I stalked the second hand of the classroom wall clock as it ticked away those final minutes before the start of my oral presentation. My palms were slick with sweat, and the anticipation in my belly waged war against the bagel and cream cheese I’d eaten for lunch hours earlier. But not even my unsettled nerves could erase the hours of preparation for this day.
My daughter CJ has been harassed by another student in her school for the past three years – from eighth grade through her sophomore year in high school.
CJ befriended this girl when she started the school year as a new student. But when she shared some unsettling secrets with her, CJ told my husband and me. We recommended that CJ talk to the principal, and the principal talked to the student. Afterward, the girl confronted CJ, asking if she’d told the principal. My daughter was honest and said yes, explaining she was concerned for her.
And this is when the harassment started.
Dear Younger Me,
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t catch myself randomly watching some sort of flashback play through my head, thinking “oh, if only I’d done that differently.”
If only my mother and I had gotten along. If only I’d agreed to go to Prom, just once, to see what it was like. If only I hadn’t given up on my dreams because I didn’t think I’d ever measure up in the real world.
It’s easy to look back on 20 years of if-onlys and succumb to your regrets, letting them swallow you whole.
I grew up in a home where sex was never discussed. I really didn’t understand much about sex other than it was something that we didn’t talk about. If for some reason the subject of sex came up on a television show, someone would quickly get up and turn the channel. As a young girl growing up, pretty much the only thing I remember being discussed about sex was it was something that was not good, and something that I should not do.
“Oh boy, look what you did. You’re in trouble now!”
Words spoken to myself as a young girl penetrated – heart, mind, and soul. I don’t know exactly how old I was when this particular incident happened, barely old enough to write words. I remember the way my hand trembled though, as I penciled this hard to spell word.
Not just hard to spell. Hard to give and hard to receive.
Recently, my family and I had a week which was made up of “moments” and memories. It’s not all that often that I am able to recognize the “moments” in the moment, but during this recent week, I was able to. And I was keenly aware of what a remarkable gift that was.
My husband and I are blessed with two boys — one a teen, one a tween. Truly special family times seem to be more and more difficult to come by, the older they get.
Shame is a hot flow of lava. Sometimes it’s hard to stem the flow. How can we stop the destructive drip when it oozes from the source of the spring?
I first realized shame was liquid when I read Brene Brown’s description of it in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. She describes it as a hot wash.
I know this wash. I’ve felt its flow through my blood veins many times.
Last Thursday, I woke up fifty years old. I’d never woken up that old before, but I knew it was coming because I’d seen all the signs: elephant wrinkles … gray hair … sagging skin. (I won’t mention the movement on the back of the arms. I’m still in denial.) But there were other tell tales symptoms. For instance,