Monday, October 1, 2012

31: Prelude to the Circle, Part One.

In order to truly come full circle,
I believe that I must give you some background.
It will set the stage and 
help you understand how we got here to begin with.

I was born 40ish years ago,
the only child of my parents,
who have always loved me deeply.

Life was quite normal for me as a child--
I loved Sesame Street, Barbies and 
any kind of artmaking.
And I loved school.

I ended up going to a
private all-girls' school for middle and high school.
I got a tremendous education and had many great opportunities
while I was there.

I also had two experiences during this time which affected my 
trajectory in the upcoming years.

The first happened when I was in seventh grade-
a middle school "mean girls" experience
that hurt me to the core.
I had no siblings to watch go through this age,
nor any other point of relativity.
Weeks of constant reminders
 that I was a loser and would never be liked
 cut to the depths of my psyche.

I know now that middle school can be a social mine field,
especially for girls.
You can have a target on your back or you can be shooting the arrows.
Sometimes both are happening at the same time.

I also know now that what happens to you is just a fraction
of the equation.

The biggest factor is how you handle it.

I didn't handle it well.
I believed every word that was written or said.
I desperately wanted to be someone other than who I was.

I want to pause for a moment.
As a mother to 12 and 14 year old girls
(plus a 17 year old son),
I'm reliving this time period right now.
It can make my blood pressure rise on
a regular basis.
I remind my girls often,
especially when drama happens at school,
that no one can make them feel
inferior without their permission.
That they are beautiful and loved
just the way that they are.
I hope that they will always believe this.

The second event that happened
 was a sexual assault when I was 14.
It involved an adult that I knew.
The problem was compounded by the fact
that I didn't tell anyone for a long time.
Years, in fact.

I think I believed in some way that since
I was "unlikeable"
(according to my seventh grade peers)
that I deserved it.
So I carried the weight of this burden alone.

What a bunch of lies I believed!!

I ended up gravitating to the party scene
and all that it entails.
Late high school and college
were spent creating a new image,
a new identity, a new me.

Even though I had always gone to church with my family,
I left this behind.
I didn't trust easily, if at all-
particularly other females.
I made many poor decisions.

The wounded girl became a hard, determined,
independent, wounded young woman.

I transferred to the University of Georgia
before my junior year, seeking a degree in art.
When I got my diploma,
I had plans to go to grad school.

{1994-This was taken near Phoenix on a trip to visit
Arizona State, where I was considering grad school.
The symbolism is perfect.}

But first, I decided to take a year off
and work at this cool little shop in Athens.
One day,
the new guy walked through the door.

The trajectory of my life was about to change again.


  1. Thank you for always being so real....I am honored to know you!

  2. I love that you tell your girls that "no one can make them feel inferior without their permission"...GREAT IDEA! I'm gonna steal that! :) I love your openness, friend!

  3. Hey, simpatico, sister. Or maybe simpatica. I had an unconfident stage that lasted from third grade till a couple of years into my first job, but fortunately for me, God put me in a work environment where I was valued and loved and praised. But I don't trust women either, and have to spend large amounts of time with them before I do. I haven't made any friends I would confide in since I left Georgia, so I can't wait to hear how you conquered that.

  4. who of us would ever choose to go back to middle school?
    not me.
    i'm sorry you were hurt in that season of your life....i think most of us have a few stories we could tell of times when we were younger that people said things that stuck.

    I tell my kids the same thing that you are telling yours...praying and hoping that they have ears to hear that truth and live by it.