This is a personal conflict of mine. It is a battle I have been fighting from the time I was young. It is a battle I am tired of fighting. It is the pain that still pierces my heart.
I am going to share first the pain I lived through growing up. If you read my blog you know that I lived with sexual harassment and assault daily in high school. I have so much trauma over it that as soon as I finally had found someone to marry, who was more of an escape than a partner, I allowed myself to gain a massive amount of weight. I went from 120 lbs to 230 lbs over a 3 year period. Until recently I have never really thought about my weight gain, mostly just about my weight loss and my healthier lifestyle. I used to blame it on beer and pizza but in reality, I can finally say, it was about making myself less desirable. It was about avoiding unwanted attention and making myself unattractive. Even before I was married I suffered sexual harassment at work. Men would try to stick their hands up my uniform skirt, they would say rude sexual things, they would touch me inappropriately and I did nothing to defend myself physically. I never understood that I was the victim of the worst type of abuse and no matter who dished it out, I just took it. I felt weak and alone. I felt ugly and picked on.
This abuse built up over time. When I was in second grade, about age 8, my family moved to a new school district. It was hard enough to move in the middle of the school year but it was even worse that my mother dressed me like Raggedy Ann with bloomers and frilly dresses with pinafores (read aprons). Some of my clothes even had bonnets like Holly Hobby. To top it off my mother insisted that I have my hair permed in the biggest wooliest fro ever. So she sent me to school as a target, literally. The first day of class a boy named Richard Duran pulled the chair out from under me just before I sat down and I nearly broke my tailbone, I may actually have. I will never know because my parents never took us to the doctor unless someone demanded it. Later on that year I was the VIP for the week. We all got one week to be VIP (Very Important Person) and we had a corner with a bulletin board to put up pictures and display our favorite things for the week. As a child I collected Breyers horses and my mom would only allow me to take one. I took the first one I was ever given. That Friday for some reason we went across the street to the high school and watched the boys basketball team play. That same boy grabbed my horse out of my box and since he was a row ahead of me I could not reach it as he put it down on the gym floor and the basketball hit it and broke off all the legs. I cried for hours, maybe days. Actually I still cry. This boy tormented me for years. I hated him. I hated him so bad that about 10 years ago I heard he committed suicide and I was inwardly happy he was dead. Is that not sick? Is that not a sign there is something desperately wrong? No that is a sign that a bully finally got what they may have deserved. It is hard to mourn your tormentors, like a child suffering abuse when their abusive parent is arrested, they do not really feel regret, just relief.
This abuse in my younger years likely bruised my ego enough to leave me open to the abuse in high school. If only someone would have stepped up and defended me? I still hate most of the people I grew up with. Not because they all tormented me but because no one ever stood up for me or picked me up. I came home from school everyday and cried. Every new school year I made a list of goals for the year. Number one on my list every year until my senior year was to be popular and to not cry everyday. To this day I never cry in public, I rarely cry in private, it is a sign of weakness to me. I have a really hard time with crying. It makes me feel vulnerable and weak and I refuse to be weak around anyone.
Church was no better for me. I suffered abuse from the pastor’s wife. I tried to be a good Christian but just never measured up. I failed at everything. I was in low math and English classes for years. At some point, maybe 4th grade I got bumped to the upper English class. They even put me in the Title 1 class for awhile. Title 1 is the special needs but not super special needs class. I cannot even remember how long I was there. By 6th grade I made it to the top portion of the math class. I worked my ass off to get there too. I made honor roll every quarter after that. It was my one thing of pride in all my school years. I was finally recognized for something good. In all my grade school years I avoided recess any time I could. I made excuses and I helped teachers make bulletin boards or worked in the library. Any reason to not have to spend recess with the other kids. I hated recess and would rather not play, maybe because it was so lonely or maybe because it was not lonely enough and kids made fun of me.
I think the turning point for me was being in the one physically abusive relationship I was in. Learning to trust myself and trust other people to understand me was certainly difficult. I think chat rooms helped me by giving me some distance from those who were interacting with me. I became pretty aggressive and thick skinned over the barrage of verbal abuse. I learned how to defend myself with words. I also learned how to defend myself physically. After the abusive relationship ended, I had a support group to lean on and learn from. I also had made one of the greatest friends of my life.
I believe that relationships begin and end for a reason. I believe that people enter and leave our lives at just the right times. I believe that nothing is just a random point of fate. I believe we can either build ourselves up or we can allow ourselves to be torn down, but everyone needs to know how to do this. I think I am strong but I can easily be broken down. I put on a tough exterior and the tattoos and piercings are part of that. It is my armor, my protection. If I can be just weird enough only persons who understand me will stick around long enough to get close enough to get inside.
I have a long way to go to really become whole again. I have grown up and I have found peace and joy in my life, but all of that buries the pain of my past deep in my head. One day I will have to face it all. One day I will have to forgive and move on. To this day I get a great deal of anxiety thinking about going to my hometown. I refuse to even put any information about where I am from in any of my online backgrounds. I have less than 5 people from my past on my Facebook or online accounts.
So the question I have for you, how do I move forward, how do I face that pain and focus on forgiving people I hate? How do I accept this and move forward to becoming whole? It is a question that has been on my mind lately and I need some answers?