I’ve been meaning to write this for years now, knowing that it might help someone who has been in a similar situation, or simply to officially let it go. However, there is a bit of fear and pain involved in the telling of it. Fear that I might shame anyone that was involved or fear that I might be judged because of it, not to mention the pain that is felt in muddling in the past. This is my “old story,” it no longer defines me, but it has taught me a lot of lessons. These lessons can be beneficial for others too as they learn that they are not their past.
You may wonder why I’m so passionate about helping others feel seen, valued and worthy. It is because that is exactly what I was seeking in the midst of my own trials. There were times where I felt so alone, so incredibly fragile and absolutely terrified of being hurt again. All I wanted was for someone to see the love, light, and potential within me so I could feel safe to be all that I was created to be. Friend, if you are waiting for that to happen for you, this is it. I SEE YOU, YOU ARE WORTHY, YOU ARE VALUABLE. But even more important than that, HE sees you, HE always has and HE always will. Its time to restore to the person that you were created to be. Let go of the lies you learned along the way and step into your truth and SHINE for the whole world to see! You have a light within you that was meant to be shared! And so do I.
So here goes…the icky messy goo that was within me, that held me back for so many years. First, lets start at the very beginning. Luckily the early parts that I can’t remember, I found in a journal my mother kept for me at a young age. I needed that reminder of who I was at the very beginning, so I would understand that I had the gift all along.
Age 2- “Deanna and I were walking through a store, where her usual habit is to say “hi” to everyone. She is so friendly and unafraid.”
I’m the 5th of 6 kids, surrounded by 4 brothers, my only sister is 9 years older than me. I spent a great deal of my younger years trying to prove that I was capable of keeping up with the boys. I always wanted to do what they did. Climbing over the barbed wire fences and venturing out into the country where we grew up in. Fishing, building forts, playing games of baseball, jumping off the shed. If they did it, so did I. I also carefully watched my Dad, who was so meticulous with everything he created. He could build or fix anything! My mom loved reading and was an incredible example of a strong, intelligent and talented woman. She was always serving others and still does to this day. I had such wonderful role models. They taught me to be kind, honest and hard working.
In my elementary years I did well in school, had many friends and even a few that lived in my neighborhood that I spent a lot of time with. One friend in particular, was the “Be Fri” to my “st ends” (If you were a child in the 80’s and 90’s you’ll get that) We came from very different families but we had a lot of fun together. I remember one day at school in particular. I think I was about 8-9 years old. We had some people come and show us the affects of drug and alcohol abuse. They even had a display that showed a set of lungs and what happens when you smoke. They talked about how nicotine and alcohol were addictive and even gave us statistics about the likelihood that you would take up smoking or drinking based on if your parents drank and smoked. I knew right then that was something I never wanted to partake in. My best friend and I talked about it that day, she was in tears as she recalled the statistic because both of her parents smoked and drank. I remember reassuring her that she still had a choice. Just because a number says something, doesn’t dictate what you actually choose to do. I still find it interesting we had this conversation at such and early age. This may seem insignificant but it comes into play later in the story.
Fast forward to about 5th grade, There was a big alfalfa field in the middle of our neighborhood. When it was tall, it made a perfect space to hide out out in. We’d sit and make little rooms in the fields by matting down the vegetation and then sit and talk. On one day, one of the kids had stolen a pack of cigarettes from their parents and was offering it to the group. I was the only one who declined. I remember them saying “don’t tell on us Deanna.” I still loved them, but I personally didn’t feel the need to experiment with something like that.
As the years progressed, they would try things like wine coolers and then it advanced to beer and smoking pot. I still never participated and yet I continued to be their friend. In the spring of 1993 we went to a birthday party on a Friday night, I don’t remember seeing any parents around, or birthday cake for that matter, the house was filled with teen-agers and I was the only one not drinking. I never shamed them for their choices, just politely declined when it was offered. I think a part of me felt responsible to be a good example to my friends who might not have had good role models at home. It was never a temptation for me, but I could see that my friends weren’t on a good path.
Late that weekend, I got a phone call from my best friend. This was before we had a cordless phone. I remember sitting on a stool to the side of our fridge, in the dark, tethered to the phone across the kitchen. She said that she had spoken with our group of friends, and they had decided that I was no longer allowed to sit with them at lunch anymore. She said they felt guilty whenever I was around them and it was best if I didn’t hang around them at all. I hung up the phone and sat their and cried.
At this point there were about 20 of us that would sit at a long table in the lunch room. I had a lot of friends in the school, but I didn’t know who all was in on this decision. I mean, if my own BEST FRIEND didn’t want to be around me anymore, then why would anyone else? So I just stopped talking to anyone that I knew that they also knew unless they spoke to me first. I didn’t even go in side the lunch room at all. I felt so alone. That’s is when I started to believe that I was annoying and nobody wanted to be my friend.
It was about half way through my 8th grade year, Those were some of the longest most difficult months of my life. I never discussed this with anyone, not any of my other friends outside of school, not my parents, no one. For a few weeks I sat by myself on a bench outside. Later, I remember a new girl moving into school from another state. She had dark hair, wore black lipstick, a crystal necklace and Doc Martins. This was before the goth fashion had made its way to Idaho. She looked like an outsider in the midst of the current preppy fashions of Guess and Calvin Klein. She was like a gift for me. I introduced myself and we became friends. I survived the last few months of middle school and then we were off to different high schools. I never saw her after that. I’d have to start all over again.
To Be Continued….