Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do you know what you are?

We all have old wounds. I recently had a memory that was very vivid of an old wound.  I'm not sure why it came to mind when it did, but I haven't been able to shake it, and I keep thinking I'm supposed to write it.  It's pretty personal, and some noses might get out of joint, but I did decide when I made the decision to blog again that I wouldn't censor what I wrote.  I will never deliberately hurt anyone, but I won't not say something that needs to be said just to keep them from getting their feelings hurt. 

I lived with my dad and stepmother for a year and a half when I was 13 and 14.  It wasn't overly pleasant. That's the background, where the original wound occurred. 

Several years ago, and it had to be over 5, since we still lived in Massachusetts, my sweet friend Linda Townsend got right in front of me in typical Linda fashion and said, "Do you know what you are?"

I felt the knife thrust, my heart stopped beating, and the room started spinning. I couldn't breathe. She wasn't Linda Townsend anymore. She was Linda Everett, and her claw-like finger was in front of my nose, and she was hissing through clenched teeth, "Do you know what you are?  You are stupid! You are worthless! You are just like your mother.  You'll never amount to anything! The only reason you get good grades is because the teachers know me.  They don't want to embarrass your dad and me by telling us how stupid you are."  There were many other times she said the same things, always...always preceded with "Do you know what you are?" I was a slut, I was fat, ugly, good for nothing but walking the streets. No man would want me. No one could ever love me.

Most of me knew she was wrong.  Most of me sneered in her face.  Most of me gave her a cold, emotionless stare that I knew drove her crazy.  Everyone thought I was so hard that nothing got to me.  And part of me was. Good grief, I had to be. But there was a part of me that did believe that I was stupid, fat, ugly, worthless...When I was pregnant with my first child, I was so scared that he wouldn't love me.  Then she would be proven right for sure. If my own child couldn't love me...  I still struggle with it sometimes.  I still don't believe my husband can love me. Let me tell you, I spent many years looking for love everywhere but where I should have looked.  My brother summed it up once, just before his death.  He said, "Mama, if my own dad couldn't love me, how could God?"

Let me defend my dad just a bit.  He is not the one that called  Shawn and me these horrible names.  But he sat there and listened and never said one word in our defense while she verbally destroyed his children, his own flesh and blood.  I survived. My brother didn't.  And Shawn died believing that God didn't love him.

Let me get back to the day that Linda Townsend got in my face and said, "Do you know what you are?" We had been laughing and cutting up, and now I was, well, I was nothing.  I was stupid, fat, ugly, and worthless again.  Linda didn't know what she had triggered, but she took my face in her hands and said, "You are a wonderful, beautiful woman."  I was crying anyway, but it was okay, because she got those kinds of things. She's the good Linda. 

To the Linda Everetts of the world, go ahead and ask me, do I know who I am? 

Yes, I do.  I'm a child of God. I'm his daughter.  He loves me.  He cherishes me.  I don't believe I'm stupid, fat, and ugly, but even if I was, God sees way deeper than that. Worthless?  I don't think so.  He made me; He doesn't do worthless.  Slut?  He forgave that.  It's called Grace.  I have that too.

Linda Townsend, do you know what you are?  Because I think you're pretty special.

It took me the better part of forty years, but I know what I am. Do you?

1 comment:

  1. You are so much MORE, God has given a very RICH blessing when you came into my life! You are amazing, and I LOVE YOU!