they weren’t any happier than you or i. we’ve all seen joy. her sister’s boyfriend molested her. his dad used to use the belt on him when he was done with his mother. the one on the right would go on to take refuge in the bottle, as her mother had, and her mother’s mother.
their lives seemed perfect until you took time to dig deeper, and realized that it was beyond any of our assumptions. ‘oh but your mom is so nice‘ they’d say. ‘your dad works hard to put food on the table’ she’d tell them, ‘sometimes i just get in his way’. he’d look back and try to reconcile it, ‘at least i…’
at least i – what?
all that matters is you made it. damn it all, you made it through and every day is new and a gift. we are battlescarred and some of us just hide it better than others. some so much you don’t recognize them, it’s so very concealed. show me your wounds, i say. don’t hide what they did to us. release the shame, break the cycle, share your stories. outstretch your arms and hold each other tighter when they tell you. even if you were there when it happened. tell them you are sorry, tell them you love them, tell them they are strong. don’t hold back, even if you don’t have the answers.
when the word of my molestation came out to my mother and father, my mother protected the person who knew it happened, and never expressed any sorrow for me. my father didn’t want to hear it – he knew he hadn’t been there to protect me, but rather than say that, he said nothing. and the person who i trusted most, who was there when it happened? who stayed with him for many years after? who nauseatingly tried to compare him once to my ex who had been victimized himself as a child? never. once. has. she. apologized. twelve steps my ass. blood is not thicker than water. love is where it’s at, y’all. don’t tell me ‘oh but she your mommmm’ or ‘you don’t get to choose your family’ or ‘he did the best he knew how’ or ‘they got the same treatment when they were kids’. these may be true statements but it doesn’t mean you are obligated to call them family, to spend time with them. think about those who give you unconditional love, who you can be yourself with, who admit their inadequacies, who are your biggest cheerleaders? whoever they are, dna or bff, that is family. that is where it’s at. not the ones who threatened you, who went behind your back, who destroyed your things.
think about it. these kids all have a story. we all have a story. who helps you pick up the pieces? who can stare at you til you giggle? who tells you exactly what they love about you? remember, they are your spirit, they are your strength, they are your family.
The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.
~John E. Southard