the list

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

 

{trauma:// an experience that produces psychological injury or pain}

 

It seems she can’t begin to explain and process the amount of hurt and pain the list of men have caused in her life. It started with a man so called her “father.” He came into her house where she felt safe and comforted and took her just because “you wanted to have us that weekend.” That’s just controlling, not a person who loves his two daughters. Would a loving father let his first born daughter stay in her room all weekend without food or water? She was a little girl who was scared of her step mom’s big dogs. They might not have been big to you but to a young child they were. Would a father let his step son lock his daughter out of her own house and watch as he laughed at her? Would a father just up and leave his family to go be with some other women he barely knew? This was only the beginning of her list.

 

Sophomore year of high school comes. An ex-boyfriend whom she thought she loved. The girl was young and didn’t know any better. She replays the night over and over in her head weeks following the traumatizing event. Standing in the door frame, the drunk guy grabbed her arms pleading for her to come outside. She was terrified. Looking at his friend she yells for him to get the guys hands off of her. Vulnerable and over caring, the young girl dealt with the drunk the rest of the night. Holding his hands, trying to protect him from hurting himself. He kept running into walls. Later she stands in the boys’ bathroom as his two friends demand him to eat the peanut butter sandwich. They sit on the bench. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and then suddenly his face turns green. A green similar to a grass stained football jersey. This was unlike anything the young girl had ever experienced before. Part of her felt that this could not possibly be real life. This night would be permanently implanted into her mind for possibly the rest of her life.

 

A few years pass and she had fallen in love much deeper and harder this time. The young girl reaches the house. He tells her to immediately go to his room. The belligerence cranked to full throttle. She has pushed herself as far into the corner as possible. The door was locked yet she was still frozen with fear. Deep down she believed her boyfriend would protect her but, as for the drunk, the feelings weren’t mutual. Eyeing at the window, thoughts of climbing out pass through her mind. She flashes back to that sophomore night. A man who was supposed to be a father like figure was reminding her more of her actual father. How could someone she loved and cared for so much act this way?

 

Another year or so has come and gone and the young girl was in a completely different stage in her life. Cross legged on the hospital floor, the nurse tries to hand her an Ativan. She refuses. Her emotions have reached overload and she simply just wants to cry. The young girl was ready to go home. This wasn’t the place for her. Alone, frightened, unsure and exhausted, physically and mentally. After repeatedly being told she couldn’t call her mom the social worker appears. They walk to her room. The social worker begins to speak, expressing his concern that she’s assaulted another social worker. Threatened to be sent to jail, tears flow unapologetically. “I would never hurt anyone,” she thought to herself. If this worker knew her in the slightest way, there would be no question of whether she assaulted someone or not.  

 

Now, several months fill the gap of the previous incident and the young girl was in a treatment facility. An ordinary day had turned into the unthinkable. It was like a switch flipped. What seemed to be an innocent bus ride to the gas station turned around to be the unthinkable. With the blink of an eye, the man at the rear of the bus shouts. Upset over something so little and out of his control. Turning around showing his butt for everyone to see. The bus pulls up to main campus and the young girl flies off as quickly as possible. Climbing over people and backpacks. She had done her best to fight back tears. Now the flood gates had opened. Shaking and hysterical the young girl was unsure what to do with herself. There was no way she could get back on that bus. She wanted to be as far away from that man as possible. Disoriented the young girl nearly flipped over the front railing of the bus.

 

Relaxing on the couch after a fun filled night at the museum her friendly giant didn’t seem so friendly anymore. The insults and hurtful words fly. Processing the events became seemingly impossible. What just happened? How could someone she cared for so deeply and thought of as a sweet, harmless soul say such damaging words. She was frozen with a surmount of raw fear and shock. The young girl felt numb. Sitting in the nurse’s office, the previous moments slurred together. Flashbacks from childhood issues come flying back. She’s hit a wall. Unable to hold it all in the young girl has become a complete mess. The day’s makeup and salty tears stream down her face. She no longer felt comfortable. Sitting in a chair facing several important people on her treatment team, what tiny bit of self-confidence she thought she was gaining back had been wiped away.  

 

Each incident added a brick to her crumbling backpack. The bag was torn and her body slouched over. The young girl desperately craved to divorce the load but it was as if the backpack was permanently attached. There was no escape. Each block of hardened clay brought reoccurring dreams and extreme resistance towards any male species. The young girl converses with her best friend explaining how she had reached a point where the thought of being touched with a 100-foot pole by a man sickened her. Then the image appears in her head. The Grinch. Her view of men could not be explained any clearer than this. The only difference between the Grinch in Whoville and the young girl’s Grinch was that she had multiple. Not only did she have several but these monster like creatures’ hearts never grew. The young girl has carried this backpack nearly her entire life. As the years passed the load grew heavier and her weak body crumpled even more. But this lifestyle was about end. The young girl had had enough of being controlled by these horrific moments. It was time to take back over her life. She was excited yet terrified.

 

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand

a day in the park

“One of the greatest lessons that adults can learn from children is the enviable ability to find happiness with simplicity.” – Summer Jeirles

 

{innocence:// lack of guile or corruption; purity}

 

Tiny humans hands covered in colorful dusty chalk. Clear, rainbow like bubbles drifting by. A mixture of giggles and the radio fill the atmosphere. Scribbled filled papers sprawled across the picnic table. Twirly slides and rhythmic swaying swings. Wild corkscrew hair and rainbow colored tshirts. The earth has turned into a loamy feel while the sun creeps higher in the sky. The air smelled as if someone has hung freshly washed sheets out to dry. Incandescent colors germinating in the freshly planted garden beds. The sweet, smoky aroma of the season’s first family BBQs. An earthy pungency. Little critters crawling out of hibernation. Longer days lay ahead. Food enchrinched with a new type of freshness. There’s a balsam fragrance of the trees in the nearby woods surrounding the park.

 

The young girl flashes back to a few hours preceding her adventure. Standing near the fountain in complete crisis. Campus was completely dead. Her monster was raging. She hadn’t experienced anything quite like this before. The young girl was past the point of positive coping skills. Dialing her best friend’s number as rapidly as possible pleading for help. Urging her to pack up her stuff and head directly to the park.

 

Minutes after arriving at the park, the young girl and her friend had instantly became pals with a handful of little humans. The monster had been erased from her mind for the time being and now her world revolved around these delicate souls. Her new friends were entangled around her fingers dragging her every which way. Dance competitions and eagerness to have their little bodies traced with chalk. The innocence was so pure. They haven’t been hardened by the world yet and so it was pure love.

 

This was how the young girl wished to view the world. Despite the negativity and in some ways deterioration, she wanted to absorb all the petite moments that so many people take for granted. The young girl wanted to be enriched in mindfulness and authenticity. She strived for this daily. Taking more time to reflect would become a part of her everyday ritual. The young girl was not perfect but was live out “the eyes of a child and heart of an explorer” the best way she could.

 

Psalm 8:2 – Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger