For Everything There is a Season (Day 3 from an untitled collection)
Just as summer follows spring the cycle of our lives continues. Summer is the symbol of growth and the search for self-acceptance and our personal identity; it stands for our youth, that formative time when we enter the school years.
The first day of school arrived and when the bus pulled up and the doors opened I couldn’t reach the steps, I was too short, mom told me the bus driver would get off the bus to pick me up and put me on the front seat right behind him. My entire first year of school centered on how short I was. There was a set of twins that were small too, the teacher had told the class not to play with us because there was something wrong with us; she had contacted the principal to have us removed because of our size. Mom took had to take me in for tests to determine if there was nothing wrong. Mom never told me how long I was out of school only that it was determined I was healthy and could return to school. However, the damage was already done; I was not accepted by my classmates. The remaining three years I went to that school things never changed.
Most of what I shared with you was told to me by my mom many years later because I have only flashbacks and small-time periods of memories of those early years. It wasn’t until in the fourth grade that my memories became clear. I don’t know exactly when it started, but I do remember why I developed an Excoriation disorder, a chronic skin-picking compelled to remove perceived imperfections, in other words, I wanted to get the ugliness I felt off. I believed everyone saw the bruises I tried to cover up. I was such an introvert I didn’t make friends easily and I believed when I walked into a room everyone saw the ugliness I felt, and if someone laughed I knew they were laughing at me. If only I would have known God’s message then, “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame, do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated . . .” (Isaiah 54:4 NIV).
Dad was transferred to Indiana when I was in the fourth grade so we attended three different schools in that year. By this time it became apparent that I had extreme difficulty with math and reading; I would fixate on the number 5 and couldn’t sound out words. After entering the third school that year I brought home an unfavorable report card and was severely disciplined. I went to school the next morning wearing tights to hide the bruises on the back of my legs. Six weeks passed and I got another report card, though my grades did come up slightly, it was still unsatisfactory, however, the outcome was still the same. I still fixated on 5’s and couldn’t sound out the words, and the disciple continued, only this time I had learned a not so valuable lesson, I was never going to be good enough. At the end of the year, my parents got the word I was being held back and it was made clear that I was an embracement to my dad.
As the years went on my grades remained in the lower percent of my class. In high school I remember sitting in my world history class, the teacher always went around the room and had us read out loud, one particular day when it was my turn to read he interrupted me by saying every other word. It didn’t take long until I had had enough and shoved my book forward hitting the chair in front of me, and the next thing I knew I was telling him he was doing such a good job he could finish it himself! Needless to say, I was escorted to the principal’s office. I was terrified because I knew what I was in-fore when I got home, but one of my classmates came into the office and stood up for me. I don't remember what grade I was in but I had won 2nd place in the Science Fair, my parents never came and when I got him and showed them my ribbon my dad was not happy for me but told me I was an embarrassment because if I would have tried harder I could have gotten 1st place.
I was seventeen when I finely spoke up to my dad; I had been working for a neighbor getting his ponies ready for the fair. It was hot and when I got home I went to get a drink of water, dad came busting in the kitchen and knocked the glass out of my hand yelling that I was too hot to drink it. When he grabbed my arm I knew what was coming next and before I could stop myself I yelled at him telling him that he wasn’t my father and he wasn’t going to hit me ever again! Our relationship began to change after that, oh we still had our differences, but I wasn’t afraid of him anymore. All I ever wanted was for him to tell me he loved me, I was fifty years old when he died and I never heard those three little words. God tells us that love “always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails . . .” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8 NIV). Maybe if my dad was shown love as a child he would have been able to give love. Maybe if my mom would have protected me I wouldn’t have felt so alone. If only the sexual abuse hadn't happened I would have been able to trust. If I would have felt like someone cared about me I would have been able to hold on to the hope that things would get better. In spite of everything I persevered and as an adult I was always there for my parents and in the end, I was able to tell my dad I loved him and told my mom my secret. The word of God tells us that, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12 NIV).