I was originally going to title this post “Exoskeleton” but then I realized that an exoskeleton is there to protect the body and wouldn’t ya know that wouldn’t be my story so the grasshopper seemed more appropriate. Once a grasshopper has reached adulthood, it sheds its old skin “leaving a perfect replica of itself behind.” What does this have to do with my recovery from abuse? Well it does.
Something that I promised myself a long time ago, before I got married and had children, was that I would not be like my mother. Not ever. Much to my disappointment, I became much like her after I had kids. I was really trying to not be but the truth was that I was in denial about a lot of things and when it came to accomplishing my goals I would manage to find numerous excuses for not reaching them. I also was taking on her temper and lack of patience. This broke my heart because I saw myself turning into her and it affected my son.
One day, when my son was 4, he wanted a snack so I told him he could have a piece of fruit out of the fruit bowl. This was before I began taking control of my weight so I was considerably lazy. He went into the kitchen a few times and couldn’t seem to locate the fruit bowl even though it was in the middle of the kitchen on the island. I immediately became frustrated because I was annoyed that I was being inconvenienced by his ignorance. I stormed into the kitchen and pointed to the fruit bowl and very sarcastically and rudely yelled it’s exact location at my sweet 4-year-old boy. His eyes began to well up with tears and at that moment I realized that I better change now or I would become her.
It has been a difficult and hard process to shed that “skin.” Stress was a big factor but too many times I used that as an excuse to lash out on my son. It wasn’t right. It doesn’t matter how much stress a parent is under, a child doesn’t deserve to be the brunt of it. After my daughter was born, I really began to see things differently. The biggest thing right away was me waking up and being fully aware that I was sexually abused. My focus began to shift to protecting my daughter from that monster. I also realized that my son had been exposed to an awful lot of negativity and I needed to reverse that.
In order for me to accomplish any of this I had to cut off the very people who perpetuated this behavior and were holding me back: my parents. That happened back in May. My mother was practically in my head at all times and I was becoming very aware and disgusted at the abuse from my stepfather. It had to happen. Since then I feel like I have seriously come out of my shell, shedding off the person that I used to be and letting go of the person that I don’t want to be. The biggest things have been patience and being non-judgmental. Raising kids requires a lot of patience. They don’t come into this world with the mentality of an adult. They have a lot to learn and they don’t learn the first time. Heck, most of the time they don’t even learn the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time! So, instead of yelling and carrying on about a mistake made, I am striving toward being patient and loving in their learning process.
There was this person that I was turning into that I refuse to be. That person was judgmental, impatient, hateful, blunt and fake. That person was also lazy and full of excuses. I don’t want to be this person anymore and I’m trying to shake her off. Luckily, I didn’t let her completely over take my personality. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel like I just don’t want to be productive and others there is nothing that can hold me back. Writing has been very instrumental in getting me to this place and finding peace with the abuse. Getting my story out of my head and somewhere else has been a crucial part to my recovery and in return has helped me to find myself and begin to emerge from the shell of a person that I didn’t want to be.
Several people have asked me if I’d consider publication. I have considered that but for some reason I don’t feel like my story has reached a sufficient conclusion. For some reason I feel like I really need to put myself out there and accomplish something that I never thought that I could do… like a marathon. I need to end this act with a bang. I ended the last chapter that way, why not keep going? Well, it kind of freaks me out considering that I can really only run like a mile but I think that’s the point.
I feel like that little grasshopper. I’m coming out of my shell. I don’t need to win the approval of my mother any more. I don’t need to keep pretending that everything is alright when it isn’t. I can be a decent human being full of love, grace, and a passion for life because I want to be.