When I was little I got picked on a lot. I don’t really think of it as bullying because it was really just kids being kids. But it hurt my feelings a lot and once we got into Jr. High and I was older it was even worse. The fact is though, none of the girls who gave me a hard time knew anything about my life. They had no idea what I had been through or why it was that I thought love was sleeping with every guy that passed by me. Most of them are now good people who would never do those things to a girl they knew had been abused.
I was never one to fight in Jr. High, even when people were being as rude as some of them were to me. I didn’t know how to fight and the one time that I tried to fight I got my ass kicked and was even more embarrassed than if I had just let the girl keep calling me a slut in the hallway. That didn’t stop me from knowing how to be mad and hate people.
Beginning with my mom and the man who abused me. I was full of anger, some it was understandable, the rest of it was irrational. Irrational anger makes you tired. It fueled choices that I made that were self-destructive. I had no outlet and I had no way to voice what it was that caused it because I didn’t know.
It was easy for me to learn how to fight. When I moved to a different city and began school at one of the ghettoest high schools ever, I learned real quick. It wasn’t my small little cow town at all. At PD, if you didn’t fight, you had a target on your back. My cousins all told me that if I started things, then I would have to finish them because I talked a lot and then ran to them to fight my battles for me. Soon I was fighting my own. As time went on I learned that the way to defend myself was to be hard. I hardened my heart and I became hateful. My anger fueled both of those things. I made fun of people, bullied other people, laughed at them, and all kinds of other ugly things. Because I knew that if I didn’t then they would get me, and I had to get them first.
What has gotten lost in all of it is who I really am. I’m a shy awkward nerd. My husband knows this, because he knows that girl and was really kind of shocked to find out that I was this loud mouthed, opinionated girl who would punch anyone in the throat who made her mad, and she was mad all the time.
Here is the thing, all of that is anger that came from pain. All kinds of pain. It festered until it came out and became hate. Irrational hate. It’s very hard for me to control because I am no longer scared of anything. Anything except rejection that is.
I have this awful habit of freaking out and either of two things will happen when I start feeling rejected: I will either start rambling and saying the weirdest things or I’ll get mad and try to whoop your ass. Neither of those things reflects who I really am under all the layers that I’ve built around my heart though.
Deep inside, I’m still me; that shy, awkward nerd who likes to read and learn.
Of all the things that is wrong with Facebook, the one right thing is people loving me regardless of all the things that I say wrong. I honestly forgot, or maybe never even knew, what it was like to be loved. It’s weird for me. I always thought of mushy stuff and people caring about you as a sign of weakness. Don’t even get me started on hugging.
It has taken me 5 years to learn how to let my husband love me. Love does not mean doing things that I like, or buying me things. Love means holding me when I cry or praying for me when I’m having a bad day. Love means still talking to me when I go off on you on Facebook about how much the Aggies suck. (And FYI some of my favorite people are Aggies) Love is my atheist friends who still talk to me. Love is my mentor who disagrees with me on things that I find to be very important but still takes time out of her life to text me and have me over to her office for coffee. Love is something that I am not used to. I am not used to giving it or receiving it.
That’s the thing with Jesus though, you can not know Him and not learn how to love. You just can’t. And sometimes love hurts. It mean apologizing when you have to and accepting hugs from people when you would just rather they give you a hi-5.
For me it means remembering that there is more to gain from being kind than drop kicking people. That is hard. There is the sweet nerd inside that hates the gangsta and it is a constant struggle. It really reminds me of St. Paul:
21 I find then a law, that when I have a will to do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind and captivating me in the law of sin that is in my members. 24 Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with the mind serve the law of God: but with the flesh, the law of sin.