Monday, March 13, 2006

All About Me: Part 1

My mom and dad grew up in the same small town in South-West Missouri. They dated the entirety of their senior year and got married the following December after graduation at the ripe old ages of 18. Thirteen months later on January 22, 1977, along came me. Eighteen months after that, they were divorced.

I know. You never would have seen that one coming. You're overwhelmed with shock and awe at my storytelling. Just try to suck it up so we can move along, kay?

Where was I? Oh, yes, the shocking revelation that my parent's marriage fell apart.

So my mom was a bit on the rough side. A real spit-fire and a force to be reckoned with if you crossed her. She was one of those naturally drop-dead gorgeous people that could look completely stunning even at her worst. And the best part was, she had no idea how pretty she was. Her only downfall - she was born without the "Mother Gene".

Here she was, 20-years-old, divorced, with a kid to take care of. She had no time or patience to deal with a kid, so in her eyes the best way to handle the situation was to treat me like an adult. She was a newly-single mother who now had to work two jobs to make the ends come close to meeting, so I got left with my Grandmother and my mom's Step-Dad all the time.

This is where my drama starts.

My Grandma also worked all the time, so when she had to go to work, I was left in the loving care of my mother's Step-Dad, Ed.

Over the years, from as far back as I can remember, he thought it would be a grand idea to molest and rape me on an on-going basis. I was handed the all-too-common cowardly line of "Don't tell anyone. This is our little secret. If anyone finds out, they'll be mad at you and they won't love you anymore." So, I kept my mouth shut. My whole life, in fact. My husband was the first one I shared my dirty little secret with.

I have stopped trying to understand what it is that would possess a person to do such horrific things to an innocent child. I will never understand why a grown man who is supposed to love me would make me perform sexual acts for him at the age of 3, 4, 5, and so on. Why he would force me to look at graphic pornographic material and make me copy the things the women in the magazines were doing. He even made up fun games like Kissing His Pee Pee - that one was my favorite.

I remember a time when I was about 4 or 5. I guess my mom had started taking me to daycare part time. During nap time, they had us all spread around the room lying on cots. Keep in mind, I had no idea that what was being done to me was wrong. I thought it was what grandpas and grand-daughters did. I also had been made to think that masturbating was okay as well. Well, needless to say, I had to endure the humiliation of being caught masturbating with myself on my cot and being subjected to a horrible scolding from a teacher, all the while not understanding why I was even in trouble. My Grandpa was the one that picked me up from daycare that day. As we were pulling in the driveway I told him what had happened. He, of course, made sure I didn't tell anyone Our Little Secret. When he was assured our secret was safe, he made me demonstrate what I was doing when I got in trouble.

A fine, upstanding, Christian man, huh?

As I got older, and as the abuse continued, my little mind was warped and confused. I have memories of experimenting things with my friends when I was as young as 6 or 7. At that age you are just starting to discover your body. I had been so brainwashed that I thought there was nothing wrong with showing my girlfriends what the ladies in the magazines were doing, and wouldn't it be a fun game to do that, too? Even as I write it, I am still shocked that it's me I'm talking about. It almost feels at this point like it was just a bad dream, but, unfortunately, it wasn't.

I don't know how no one clued in on what was going on. I guess I never really showed any signs to anyone, and even if I did, they probably just brushed them off and never thought twice about it.

After Jacob was born, all of those memories that I had stuffed away in a vault somewhere came forcing back like an out-of-controll freight train. I summoned up enough courage to tell my Grandmother when Jacob was about 10 months old. She, of course, was quick to ask me if I could just forgive him so she could go on living her life as if nothing had ever happened. I was also asked to please keep it a secret, and if I had just told her sooner, then she would have been able to leave him and support herself. But now that she was unable to do that, she would have to stay with him because she just couldn't afford to live on her own at this age.

Two years ago this coming May I was able to face him after years of not speaking. At that beautiful moment, God helped me to forgive him and let go of all the pain I had been carrying around with me my whole life. Here he was, reduced to nothing more thn a shruken, frail, little man. All of the pain and turmoil I had allowed him to cause my marriage, because I could no longer stand to be touched without feeling dirty or violated, was finally lifted from me. The feeling of having o keep it a secret to protect my grandmother is gone. I have long ago told her that I would not allow her to make me keep it inside. That made her nothing more than an abuser herself. I am still not free of many of my issues that have been caused by so many years of abuse, but I am well on my way to a complete healing. Ed is by no means able to see my children, but I certainly have no hatred in my heart for him. Instead, I have nothing but pity for the man. Nothing I try to do or say to him to gain revenge will ever amount to the level of consequence God has to offer him. So I hand it over to Him on a regular basis. Sometimes daily. That's the only thing I have the power to do. Everything else is in God's control.


At 3/13/2006 7:21 AM, Blogger Shelley said...

I have found much healing in the telling. Maybe that's why God has been nagging you, too. With each word, with each tear, there is release. And, in turn, you will receive power.

What I hate about forgiveness is that I have to forgive each and every act. Apparently the blanket forgiveness (for me, anyway) doesn't work, but as soon as the memory comes and I recognize that I need to forgive and I say the words, "I forgive you for that one too," then it doesn't come up for me anymore. Weird, huh?

I know you don't like gushy, and I won't be, but I do want to bash Ed's brain in. But, you are right, pity is the answer and God will deal with it much better.

At 3/13/2006 8:46 AM, Blogger Minnie said...

Well-put, Shelly. Yes, I too have to do the forgiveness thing every time I remember a new instance. Otherwise all of those old feelings and issues would come creeping back and I am SO not going back to that place again.

At 3/13/2006 9:59 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

You and I have talked about our past a lot. I have always encouraged you to share your timeline. These horrible things that have happened to you, well, these are your pearls! I have often cast my pearls to a swine but I'm trying hard not to anymore. Share these pearls Minnie! No matter how dirty or disgusting your pearls are, Christ is making them beautiful. THIS STUFF HE CAN USE!!! I love hearing about your funny things that happen to you during the day but THIS STUFF is kingdom building stuff. You know how hard I struggle with talking about the weather! I love you Minnie and I thank God for women like you that can put their heart out there, spill their guts, share their embarrassing past and let God work! Keep it coming! This is my favorite writing of yours yet because I am excited to see what God is gonna do through this. It's funny, I'm dealing with trying to forgive my Dad right now and also trying to forgive a friend who really did me in. So thank you.

At 3/13/2006 10:26 PM, Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3/14/2006 1:02 AM, Blogger Catherine said...

Minnie! I am so, so, very amazed at your courageousness to write about this. I know the healing taking place in you and I am jumping for joy knowing that God is giving you even more peace and healing for sharing this. When I was reading this, I could hear through your words that the chains and the lies that have held you down with this are BREAKING! And look what God is rising up in you! You are His new creation and you’re bringing glory to His name by writing this. You are helping so many who will read this (including myself) who have similar situations in our pasts. We have a choice to believe the truth of God’s grace and forgiveness to all, or to believe the lies that we should be angry and ashamed. Freedom or bondage. I thank God that He’s shown me through His word how to lay this down at Jesus’ feet, and lay down every yucky thought that comes my way (Take Captive Every Thought!). He is working it out, we don’t have to carry the burden. My memories don’t go away but their power to hurt me are nothing anymore as God changes my view and I learn to grasp that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I am just as bad off as the next guy without God's grace and forgiveness. I thank God for His grace and forgiveness that saved me and His mercy that wants to heal and free us. Thank you Minnie, for speaking the truth!

I love how you said, “God orchestrated my life to happen the exact way it did, and I know His plans are perfect. I am not sorry for anything that has happened in my life, and neither should anyone else”. I feel the exact same way.

I have fallen even more in love with God after reading your story because I see how much He loves YOU and I love you, too!

I also love what Addie said about God creating beauty out of your ashes, and I, too will pray that God blesses your openness. You have definitely blessed me!

Okay, I'm on my way over to give you a big HUG - it's 1AM, but I'm sure you're awake! Just kidding, no gushy, I know!


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