the years before high school...
That little girl in Lubbock, Texas started to grow up….
Elementary school was a dream. For those of you who grew up in Lubbock can we take a moment of silence for good ole Murfee Elementary. Man that school, those teachers, my peers enriched my life in so many ways. A few memories for old times sake…. We had the most amazing kindergarten class room… I mean who wouldn’t want to play in a two story fort?!
In first grade I humiliated myself for the first time…. thats right my mom was one of my teachers and was so unfair LOL ha! I laugh now… I thought for sure she would never call on me… and she never did. I gave a speech for student council… might I mention that I HATE public speaking… and asked my mom mid sentence if I said it right- in front of all of my peers. YEA that was rough!
Going to the school that your mom teaches at has its positives and negatives. I got lunch ordered a lot because the teachers ordered… Sugarbakers for the win. I spent crazy amounts of time helping mom prep her room before the school year started, imagined what it would be like to pour into the lives of students after school as I played on the dry erase board for what seemed like forever, and knew that school and those teachers like the back of my hand. I spent a year in 4th grade bused over to the east side of town.. and of course they stopped making it mandatory after that year. I have never been good at multiplication because I missed that year at murfee. My poor mom spent so much money on tools to help me but no such luck.
Thankfully for 7 years I was poured selflessly into by some of the most amazing women who still have a huge impact on my life. 5th and 6th grade had the coolest teachers and the addition of the school that was so “cool”. LOL still makes me laugh, but what I wouldn’t give to sit in Mrs. Thrash, Mrs. Polson or Mrs. Fulbright’s room again. You ladies are amazing! You always showed me love and kept me in line! Thankfully I consider you family and you continue to impact my life to this day.
Moving into Junior High- now called middle school… I attended OL Slaton. Some of my greatest memories are of choir and theater… Mrs. Ray oh how I loved the time I spent with you. You were such a fun loving teacher! You change kids lives and I hope you know that! Although they made us change mascots to be more "politically correct" my years spent at OLS were positive.
While in JR high I started cheering for a competitive cheerleading team… mostly because I loved cheerleading, but also because I didn’t make the school team. You see I wasn’t always the cool kid, the pretty kid, or the most popular.... but I did have some of the greatest friends (sorry for the picture that documents the most awkward stage of our lives)
What I’m about to tell you changed my life then and continues to impact me in ways I probably don’t quite understand.
At 13, 14 or even 15 years old you are grasping to feel accepted…. oh how I wish I could talk to that girl today. That is one of the reasons I will put myself out there. I have 3 nieces that I pray never experience the things I have. You see, competitive cheerleading was life for me… it taught me skills far beyond just those on the mat. It taught me confidence and gave me a voice. But… I had a dark secret that I have yet to share to this day. I was being taken advantage of sexually by my cheerleading coach. I know that terminology now, but at the time I felt like I was just doing as I was told, I mean he was a college cheerleader, and my coach whom I respected. It wasn’t just a one time occurrence… I will spare you the details but the stories of this time in my life have only come to surface in the last few years… I had suppressed them deep inside, I guess as a way to protect myself.
I remember going on trips to competition and being so fearful, tried to fly under the radar, and prayed that he wouldn’t get me alone... yet he always somehow did. I can remember one time being in a restroom with him at a hotel and crying hysterically… I was 14 years old… it makes me sick. That should have been a safe place but he took that away from me... The thing I regret the most is that I didn’t say anything. It wasn’t anyones fault, but at the time I thought I had done this to myself… that I asked for it somehow and I was embarrassed, mad, sad and didn’t know what to do. I knew that if I told my parents I thought I wouldn’t be able to cheer any more… so I just took it…. I hope you understand that I hated myself… PLEASE LISTEN TO ME… NO ONE SHOULD JUST TAKE IT. If I could talk to that girl today I would basically scream at the top of my lungs...
YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THAT…. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP…. DONT BE AFRAID TO TELL SOMEONE. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
My issues with the way I view myself, men, and even intimacy are hugely impacted by this time in my life. I fear ever having those feelings again, I have trust issues, I don’t let people get too close. For a long time I felt broken, damaged, dirty… but the Lord is healing me. What happened to me was just that TO me, not my fault, not my parents fault, only the result of a selfish man who was worried about himself and desires. I hate myself for not speaking up. I wonder how many other girls went through what I did? Why didn’t I have the courage to speak for myself? I ask myself these questions to this day.but regardless, I stand on one thing alone… God is near to the broken hearted… He heard my cry then… and He is ever present… He is faithful... and i am victorious.
Today, I pray for girls to have a voice… to know they are worth so much more, that it’s not their fault and that God loves them unconditionally. If you have gone through struggles of your own please know you are not alone. I would love to connect with you, pray for you, and rejoice over your victory. Please reach out. If I have one request, it's that you share my story so that it can help young girls out there. I am determined to use my struggles for good… it is a therapy of sorts to tell my story.
thank you for listening, and thank you for loving me.