Thursday, September 29, 2016
The prompt for my weekly contemplative writing classes a few weeks ago was on when you first knew you were good. The writings out of this prompt were powerful - as often pointing to realizing when we thought we were bad, or told we were bad, as times when we realized or heard we are good.
This writing in particular stuck out to me. Deb Lamers, one of my students, uses many lovely metaphors around goodness, and doesn't mince words about how an early sexual trauma, unfortunately quite familiar to many, changed her sense of inherent worth for a long time.
Read all the way to the end to see how she pairs Catholic School with Alice in Wonderland!
As always, student writings are unedited, presented as is, written in twenty minutes without planning.
Enjoy Deb's tenderness and kindness to herself.
Once upon a time, I thought I was good. No one ever told me I was, but the way my grandpa and grandma, aunts, and uncles, and even my mother and father treated me, I thought I was good. A good girl.
Then, at age seven I was sexually molested by an uncle - the story lingers in my consciousness to this day. After that day, I thought I was bad. I tried hard to get attention, wanting someone to notice how bad I was. I began to act, putting on different masks to get through. For awhile, I punished myself, for years, I punished myself. At age 30, I finally told, and somebody noticed my goodness. I was good again.
A conversation, horses, painting, and writing brought out my true self. I suffered most of my life, but felt that goodness at the same time, like a tree or a flower that is planted by seed, water, and cultivated. If I didn't have that basic goodness from birth, when does one become good?
Like the trees and flowers, and sun and rain, I came to realize I was always good - I just didn't know it.
The Catholic school, where the boys who were told they were bad were made to pull down their pants and hit with a wooden paddle. I ached and tears would fall when I heard their screams - they were not bad, I thought, they were good. That is where - in the hallways of St Peters, in the classrooms, we were all told we were born sinners, and I knew it was up to me to climb out of that hole that Alice fell into - and like Alice, I tried to escape, looking everywhere for that goodness. It was something I knew all along, I had carried it with me during life's journey, cultivating my spirit. My consciousness knew all along - it has always known -
The trees and flowers had turned into a garden - the sun helped them to blossom.
I am good. You are good. We are good. Thoughts turn out to be just that - thoughts. It's a journey, a good journey.