I have so much to apologize to you for, I don’t quite know where to start. I’ve not been a good friend to you. I thought I was, but looking back through the years, I haven’t. I committed atrocious crimes against you; thinking I was helping. In anger, I’ve called you names. Sometimes I said I was joking when I called you these names, but I only did it so someone else didn’t say it first. I thought you’d be able to take it better from me. I’ve called you stupid. At first, I don’t think you believed me, but over time I kept saying it to you. I’d say it in different ways so I wouldn’t overtly hurt you, but… I was calling you stupid. I said, “Well, you don’t have your degree.” I let other people say it to you too. But because you started to believe it, I stopped protecting you from it. I let you feel the full weight. I let it oppress you. I allowed you to believe because you didn’t finish school that you lacked intelligence & worth; that you didn’t measure up to others. I don’t think I realized what an anchor I was putting around your neck. It made you stop seeking. You’ve always loved learning but I made you feel too dumb to understand concepts on your own. You stopped reading to learn; you only read to escape. Instead of challenging you on it, I let the lie take root, set up shop and live in the cracks & crevices of your mind. Every time you misspelled a word, it reinforced how dumb you were and I let you believe it. I let you think that you were incapable. What’s really sad is I let it happen with relative ease & secrecy. On the outside, you seemed okay. You tried to intelligently speak on various topics and you even taught workshops to others. But on the inside, you felt worthless. You lived in fear that every day someone would find out the truth~ that you were masquerading as someone smart.
So I slowly started quieting you; after all, I didn’t want anyone to embarrass you in public. I thought I was helping you. There would be small moments of victory for you. Someone we respected would say something nice to you or about you; you could dine on that for weeks. But, alternatively, their silence could kill you. I allowed your esteem to get so low. I let every label that others put on you to define you.
College drop-out. Minister. Best Friend. Daughter. Big Butt Girl. Diva. Christian. Manager. Leader. Youth Pastor. Teacher. Introvert. Wife.
It started to overwhelm you, but I wouldn’t listen. I just told you to keep on…being. No matter that with every label you were struggling more & more with who you actually were. I heard you crying out. I gave you 20 minutes during Sunday Service to get it out of your system. I thought that was enough. I reminded you that there are people who you needed to be there for. There are people with “real” problems. I told you to suck it up. So you tucked those feelings away with the other ones and I locked the box to make sure they didn’t get out. I fixed your lips into a smile, slipped a pair of jeans over your ever expanding body, bought you a new pair of shoes and told you to keep it moving.
Can I just say, I’m really sorry about the whole weight gain thing? You hate working out and you love food (especially when we’re unhappy) so I just let it happen. The worst part were all those names I called you while you stood naked in the mirror. I hated you when I saw you in the mirror. I stopped you from taking pics. I was convinced no one wanted to see your sloppy fat self. I kept buying you new clothes but apparently, you can’t fix what’s broken on the inside with fixes for the outside. You didn’t feel sexy and I convinced you that you weren’t beautiful either. So when you weren’t satisfied sexually, I convinced you it was wholly your fault. “You’re too fat to be confident & sexy.” Making you feel this way just made you eat more. And because I’ve told you your whole life that you lack discipline, I made you believe there was nothing you could do about it. Of course, you felt ugly. I certainly didn’t try to convince you otherwise. When other people asked if you were pregnant or didn’t recognize you because of weight gain, I let you internalize that.
I really haven’t been so good to you. I never let you deal with the ramifications of your sexual abuse. I told you that you were fine and you believed me. You helped others deal with their horrible scenarios, but your own? You tucked it away. I convinced you that you only had minimal effects, but I was wrong. They loomed large and reared their heads more as you got older. It’s starting to erupt within you. I tried to quiet the screaming as I did before. I don’t need you putting your stuff out there, but you won’t be quieted anymore.
You won’t (can’t) stop screaming. It’s LOUD.
I realized that I only ever talk to you about what’s wrong with you. I hardly ever tell you the good. I never speak life to you. I get so angry when other people treat you like crap but well… I do too. Maybe that’s why you let them do it and say it because… I’ve already done it and said it. I don’t even let the good things people say about you to stick. It’s easier to manipulate you if only believe the bad stuff. I’m really sorry about that; controlling you with low self-esteem. It makes it easier to help you be lazy & unproductive.
For awhile, that was okay. It was easy. I’m all about easy. But lately, easy has been severely unsatisfying. The easy life I helped you build, sucks. At one point you had purpose & passion & confidence. I remember who you were before the abuse wrecked your moral compass & sense of worth. I remember that person who wasn’t cynical; who believed good things (even about herself). Is it too late to get her back? Is it too late to dig up God’s original design for you? I know I told you it was too late to dream again~ to figure out purpose again, but I was wrong. I am so sorry I aided & a bedded in your demise. I really thought I was keeping you safe. When you shouted “I DON’T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE!”, I put a bag over your head and suffocated you. It was only because I didn’t want you to get hurt. You couldn’t breathe; I was killing you. I thought I was helping.
Then one day, I couldn’t breathe either. I was gasping for air & I couldn’t gain control.
I realized that what I was doing to you, I was doing to me.
I could no longer control the perception & I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to act like you were free. I wanted you to be free. The best part was the freer you became, the freer I became. I want to love you for the very first time. It takes courage & faith, but the pair is all I’ve got. I don’t even have a lot of it; just a bit. I’ve got a little bit a courage, faith as a mustard seed and a promise to treat you better.
Maybe I can change our lives again.
This time, for the better.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
-Psalm 139:13-16 ESV
The soundtrack for this blog is provided by Kirk Franklin’s “Declaration! This is it!”