Let’s Make a Deal

Let’s Make a Deal

I have always believed in God.  I have been a Christian my entire life.  Some conservative Christians might say that my beliefs are unconventional, but I call myself a Christian. When I was a child, I imagined God as a projection of my parents.  This is actually quite common among children.  I assumed that if God was an authority figure, God must use that power like my parents used their power.  Obviously, this did not bode well for my relationship with God.  I saw God as the old testament God on steroids.  My God was punitive.  My God did not forgive.  My God had rules that were inconsistent and hard to understand.  My God was angry … even raging.  My God was not happy with me.  My God didn’t love me. So, as I tried to figure out how to survive in the world around me, I decided to make a deal with God.  My deal was something a traumatized child might contrive.  You protect me from harm and I will be perfect.  Unfortunately, my deal didn’t work.  I was still raped.  I was still beaten.  I was still sold.  I could only come to one conclusion.  I guess I was not perfect yet. I went to church and heard all the key phrases.  “God will save you.”  “You need to find God.”  “God loves you.”  All those phrases just pushed me further away from God because it confirmed my belief that I wasn’t as good as everyone else.  I didn’t feel saved.  I didn’t feel loved.  And I didn’t understand how to change that. So, I kept trying. ...
Don’t Call Me Pretty

Don’t Call Me Pretty

I am not a super model, but some say I’m pretty.  I have been called all the words for a woman who meets the generally acceptable societal standards of attractiveness: pretty, beautiful, sexy.  I have had male attention.  I have dated.  I have married. I know that the way I look has been an advantage for me because women are judged by the way we look.  I have probably been offered more help in stores.  I have probably made more money in my career.  I know I have been judged far less than others.  I know there are advantages I cannot see because that is how privilege works.  I get that. But I don’t want to be called pretty.  I don’t want anyone to give me compliments based on the way I look.  When I was a child, I was always complimented on my appearance … right before I was raped … for money.  When I was a child, it appeared that a beautiful person was someone to be bought, rented, owned or controlled.  A beautiful person held the same value as a beautiful trinket … a trinket that would be purchased, placed on a mantle and shown to others.  “Look at the beautiful thing that I own”.  “I have always wanted one of these”.  Money talked … and beauty was to be owned. Some may think that I am too sensitive.  Some may think that my past has damaged my perception.  Some may think that the men from my childhood have ruined my chances of relating to any man in adulthood.  Believe me, I have thought of that. ...
The Childhood I Never Had

The Childhood I Never Had

I didn’t have a childhood. My childhood was stolen by emotionally, physically and sexually abusive parents. My nonexistent childhood has caused struggles in my adult life that seem insurmountable. I battle with the feeling that something is missing … something that I will never find in my adult life.  Although my situation was particularly harsh, I have realized that most adults have unfinished childhoods. They may have lost someone close to them, experienced abuse (which is more common than we think), or just spent far too little time being a kid. During the past seven years, I have been devoted to giving my children a safe and nurturing childhood. I have spent time trying to understand what a real childhood looks like. I cannot rely on my instinct. Parental instincts tend to come from our relationship with our parents. And I didn’t have parents. I had abusers. So I research. I read parenting blogs and articles. I ask questions … many questions. What do kids need from parents? How do they interpret our discipline approaches? What activities help them discover who they are meant to be? My questions led me to consider the advantages and disadvantages of public school.  And one year ago, I decided that my hopes for my children would not be met in a public school setting. I felt their time for play would be cut short by a long schedule of classroom instruction at a very young age. They would feel pressure to conform to a particular type of personality that fits our public school system. They would not have the opportunity to express their...