Scars

Few people know the details of my upbringing and all that I had to watch, suffer through, and recover from. The horrors of life were ever present in my life from the time I was a small infant to my older teenage years. This included trauma and chaos at school too. Few people realize how badly I was tormented as a child in school. I had several factors stacked against me. First, I have a unique first name that rhymes with colorful, nasty words (think: “Nicky likes _____.”); I have red hair, and my maiden name was Crisp. To add to the fun, I was also miserably poor. My mom was a single mom of three kids and we had a horrible life full of drugs, neglect, abuse (every kind you can define), and homelessness. We moved from house to house, often lived with my grandparents, worked in their restaurant, and struggled to find any sense of stability. It was awful to say the least. Nobody should have to live like that. In the midst of it all, I found a love for school. I loved school and the teachers. I thrived in school at every opportunity. I loved my teachers and clung to them for safety and security. They were my beacons of hope for a different life.  A life that I deserved. A life that I could make for myself if I just tried hard enough and made good decisions toward. The sad part about this is that school was not safe for me either. I was tormented for all the things that made me unique. I was called names, teased mercilessly, rumors spread about me, and ridiculed at every turn. I remember it was in 4th grade that things started to get really ugly. I was manipulated into thinking I was doing things wrong, that I wasn’t a good friend, and that I was not worthy of friendship, love, or life. I remember walking home from the bus stop crying my eyes out every single day of 4th, 5th, and most of 6th grade. Nobody helped me. Nobody stood up for me. My mom did nothing. The school did nothing. The teachers did nothing. The bus drivers did nothing. My friends cowered behind the bullies thankful they weren’t the targets of such pain. I cried in humiliation, fear, sadness and thought that maybe I didn’t deserve to live. I never attempted to take my life, but if it weren’t for the grace of God, and His divine intervention, I could have lost all hope for better days. Some of the people I am connected to today on social media were my bullies. They’ve never apologized. We’ve never been close. But they are part of why I am who I am today. I don’t see myself as a victim of anything in life, I see myself as a survivor and I am thriving. However, I do not aim to minimize my experiences. In fact, I aim to highlight that life is hard and kids can be cruel, but with time, healing, and good guidance even the worst of the worst can be made good.

I have to remember this in the season I am in right now.

See, my son has become the target of bullying. He has been hit in the face on several occasions, his books and band instrument taken away from him and thrown on the ground, he’s been called names and ridiculed in front of his peers. All while at school, with teachers, cameras, and a wonderful thing called “David’s Law” are in place. And despite all of these things, here we are, 30 years later, and I am replaying the trauma I experienced as a young girl. My trauma does not equal his trauma, but it has prepared me to face this issue head on and with a fierceness that only a parent can muster when their child is being mistreated. The scars of my past have been opened a bit and my unspent tears are being shed in love for my son, the sweetest, most gentle, kind-hearted person the world has known. He is a smart, kind, talented, warm, friendly, inquisitive, joyful, God-loving, encouraging, funny 12 year old. He is all of this and so much more. Thankfully, he doesn’t have any “flaws” stacked against him that makes him an easy target, but here he is being tormented and assaulted at school. I can’t figure out what has caused this other child to lash out against my son. To add fuel to the already volatile situation, the perpetrator in this case is the principal’s son. Lovely.

Ironically, before the first days of 7th grade, my son’s school held what was called “Prep Days” where you get your school ID, class schedule, and find the classrooms on your schedule. While we were there, I spoke with the principal and the assistant principals about a series of inappropriate activities that occurred on the school bus that ran through my neighborhood the year before. Several students had shared that inappropriate sexual activities were taking place between kids on the bus and several fights broke out, too. Well, when I addressed these concerns all of the principals were baffled at the information as though they had never heard of anything like that. They claimed nobody had reported any of this misbehavior and had no knowledge of any parental concerns about what was happening on the bus. The principal even had a dismissive tone as I spoke with him. Red flags went up all over my brain. Not a good impression. And definitely not a good sign of things to come in the given situation.

Nobody deserves to go through this experience. Yet we know that so many kids are victims of bullying and so many suffer in silence. So many kids don’t have anyone to tell. They don’t have anyone to fight for them. They have no voice to be heard and nobody advocates for the mistreatment to stop. Thankfully there are societal changes taking shape, but the abuse happens faster than laws can be passed or lives saved. I will ensure that I use every single resource at my disposal to ensure my son’s safety and that of others. I will not stand idle by and watch my son or any other child abused like this. I know the depth at which these experiences affect you and the pain that stays with you most of your life. I know the helplessness one feels when faced with bullying and mistreatment. Know this: I will advocate for the safety of all children at this school. I will go to any length necessary to achieve the desired results. I will spare no expense in my endeavors.

I may have scars from my childhood, but I am going to use them as badges of honor in my fight. My bullies had their day, but I will have mine in the demand for this to cease for my child.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach

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Dreaming

Goodness how my mind likes to take a break from the facade of trying to not miss you and let’s me drink you all in and enjoy you to the fullest. My mind let down its guard last night and dreamt of you. I dreamed that you were sick and had some medical testing done. Somehow, I arrived to the medical center and you greeted me with wide stretched, open arms and gave me a huge hug while telling me how much you missed me and then gave me a nice kiss in front of God and everyone.

It was so beautiful.

I needed that so much. Mentally, emotionally, physically, I needed your embrace. Even if it was just in my mind, I saw you and felt you as though it all really happened. God I don’t know what to make of it all. Some days it’s like I need to go to an institution and other days it feels so blissfully surreal that I must be having some tantric out of body experience. My heart hurts so much more than I allow it to acknowledge. My soul hurts so badly. My body aches and craves your touch that I actually feel starved. The depth at which I hurt is commensurate to the depth of how much I loved you. And still do.

My dreams are a testament to the longings of my soul. In my heart, I still want you. I want you to choose me. I want you to love me. And I want to be happiest with you all the rest of my days.

Last Friday was your birthday and I celebrated you from afar. I sent you a little love note just to share the celebration but I got no response. And that’s ok. But I would be lying if some part of me didn’t wish to hear back from you just to say “thanks” if nothing else. It’s hard not to miss you. It’s hard to not wish I could be with you right now. It’s all so hard and so sad.

Happy birthday, baby. I love you.

💔

Always on my mind and forever in my heart,

The Repressed Peach

Judgment.

Judgment is a very heavy word and yet it carries so many variations in meaning. Some use the word lightly and in amusing ways such as “don’t judge me and the kind of music I listen to” and others refer to it in biblical terms like “hell fire and brimstone”. Depending on the conversation, you might find both uses satisfyingly appropriate or not at all. Judgment has its place in society. It’s a testament of our values and our position on different topics and behaviors. Ultimately, it’s a reflection of our truths. Your truth is your perspective and your perspective is gained through experience. Everyone’s life is made up of experiences; some are good, others are bad, and some are down right awful. And yet, these experiences shape us into who we are. While judgment has its place and serves a purpose, there are times when judgment is ugly and comes from a place of hate. This is what I’m finding in some social circles. Not everyone can wrap their head around my life experiences and many certainly struggle with the tales of my love life. Vastly, I’ve received love and support from people near and dear to me. Strangers here have offered their two cents and given kind advice. Yet, there are others who don’t express any sympathy or offer any support for me in this. I get it… I know that some people cannot accept certain things about people. I know that others have varied life experiences that cause such disdain for certain aspects of life. Even more so, society has taken a serious stance about love affairs backed by religious teachings, idioms, and quips. With this said though, love affairs are scarcely different than any other woe life throws at you. Parenting troubles, financial ruin, marriage and divorce, homelessness, infertility, drug abuse, addiction, etc. all maintain parallels with love affairs that few people care to acknowledge. People dismiss the idea of a love affair as something someone chose or something that could’ve been avoided. Something that only sleazy human beings engage in. Immoral, baseless scums of the world are the perpetrators akin to pedophiles and rapists. However, the judgment so easily cast by those who’ve never experienced either side of the scenario lack understanding and intel. I could’ve no easier controlled who I fell in love with than the color of my hair or skin tone. I didn’t set out to fall in love with a married man. I didn’t go to work at a specific place to meet my soulmate. I didn’t get put in the same office as this man so that I could wreak havoc on his and my own life. No. I didn’t set out for this course purposefully. In fact, I planned exactly the opposite in regard to relationships. I made vows to myself that I found to be incredibly hard to maintain as I got to know this man. I realized with each passing day, that no matter what I did, I could not resist him and he couldn’t resist me either. It was something cosmic, something so much bigger than just a tasteless, lust-filled, carnal act. Yet again, it was exactly the opposite; it was a rich, life-giving, passionate, eye opening, life-changing experience. Unlike the judgment and the social constructs that ridicule and shame this type of relationship, I found myself full of love, able to love deeper than ever before, and soulfully connected to my mate.  The love I developed, and the love I still have for this man, was deeper and more intense than any other feeling I’ve had in my life. Love stories are made of this stuff. Songs are written. Shakespeare wrote of this. Beethoven crafted masterpieces with this. Michelangelo painted with this passion. Buildings were erected and wars won with the love and passion my soul carries for this man. So see, this experience shapes my reality. It shapes how I see others around me as it helps me see them  for who they are while giving me insight to the limits of human understanding. We all have our own cross to bear; some crosses may seem more familiar or we can nod in appreciation for what another has to endure, but make no mistake about it, a cross is a cross is a cross.

In closing, one of my favorites idioms:

“Those who live in glass houses ought not throw stones.”

Be mindful of the judgment you cast on others as you endure your own battles in life. We are all just trying to make every day count and no matter how hard we try, we aren’t gonna get out of it alive. It makes little sense to cause others too much trouble along the way as you just might trip on your own robes in the process.

Thoughtfully,

The Repressed Peach