
I want to introduce you to someone I used to know, someone I used to think was pretty great - my 20-year-old self.
That former self, unfortunately, resembled very closely the 20-year-old Miley Cyrus that stunned international audiences last week with her tongue-wagging, booty-twerking, Molly-endorsing performance of "We Can't Stop" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."
The moment she took the stage at the 2013 VH1 Video Music Awards, it was clear Miley's Disney "Hannah Montana" wholesomeness was gone.
And whether real or contrived by Hollywood, the new and not-so-improved, grown-up Miley, didn't do anything for me artistically or musically except to remind me that nearly 12 years ago, I too, was a lost young woman who didn't think very much of myself.
It's not easy to admit that there was a time in my life that I didn't have any self-worth or self-respect or that I used to think beauty was found in peek-a-boo, low-cut blouses and suggestive minis.
Like Miley portrayed on stage the other night, I was convinced that men only wanted to see me as a wild, flirty, sexual object.
Because I didn't respect myself and the gifts I had to offer, I believed men weren't searching for a woman of substance, with depth and purity, femininity and brains.
My stomach still turns thinking about how lost and empty I was then. My stomach turned the other night watching Miley show the world that she only wanted to be seen as a sexual object.
It was, in my opinion, an unnecessary, over-the-top display of a child's desire to show the world she's all grown up.
But sexuality and acting sexy do not equal adulthood or womanhood.
I know because I've been there.
I could delve deeper into my past and explain how I came to think so little of myself by the time I reached my early 20s, but that's not really the story I want to share with you.
What I do want to share is that when I arrived at the point when I hit an emotional bottom, believed I was nothing and could do nothing good in the world, God picked me up and saved me from the woman I was becoming and the path I was on.
He took my hand, showed me that I was beautiful and loved inside and out and led me down a different path.
He led me to the path of womanhood and adulthood and allowed me to see beauty in all its glory, and in time, my peek-a-boo shirts and suggestive minis went away.
I didn't care for the attention of any man who would desire me as a sexual object and searched only for the man who would compliment my brains before they would compliment my eyes or anything other part of my body.
It wasn't an overnight process, but I can honestly say the woman I once was doesn't exist anymore.
But Miley's journey of self-searching is just beginning. She's young and beautiful and talented, and she has many years to figure it out, which I'm sure, one day she will.
But I hope, at least for a few of you reading this, that Miley's performance will remind you that you are worth more than your external beauty and sexuality, and you are loved and beautifully made by the creator of the world.
And I hope that every time I see the clip of a half-naked Miley Cyrus twerking with a giant foam finger that I'll remember how much God loved me then and how far he's taken me ever since.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @jenniferpreyss on Twitter.