Oh the Humiliation!
One of the most difficult things to understand right now for me is when its okay to say enough is enough. In today’s society I think a lot of people need to put their grown-up pants on and start acting like the adults they were raised to be. No….I am not just talking about ‘millennials’ or ‘kids these days’…I know far to many adults who get offended and hurt over the smallest things. Things people haven’t even said but they are thinking in their own head. It is so confusing to me. Since when has a yes not meant; yes…and no not meant; no? Since when do we have to sugar coat every little detail in our life or in our kids lives to have a conversation. Granted I did not grow up in a typical house for my age group…so thick skin was developed…but come-on people!!
I was your typical teenager in the fact that I was as awkward as they come. The summer I turned 14 was the summer that my parents saw fit to fix my under-bite…something I am so grateful they sacrificed money for…but at that time it was about the most humiliating event I could have suffered through. Not only did I have an under-bite I also has a cross-bite. I was still growing and hadn’t hit puberty…I was such a late bloomer…that the orthodontist recommended a face mask method over surgery. There were countless hours spent at that office…getting molds of my teeth done, setting the wires and hooks, putting a plate in the top of my mouth so I could turn the dial with a pin every couple days pushing my teeth further and further apart to correct my cross-bite, and then also being fitted for the lovely face masks that they gave out in those days. The very first mask they gave me was a football helmet…no joke…with a contraption out front that my rubber-bands inside my mouth would hook on to. I think that lasted about 3 days…it just would not stay on at night and I was supposed to wear it all the time. The next device worked the same way but was smaller. By smaller I mean that it took up my entire face but it wasn’t a helmet. I had to basically wear this mask 24/7. I wore it shopping, to church, to the park, babysitting…the list goes on and on. Each time I was more mortified than the last. If I tried sneaking out without it I was reprimanded sternly and told to go back into the house and get it. It did nothing for attracting the boys…pretty sure this was a side plan all along…my drooling problem became 100x’s worse and my speech…well lets say I spit more than I talked. I also wore glasses…at that time they took up your entire face, and then there was the every painful acne. There is a family photo floating around this house somewhere of this stage in my life but I can’t find it…which I am secretly relieved about. 6-7 months later my under-bite was gone and braces commenced. At this point in my adulthood I am so thankful for the sacrifices my parents made so I could have the smile I do, which was quite the sacrifice considering there were 8 of us kids at that point being raised on a teachers salary in small town Missouri. But lets just say during that time I had to grow thick skin. Was it fun? No. Would it have been easier if no one made fun of me? probably not because I didn’t like the situation I was in anyway. Could I have blamed others for my perception? I could…but really I was in control of how I saw myself and where I let my mind go. I am not saying it is every okay to bully…but sometimes teasing is just that…teasing. It wasn’t just braces and headgear I was teased over…I had the whitest legs of anybody you have ever seen. Even to this day they have no color. I refuse to fake tan so they are just white…I can’t do anything about it. It’s how God made me and I am finally okay with it. Well, I am okay with the whiteness and arbonne’s self tanning lotion. 🙂 Anyway, because of this thick skin it got me through some tough times in my life. Times when I was pregnant at 19 and not married. Times of going to school for landscape design being the only girl in my class and 4 years older than everyone else. Times of failure when I would have to move back home because something didn’t work out. And as a young woman, living on her own, supporting a kid and working multiple jobs. I believe that my mental state would have been much different if I hadn’t been raised to have tough skin in those moments. The tough skin though is also what has made the situation I am in now so hard.
When I met Matt he was unlike anyone I ever knew. He was funny, adventurous, introduced me to knew music and places I had never been, he had dreams and goals, and he wasn’t afraid to say what he was thinking. I fell so much in love with him…I still love him as odd as that may sound…but over the years and especially the last few more than any other…the words became harsher and flat out mean. Before I continue I do not write this wanting you to judge him or think worse of him…I am simply putting my thoughts down to process myself. This is not an “let’s all hate on Matt” or “he is a scumbag” or any other thoughts that may enter your head. It takes two to get where we are now…not just one. Anyway, I put my thick skin cover on and dealt with it…thinking that it was a phase, that it would pass, or that I was just becoming wimpy, that having two kids almost 17 months apart and one 8 years older than them was draining all my impulses of being strong. He wasn’t all to blame, I allowed it and sometimes even responded with harsh words that I had promised myself I would never say to another person. I know in marriage there is going to be times where you can’t even stand to be in the same room as your partner, I know that it isn’t all roses and chocolate and hugs and kisses…but no one, and I mean NO ONE deserves to wonder about their very existence because of what another person has said to them. Who are we to be the judge and jury? I am realizing now…that it is okay to stand up and say enough is enough. That these words and things you say to me are not acceptable. That the way you treat me in front of the kids or in private isn’t acceptable. It doesn’t have to be perfect but this treatment…yeah…it isn’t going to happen. The balance though is saying it with love…not screaming it, not throwing it in his face. I do not believe…or maybe I don’t want to believe…that he knew what he was doing. That he purposely put me into a place where I was questioning my every move not knowing what was going to set him off. That is one reason this is so hard. I think when someone sees a certain behavior when they are young they naturally inherit that…they improve on it and not in a bad way…what I mean is they say “well, i didn’t like it when so and so did that so I will NEVER do that and I am promising myself to be better”, which then they become in those one or two areas…what they don’t see is that none of it is acceptable, that none of it is right or just. We can’t be perfect and in my own life I know that more than anyone but that is why I am thankful I have someone coming along side me, carrying me and saying “My child I have you in my arms. Rest in that. Learn how to lean on Me because I am helping you, not to judge you but because I love you. I want what is best for you and I want you to become calm in Me that I may show you what is right.”