You come home from a long day at work and you decide to relax on your bed with your 8yo daughter and watch some television. As a commercial comes on, your daughter says these words that you never saw coming: “mom, I think I’m pregnant.” What do you do? What do you say?
Did she just say that?
I know I’m tired, but now I think my hearing’s going…
What in the h*ll?
Reality is always worse than fiction.
That little, 8yo girl was me and I had just told my mother that I thought I was pregnant. I literally had no clue how to spell that word let alone know what it really meant. But that’s what I told my mother because my stomach felt funny.
As soon as she clicked back into reality, she asked me what I meant by that comment. And that’s when I told her- a close family member had been raping (not the word I used) me for two years and now my stomach hurt so I thought I was pregnant. Before you ask, my mom was a single mother of five. She worked 2-3 jobs just to barely be able to cover our needs. She was not always home.
Eight years old. Her little girl. Raped and molested. By a family member.
The next few weeks were a blur but there are some things that I remember…
…when I told my mother, she immediately called the police to have that person arrested. The police told her to take me to the hospital so that they could perform a rape kit (look at me, my own little episode of Law & Order: SVU) and test for sexually transmitted diseases.
…I remember the day he was sentenced. I had to shrink myself into a ball and bury my body into my mother’s arms so that I could not see the person who stole my innocence.
It was gone.
That precious flower that we women are told to save for our husbands was viciously stolen by some man who was not my husband. It was that day at the hospital that I realized just what had happened to me. Clinically, he stole my virginity, but in reality, he had stolen so much more.
He stole my joy.
He stole my innocence.
He stole my reason to live.
He stole my mind.
He stole my trust.
He stole my soul.
He always told me that if I said anything, it would get so much worse. So naturally, being the young child that I was, I said nothing. I smiled and continued with life as though nothing had happened. My family is Jamaican- we are good at putting on airs.
I did not know at that age just how much things were not ok and how things were not fine.
Despite years of intermittent therapy (I would stop when I felt better), I was not ok. This caused years of unhealthy and unwise relationships with men and food. You see, food was there for everything. When I was happy, there was food to celebrate with me. When I was sad, there was food to comfort me. When I felt scared, food kept me safe. Yes, I went to church, but I wasn’t listening to God or anybody else in there. I had food so I was good.
While I didn’t pay much attention to boys immediately after I was raped, my attention shifted to them in middle school. Neglecting the details, let’s just say my coping methods for pain were never good.
Today and beyond
I realized back in September when I turned 30yo that I needed to let the emotional and physical weight that I had been carrying go. I had just come out of a two-year relationship and I was finally ready to live my life. Subtle changes blossomed into new lifestyle habits. I can finally say that I am in a better place in life. I decided that 2017 was my year to get back to M.E. (my initials and how I sometimes reference myself). I have increased my prayer and devotion to God. I refuse to be that helpless 8yo girl anymore.
My question for you:
What holds you back from fully committing to God?
For me, it was food, men, and television. Once we are able to move those obstacles, we are able to see God more clearly.