It is unfortunate that I, along with many of you, have seen way too much pain and ugliness in this world. I see it in the suffering eyes of children, teenagers, and adults. When I look in the mirror I often see pain-filled eyes staring back at me. Once you think about it, ugliness lurks in every shadow and every street corner. At times it just seems too much to bear. The burden is too great and I feel too lost and alone. Then something happens; I notice the tiniest detail, such as a flower poking its little yellow head out of the ground, or the silly face of a puppy when it wants to play. These little bits of beauty are just what I need to remind me that for every bit of ugly, there is a bit of beauty in the world. I look up at the sky and see the universe stretched out in all of its glory. The colors of the ocean, or the bright red on a ladybug remind me of the loveliness around me. I have learned that I must find a balance so the ugly parts of life don’t overwhelm me and keep me from seeing the beautiful parts. The trick to finding that balance is to remember….remember to look for the beauty. That is my goal now, every single day that I am alive: to actively seek the beauty and the good. I know it’s there. It’s my job to find it.
WARNING: This post deals with details of childhood sexual molestation. It is not graphic, but if it may bother you or trigger a negative memory, please do not read.
I have blocked out most of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child, but I remember strange, small details. My first memory is of E on top of me. I was wearing a dress and I had white lacy socks with black patent leather shoes. He made me lay down on my stomach in the woods on a pile of crunchy brown leaves. I could hear the other kids far away, playing the game of Hide n’ Seek we were all to be playing. That day, E taught me a version I didn’t want to play. Afterwards, he picked the leaves out of my hair.
Another memory is in the bathroom. Somehow, he got me alone in there. I can’t imagine where everyone else was because when our two families got together there were 11 people in one house. I can remember the green and gold wall paper of that little upstairs bathroom in their house. The sound of our parents playing cards and laughing drifted up the stairway. I was 4. E was 15.