I was a little girl. Innocent. I shouldn't have known such pain, but I did. Not physical pain, but deep emotional pain. I think I could have dealt with the physical pain - at least that heals. But this pain, it lingers. Over and over again it cuts me to the core and I wonder how I will heal yet again. I wonder if I will heal.
Rejection. Disgust. Never good enough.
That's what I felt. It's what I still feel.
I used to think maybe it would get better. "Maybe he'll change," I told myself. Yet even as the words formed in my mind, I knew I didn't really believe them. It had been over 20 years and nothing had changed - why would it be different now? The pain went on, sometimes with new wounds on a daily basis. Inside, I was still a little girl, still trying to process how to stop the hurting, how to make things happy again. I wondered what I'd done wrong, in what way I hadn't measured up this time.
For most of my life, I thought I just wasn't trying hard enough. I thought maybe if I was perfect - if I got the best grades in school, if my teachers liked me, if I read my Bible a whole lot - maybe then, we would be happy. Maybe then, you would like me.
But it never came. I got the good grades, my teachers liked me, and I read my Bible faithfully. But still, my world rocked and caved. Still, that horrible pain came.
And so I learned to shut it down. I learned probably the worst technique of my life - I compartmentalized the pain. I put it in a box, taped it up, and shoved it into the darkest corners of my heart, leaving it there to gather dust until against my will it was ripped open again. I pretended it didn't exist. I pretended my reality didn't exist. It was the only way I could cope.
I learned how to make myself hard inside. I learned how to just numb myself to any of the words that were thrown at me. I pretended they bounced right off my steely heart. And in that moment, they did. But, my technique had a flaw - eventually, when I was alone in my room, those words would come tumbling back to me, and with them poured the tears. My whole body wracked in sobs as I wondered why - again - I wasn't enough.
Some days the only thing that got me through was knowing that the next day I would get up and go to school and I would have at least 6 hours to enjoy life, when I could laugh and not wonder if I was going to be criticized, when I could just be and know I was accepted for being me. I was loved.
I don't remember much about being a kid. Too much of it got packed away in those boxes, and to be honest, I don't want to unpack them. The pain is too great and the rejection too real. I can't relive that over again - I just can't. So for now, they sit and gather dust, and I'm ok with that...because in this moment, I know I am loved. I know I am accepted. I know I am enough.