My friend Angela is a writer, speaker, and a professional photographer, but my favorite thing is that she puts feet to her faith. Literally.
Angela Giles Klocke walks and prays for victims of abuse. Angela has already surpassed her goal of walking 1,000 miles for awareness, but the walk continues. She walked for me just a few weeks ago. If you'd like Angela to walk for your or a loved one, see the contact information at the end of this page.
I am honored to welcome Angela as a guest blogger today.
I’m standing at the sink scrubbing potatoes in 2016 when 1990 comes swimming into focus. The water streaming from the spigot smells of Delaware, of another life. I’m 14 all over again, pregnant, standing over a bowl of potatoes, confused about how to wash them. Do I use soap? That’s stupid. Ugh, I’m so stupid.
Time and time again, I’m astounded by how unprepared I am to be on my own. My husband of less than six months has taught me everything I need to know to be a good wife — cooking, the proper way to clean, sex. But I don’t think he can teach me how to be a mom, any more than my mom has. All I know is this: don’t break the children.
Then it’s 2012 and I’m sitting on my counselor’s couch as she leans in, listening, her face betraying the emotions she’s supposed to keep in check. She’s shocked by my stories, by the things no mother should ever do to her daughter, and more by how I’ve survived anyway, without knowing better, without being shown the way.
The right way, that is.
I’ve spent a lifetime being directed, knocked around into submission, molded by words meant to keep me small. There, in the middle of my 30s, it all came bubbling up to the surface.
No good. Stupid. Unlovable. Ugly.
I was barely hanging on. Fragile threads kept me tethered enough to get by. Until the day it was no longer enough to just get by.
It wasn’t a dramatic moment, of sliding down a wall in tears, hitting rock bottom. It was like, one moment I was fine. And then I wasn’t.
I appeared to be thriving, and then I was paralyzed with guilt. The first 22 years of my life came rushing at me, and I could no longer hide like a child under the covers from the boogey man.
Way before I’d ever walked through the counselor’s door, I’d been telling my story. But I’d always held close to my heart the deeper things — the anger, the hatred, the broken pieces that I feared would never be mended. If people knew how I felt, how much I raged inside, they’d no longer see me as nice, or strong, or worthy of my survival. My story would no longer matter.
I would no longer matter.
For months, my counselor and I worked toward dealing with my emotions instead of shoving them down into the acid that sat in my belly along with all the bad memories. At the bottom of all the junk in my soul, I found grace, resolve, understanding, and forgiveness — for my mom, for my ex-husband, but most of all, for me.
Grace for the child I was, for the decisions I made to survive, and forgiveness for all the years after my so-called freedom when I kept myself locked away from real happiness, love, and success.
The potatoes are scrubbed and ready to bake when I notice the quiet of the morning, the peace that lives within me and envelopes me in comfort and safety today. It’s easier for me to visit the past these days without returning full of overwhelming emotion. I no longer beat myself up for decisions I made then or for doing what I need to do now to protect my heart. But I go back often so that I never forget what it’s like to hurt so deeply. I never want to overlook another who’s in that place now. I go back and revisit so that I can use for good that which was meant for evil.
At times I straddle time and feelings to walk through painful reminders. When I am back on solid ground, I fall into the grace that awaits, and I know that I am home.
Angela Giles Klocke is a writer, speaker, photographer and advocate for the hurting. Her work can be found at ScarsandTiaras.com
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