It was a warm summer evening with hints of Fall temperatures in the air as I sat on my sofa reading, I glanced outside and saw my beautiful little girl playing with her friends in the front yard. They were laughing and frolicking about and enjoying themselves as kids should. As I watched, I couldn’t help but marvel at their innocence.
They are young and free, without a care in the world. I continued to watch her in the setting sun. Her long natural hair bouncing with her as she ran to chase a ball. She was speaking to her comrades and they were laughing, about what I dont know.
Boys and girls from all over the neighborhood always congregate in my yard. It was then that I noticed one boy in particular playfully nudging her and then running away. She gave chase. Once she caught up with him, she pushed him back and they both fell into the grass laughing… (record scratch) I began to think about the fact that my baby girl was growing up right before my eyes. She is a tween now. She wears a bra and has her period.
Suddenly my mind went to the nether regions of hell and I thought about how “mannish” boys were in the neighborhood where I grew up. How I was practically forced to have sex at a very young age.
With no father around and a mother that worked 2 jobs I had to fend for myself when it came to boys. I fought and fought through my entire teen life to keep boys away and off of me. What did Sophia say in The Color Purple? “A girl child aint safe in a family of mens?” Well, a girl child also ain’t safe in a neighborhood full of unsupervised boys. I could feel my heart start to race and before I knew it, started to get upset. It was then that I felt my husband’s gentle hand on my shoulder. His touch snapped me out of my daymare. I must have had some kind of look on my face because he asked me, “What’s wrong?” I replied, “Nothing.” But there was something wrong.
Without even knowing it, I was allowing my past experiences with men to tarnish this beautiful experience of watching my daughter play with her friends. My husband and I have grown sons from previous relationships but a daughter was a first for us both. I remember how sad I was when our doctor told us that we were going to have a daughter. I got so scared. I pretended to be happy.
I knew that this would be my last child and even though I said that I wanted a girl, I secretly prayed for a boy.
I was terrified that all of the horrible things that happened to me as a girl child would just automatically happen to her. Being sexually molested at the age of 4, with no father in the home, I spent my early teen years fighting my male counterparts and my late teens early 20’s being promiscuous. I purposely tried to create for her everything that I never had, which was a father in the home, safety, security and stability. I’ve written in the past that I am very over protective when it comes to her and its true. Now that she is growing up I feel all of the ugliness of my past raising its ugly head again. My husband has loved most of my pain away, but some of it still lingers within.
She’ll be a teenager soon and I am terrified. Somehow her hitting puberty has triggered my painful past. I realize that there has to be a way that I can move beyond the terror and pain that I experienced as a young girl. I want to just enjoy her and the fact that she will not go through what I went through because we have already broken the chains of violence and abuse. Here are the seven steps that I will take to move myself forward while dealing with this:
I will trust God
Trusting God in this situation is a must. I can’t do any of it without Him. But I dont expect Him to do it all. I must do my own work.
I will forgive
Forgiveness is for me, not for the people who have hurt me. It does not come easy, but I realize that this has to happen.
I will live in the present
Not allowing what happened in the past to affect my present is a hard one. I know that living in the past prevents me from enjoying my presence.
I will deal with my own lingering pain
I’ve never really dealt with my own pain. I have always been one to just keep things moving. In a way I am glad that this all happened. It needs to be dealt with.
I will not burden her because of my issues
My past has something to do with the way I raise her, but I realize that being too over protective, fearful and paranoid could very well have an adverse affect.
I will remember my own strengths
Going through what I went through and still being able to get good grades, a college education, marry a wonderful man and be active in my community is my strength.
I will rejoice in what I have been blessed with
I have been blessed with a loving husband and wonderful children. Focusing on this is what will allow me to move on.
In my effort to deal with my own issues I hope that this post will help some of you out there who may be struggling with yours. Its funny what triggers the past. For me it was my daughter coming of age, and for you it might be something different. No matter what it is, we have to move forward and remember that everything happens for a reason and that there is strength in surviving.
BMWK: What are some of the issues of your past that you’ve had to deal with? How did you overcome?