I am a Star Wars girl. I remember watching it in the theaters and my momma tells me I wouldn’t quit talking about R2-D2. I had a dream or two of being rescued from Darth Vader’s hands by Luke Skywalker. Yep, that’s the geeky side of me. The whole Star Wars thing was ruined for me when the Sith movies came out. Seeing Anakin Skywalker’s transformation to the dark side was painful. And it made the emperor even THAT more horrible. I started with that because I want to share a quote from the third movie:
Supreme Chancellor: Are you going to kill me?
Anakin Skywalker: I would certainly like to!
Supreme Chancellor: I know you would. I can feel your anger. It give you focus… makes you stronger.
I have been quoting that for about the last hour. NOT because I’m a really geeky Star Wars fan girl but because I’m angry and I’m trying to focus my anger on something positive.
I’ve been working on writing my book again. And it’s going well, for the most part. But then I sat down yesterday to write. What came out of my mind was a painful memory…along with all the emotions of the 14-year-old girl I was AND the emotions of the 41-year-old woman I am.
So, basically, I had a mentor. She was responsible for helping me walk through the years from girlhood to womanhood. I loved her and feared her. She swung between lecturing me about taking care of myself and lecturing me about my developing womanly body.
When I started talking about boys in certain ways she began to talk to me about the importance of protecting the boys’ spirituality. She told me how I wouldn’t be like other girls. My body would not be normal and I’d have to be vigilant to keep from using it to make them stumble. I later gathered that because my mother was well-endowed on top it was assumed that I would too be blessed with a little too much “stuff” in the wrong places. I try not to cringe when I remember this conversation involving the adult MALE pastor.
From the moment I turned 13 my life became a series of lectures about boys and I. I couldn’t stop them from touching me but I didn’t tell them that. I just kept hearing how much I had to make sure my body wasn’t making the boys and MEN stumble. So I began to pray that my body would quit developing.
I tried, unsuccessfully, to keep my body from becoming to “womanly”. I tried to not think about boys in ways that were unholy. I tried to not cry when other girls were allowed to have crushes, even talk about it without a lecture. When I joked with another girl at a meeting about a boy I liked being a “gift from God” I endured a 20 minute lecture on how I’d never “make the bride” if I kept trying to like the boys.
I was afraid of my parents, afraid of my mentor, afraid of my pastor, afraid of boys and the dark and drowning and being raped. Honestly, I feared God, but I called it love. I was so afraid he’d reject me and I wouldn’t make the bride and I’d be left here to be raped and tortured. Everything in me HAD to do what I was told so I wouldn’t face living on earth “After the end times”. So I spent time praying God would make it so I didn’t like boys so much.
But like most teenagers, my hormones kicked in. I liked a boy who didn’t like me, so we were friends. I trusted him… and one night when I feared for the life of my family I called his house. Four times. His mother was not happy. As I wrote the story, years of pain, guilt and shame came flooding into my soul…and I wrote:
The boy’s mother was concerned that I was calling her son to get involved with a domestic violence dispute. Her daughter had been praying her mom would “come to church” and now she was not at all interested. Here’s what I was told. Verbatim.
“You need to repent for what you did. You ruined the chance for her mother to come to the truth. You are responsible for a spiritual death.” Then I received yet another lecture about how she’d be watching me…because I clearly didn’t get that I wasn’t the type of girl who could be trusted with the boys.
The weight of those words hit me full force last night. It took my away. And then the emotions came. Wave after wave. Anger. Despair. Pain like I can’t describe. And I had to finish because I was tempted to throw something at the wall.
The weight of those words sting. I’m blown away by them. I can’t imagine someone saying that to my daughter without me wanting to rip their freaking body limb to limb. But it wounded me deeper than I thought. Because when I fell in love with a man, and couldn’t fight the feelings no matter how hard I tried and prayed, I was afraid I would ruin his soul. And I’ve fought that feeling most of our marriage. The realization of that…makes me want to cry…
The husband was working across the table from me. I tried to tell him the story. I couldn’t get it all out quite right. My voice became angrier the more I talked. He tried to joke to make me laugh. And I looked at him and quietly whimpered, “I wasn’t that bad of a kid.” A couple of hours of crying, a few expletives flung out of both our mouths and 24 hours later…I’m still reeling. Still trying to figure out how to focus this anger and quiet it.
In the midst of it Abba has been here. When I cried and told him that I never meant to hurt anyone, he just whispered, I love you. I love you. I love you. Over and over until I fell asleep. I woke up this morning and sang about his faithfulness. All day he’s been talking to me. Telling me that he loves me. That those lies told about me are not true. That he wants me to be who he made me to be. That he loved me even in the midst of the hell the adults put me through. And do I now see why he chose the husband?
The husband entered our relationship unaware of the hell I went through or the way that place was NOT like the place we met. He had his own pain and his own scars. He thought I was perfect, holy and strong. He thought I’d be able to take care of him and love him like the person who broke his heart. When he realized I couldn’t do that, he wanted out….but there was no way out. So he stayed and dealt with a wife who loved him on her good days and abused him on the rest. He stayed, because he loved me but didn’t and because he just didn’t know how to leave. And we stumbled through somehow, together, without ever knowing really why things were the way they were. Until I left the place and dragged him with me.
And I realize tonight that I believed the lie “people had to be saved from ME.” I’ve spent 27 years trying to protect people from who I am, especially the husband. I loved him, but I couldn’t love him, because I knew I would destroy his soul. So I kept myself from him and wouldn’t see him.
And….I’m just so angry and sad and angry….and there’s this deep ache of pain that I can’t describe. Because the reality of the words said to me, over and over, are horrifying. And to know that I wasn’t the only one….there is an entire generation of us who have wounds that are horrible.
I don’t like this pain. Everything in my WANTS to just ignore it, pretend it’s all good and move on. And I’m going to move on…eventually. But Abba told me today, to take the time to let the wound heal, to grieve, to go through the process. Because healing is much better than a band-aid.
And now you know a little more why I love the husband so much….