Chapter #2: "A Budding Rose"
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
You actually came back! I'm honored, really. To keep on writing and reading like this—we must both be a wee bit masochistic. It's okay. I appreciate that in you, my friend. Your shadow is at home here with mine.
On that note, I must express moving forward that I am absolutely going to over-share in this post. Having traveled to this little back alley of my mind—you will encounter things that you may have not wanted to know.
You may read things that are hard to swallow. You may look at me differently or you may be absolutely inspired. Who knows? At the end of the day, I've learned you cannot control what others think of you. Whatever you think of me... is fine with me.
Now, let's get back to the story.
Before I could understand the weight of my own existence—I was a charismatic, outgoing, and bold little girl. As I grew older and my observation of the world around me became more clear—that confidence began to fade. I began doubting myself, others, and my place in the world.
Everywhere I looked I saw women. Beautiful, gorgeous, and enticing women. On television, magazines, music videos, posters, movies, billboards—you name it. I began to understand that these women were important because they had a purpose. They were sexually desirable. I didn't exactly understand what that meant, yet. But, I did understand one thing clearly.
I did not look like those girls.
I had giant glasses and frizzy hair. I was a pudgy, nerdy girl with a wide nose wearing someone else's hand-me-down clothes. Children on the bus were always there to make sure I knew my family was impoverished—just in case I may have forgotten. Thanks for the reminder, kids. Please accept this sarcasm as my token of appreciation.
Having a father without legs is bizarre enough while growing up in a small and rural mountain town. Having a father with brown skin made us stand out even more. Even with my pale skin, dark blonde hair, and green eyes—I too experienced racism in my school grade years.
Still to this day I am disheartened to know how toxic parental programming penetrates the innocent hearts of youth. I can only hope those children grew up to understand the beautiful gifts within ethnic diversity.
There was one child of color in my entire elementary school. One day at recess, I saw this friendly girl sitting on top of the large, dome-shaped monkey bars. I climbed up to her.
Her hair was styled in dozens of tiny little braids—each one decorated with a special bobble. There were so many of them in all different colors and shapes. I remember thinking they were absolutely beautiful. "So... who's your best friend?" I asked.
"You are!" She said.
As time went on, we were inseparable. I finally had a best friend and felt like I belonged with someone. My relationship with her was a positive highlight in my early childhood. Although, we did suffer from bullying, and at times in return, I became a bully to others.
I still feel remorse over those children. The ones whom the chain of abuse turned into my own victims. If anyone that I was ever unkind to as a child is reading this, please know that I am truly sorry.
It was around the age of 12 when everything in my life became an absolute clusterfuck.
Not only was I now bleeding from my vagina, but during a night out at Friendly's—in the middle of an argument—my parents decided to lay it on me and my brother that they were getting a divorce.
I pretty much had a complete nervous breakdown. It all happened right before the start of my 7th grade year. A welcoming gift for the first day of high school.
I was already nervous about having a locker, changing classes, navigating a new place, the changes happening in my body, and the pressure to be desirable, pretty, and liked.
Now, the only foundation I'd ever known, the relationship of my parents, the wholeness of my family, and the sanctity of my home, was all being shattered.
My parents fought the entire time—trying to make us pick sides. Nothing I could do would stop it. I tried to hide my mother's apartment clippings and beg them both to love each other again, but it didn't work. I felt abandoned, heartbroken, and completely defeated. The overwhelm pushed me into a deep spiral of adolescent anxiety and depression.
All my life I was taught from my surroundings that being pretty, wanted, and desirable was the only way for a woman to reach happiness in this world—and I didn't have it. I did my best to get through the year, confiding in my best friend and making some new ones along the way.
My 13th birthday party ended up a tragic disaster that almost killed all my friends.
You're not going to believe it, but I really can't make this shit up. On my 13th birthday, myself, my dad, and 4 of my friends were almost killed by a drunk driver. Yes, you read that correctly. Another drunk driver.
Driving back from the movies for my 13th birthday—we were hit head-on by a man trying to commit suicide. The drugged and suicidal man sat at the top of a hill—waiting for headlights. He saw our van turn the corner and gunned it.
He crashed straight into us, there was nothing my dad could do. He drives with hand controls, and the paramedics said that if he would have had legs he would have bled to death from the twisted metal.
The weight of my body slamming into the back of the passenger seat broke the chair. It was folded over on top of itself as I woke up lying across it. By some miracle, I had not flown out of the vehicle.
The smell of burning oil and an uncomfortable silence filled the air. Dozens of broken CDs were scattered across the roadway. I remember looking at their shiny surfaces—half-dazed, wondering why they were there.
When I came out of shock and realized what was going on, I immediately screamed as I saw we had crashed and my father was once again pinned by aluminum in the front seat of a vehicle.
I climbed over to him and began frantically trying to kick in the dashboard. Blood trickled down his forehead from an open lesion. The impact of the airbag broke his glasses and split open his skin.
I couldn't help him. I had to leave my dad, watching him be cut from the mangled vehicle by the jaws of life, as I rode away to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. Dad broke a vertebra in his back, but he was okay. The suicidal driver lived with minor injuries.
All of us girls recovered from the damages, a few broken bones, whiplash, concussion—all except my best friend.
She, unfortunately, suffered from the worst injuries. My first best friend since 5th grade, that magical little girl with the braids and bobbles, was now a teenager stuck in a children's hospital for months getting reconstructive surgery. She almost died and I wasn't able to have much contact with her.
My whole world once again was turned completely upside-down. She spent years healing and couldn't come back to school. My heart was broken, my friends were hurt, my dad was angry, and my best friend was no longer there to protect me.
The next year something shifted. The boys at school went from tormenting me for my curly hair and glasses—to making comments about my breasts. I knew they were large for my age and I was mortified by them. I sat hunched over and wore a thick bra most of the time to try and hide my chest.
But now... it seemed these invaders were getting me attention in a new way where I didn't feel completely worthless. I stared in the mirror one day before school and made a decision.
I'm never going to be called ugly again.
I grabbed a Conair hair straightener and flattened out all of my frizzy curls. I took off my much-needed glasses and hid them in my dresser drawer. I waxed my eyebrows and painted on heavy eyeliner and mascara.
Underneath my "good-girl" sweatshirt (which would be taken off when I hit the high-school hallway) was a little white v-neck crop top—thin enough to see the cheetah print push-up bra nestled underneath.
I had no clue what the hell I was doing. But, I knew I didn't look like me anymore. I looked like those other girls on TV. And for that—I was happy.
I started getting so much attention that I didn't know what to do with it. My friends started to change, along with the way I carried myself and acted. People didn't pick on me anymore, at least not to my face. My name was in the mouth of many, but at least they were too intimidated to bully me.
I didn't realize how much sexual abuse was being thrown at me every day. I didn't realize that the boys in school shouldn't have been coming up behind me and hitting my butt or grabbing at my breasts. I didn't realize that all of the dirty, sexual comments being said to me daily were not normal. I thought that it meant I was doing something right because all of the movies, TV, and music videos I'd seen were exactly like this.
To be honest, it felt better to be sexually harassed than it did being laughed at.
Midway through 8th grade—I earned my first boyfriend. He was older and I felt like I hit the lottery. Finally, I was doing something right and it was a fact because someone wanted me.
I was 13 years old when I had sexual intercourse for the first time. My little body wasn't ready, and the moment it happened there was an immediate feeling of dread. Is this how this is supposed to feel? Is something wrong?
It hurt, bad.
I didn't want to ruin it, so I bit my tongue and said nothing. That was the first time I learned how to disassociate from my body. Naturally, the next day my entire school knew I lost my virginity.
I went from the ugly duckling to the school slut in less than 365 days.
Instead of being mortified—I embraced it. I was done letting people hurt me. I was done letting people judge me. I was done caring about anything really.
This was the beginning of an attitude I didn't have before, that would grow and evolve into my darkness. Giving birth to much of my shadow work for years to come.
Don't worry, though. I would eventually find the light again. It just wouldn't be for a while. The emo phase hit pretty hard.
Okay, that's enough.
We'll pick up here next Tuesday,
Kailin of Earth