Healing Childhood Wounds

This past week has been so traumatic, and it is all real. The nation, state and city are all a mess. Our rugged individualism and greed is raging and stealing our hearts. As I am grounding in the reality as it is, not how I want it to be, I am realizing I am going to have to learn how to trust people in this world despite what I see. But I have to do some of my own healing work, like address my own suffering, so I can do that. Here are some stories I wrote on Facebook that I want to put in my blog to remember. I feel like God is wanting me to spotlight how harmful our childhood wounds are when they go unaddressed. Our winning society is destroying children. Winning is not worth the sacrifice of children, but are not a society that has viewed children as fully human yet. Here are some things I have lived through, and it has left a lasting scar that still opens up and bleeds.

3-6-21

Today I am still deep in grief. This feels like 2016, but even more surreal because now I feel the effects of 2016. Anna’s song (Frozen II) is singing loudly in my heart and mind:

I follow you around

I always have

But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find

This grief has a gravityIt pulls me down

But a tiny voice whispers in my mind”

You are lost, hope is gone

But you must go on

And do the next right thing”

So, I am getting out of bed to study. A thought came to me that I feel ready to share: I hide behind the scenes because I have been relentlessly scored by my performance my whole life. The critique I received Gymnastics, as a child, was cruel. Children do not know their worth instinctively. It has to be taught. Being ostracized when I could not stick a beam routine (in practice!) by being ignored and then forced to tell my team publicly how many routines I stuck that day was humiliating. And the coach intended for it to be humiliating. Then to be criticized for weight, and we all worshipped Bela Karolyi. It is so weird to me to see him for who he really is now. Just like everything else that is falling apart for me. I thought it was me. I thought I was not good enough or mentally strong enough. I was in MIDDLE SCHOOL. I did not hear it was not me until I was 42 years old when “Athlete A” documentary came out.

Yes, this is liberation, but even liberation can be traumatic.

Then soccer. Oh friends, start telling your kids they are worth more than those wins. And the cruel yelling by parents and coaches at kids as young as 8 is sinful. This is the most recent painful event that happened right before going to Wilshire. I will not rehash it because I am trying to heal. I can talk about gymnastics from the scar and not the wound. Not there yet with soccer. But once again I was left with judged motives that were false, and my friends really did place these judgements on me (not in my head). And when we were not giving people what they wanted, they had no more use for us. This is hard to navigate. I am not used to leaning into a world that will love me no matter what I produce. The critique is trying to make a good thing better. That switch does not flip immediately when safe, even after several years. I have no solutions to this problem that are quick. I am not advocating to not critique or to not push someone harder. But in a nation that loves winning, it might do us all some good to reflect on how our messages will be received–even if it is not our intent. This may be the call I have going forward. I see way too many stressed about grades instead of enjoying the journey of learning. It truly does break the cycle of joy. And as someone desperately looking to find joy again, it is another challenge for me to work through. I am grateful to be in a place, church and school, that is navigating it with me. No one has given up on me, and maybe that is what I needed to see also. I am just now getting this as I am writing.

You are worthy. No one wants you to be anything other than who you are. When we find the right people, we want to make each other better–not throw each other away.

3-6-21 Part 11

I was so proud of Bart and Nadia. The feeling was not mutual.

Writing about my gymnastics experience and our love of Bela Karolyi and his wife, Marta, another memory popped up that Reinforces what I’ve been saying about our idol of winning. I have a book written by Bela and signed by Marta. I put it away trying to decide if I throw it away or let it be what it was and what it is now. If you don’t know already, I went to Bart Conners gym. I held his 1984 Olympic gold medal, and that meant zero percent to me bc I was 7 😇. I was there when Nadia defected to the USA and found Bart Conner. Bart and Nadia lived in my neighborhood and had a gymnast on their gate. I was obsessed. I have flown on an airplane with Kerri Strug and talked to her the whole plane ride. I learned how difficult it was at Dynamo Gymnastics in Edmond, OK with Steve Nunno, too (Shannon Miller’s coach). Keri did not stay, going back to Karolyi was better for her. Just saying, it’s not just Karolyi.There were gymnasts who complained about Karolyi long long before now. It was not completely unknown he was an abuser. The only thing is, no one wants to hold an abuser accountable who wins. He made USA women’s gymnastics the most popular sport and it was, and is, big money. One gymnast crying out who was a bit more popular than the unknowns caused Mary Lou Retton to speak up. And here is what she said: Funny, you don’t hear winners complaining. I Kid you not. And if you read her book, she ran away bc of his abuse. He had to go back and get her and flatter her to come back. Classic abuser. And she was a teen, a kid. My experience is with gymnastics, but this culture is everywhere. I understand I can’t fix the problem. But let’s start shining a light and make competition and learning anything a positive thing. Winning is over-rated. What’s the story about it is what’s interesting.

The Karolyis’ aren’t getting around their complicity with Larry Nassar. I do not expect their Ranch to ever open again under their name.

3-7-21

The stories I am sharing are starting to make me feel alive again. I am sharing stories that I can relive and come back to the present quickly. I am recognizing more clearly the stories that are not ready to be shared by the way they send me into deep depression with no way out until I message my mentors, and they are always there to get me back to shore. I am still astounded by this group of friends I have surrounding me now. Words will never be enough to express the gratitude and love I feel every day for the gift of true friendship.I woke up this morning feeling like God is telling me to shine a lot on how we are treating our children. We think our words and actions have no effect on them, especially if we are praising them for winning, but God sees what winning hides. Seminary is revealing I have major anxiety with grades. I have not made anything below a B on anything, and I often feel like a failure. It is not the feedback that does it, it is the grade. Let me tell you what I am discovering. Yesterday, I told you about gymnastics. Today I want to talk about school–specifically, first grade. I am not sharing anything that I have not already processed with my therapist and my team. Here is one of the worst examples revealing I have a real problem- I got an A on a paper and it still was not good enough. It was not the feedback that made me feel that way, it was the way it was rated. I scored off the charts on everything except one thing and that one thing was a failing grade. I got an A on the paper, lots of good feedback, but I saw one thing that read as failure to me and that is all I believed about that paper. Had it just been stated I need to work a lot more in this area, I would have heard it differently–ratings are what take me down. I believe that is gymnastics and being scored for performances. My best was never good enough. It was a gift according to my coach if I got an 8.5. I can believe the 6.5 on beam where I fell twice, though. What I was told is I can believe my failure is real and where I do well is just a gift that I should not get used to. When you hear that at twelve, that does something to you psychologically. Now to first grade. I did not learn how to read in Kindergarten. I went to part-time Kindergarten in Texas, and we got to play a lot. I think that is wise. I learned how to play with other, compromise, and have fun! But when I moved to Oklahoma I was behind being the only first grader who could not read yet. I was put in the lowest reading group, and I was fine with that. I did not know to feel shame about it, so that is good. It is the message that gets sent later. My teacher was a male, and if I had to guess needed medication for his rage problem, and never to be around children, ever. A man with a rage problem teaching first graders is not a good combo. He asked me to read a word out loud in class one day, and I did not know how to say it. The word was “need”. He was so frustrated that I could not read such a simple word that he grabbed me by my arms and held me in the air. I was crying really hard and finally got the word need out. It was so scary. I have no idea why he could not move on to the next person. There was also a time I was filling in the a calendar. I was completing January and could not remember when to stop. I knew putting in 32 did not sound right, but I could not figure out why it did not seem right at the time. I went to the teacher to have him look over my work, and while I was in line I saw the calendar and realized my mistake so I went to sit back down and correct it. He yelled my name to come back. I do not get to look at the calendar and then go change my work. It was humiliating. He made me feel like a cheater. This is the last example because there are so many. We are not protecting our children, friends. Being in the lowest reading group I knew I wanted to do better. There was one book I could not wait to get to. This book was yellow and green with a giant caterpillar on it. I can’t remember the name, but the design of the book made me want to learn. When the time came, and I was one book away from that one, I had a really hard day finishing reading the book before it. My peers had a hard time too. He went on ahead and passed us letting us get to the book I really wanted, and I was so excited–but then he said this: Don’t be too excited. You did awful. So this, friends, will mess with kids psychologically, and it continues into adulthood. I have been trying to hide every since. I learned that I better know my stuff so I don’t get humiliated. It was not for the love of learning. I was enjoying myself when I was trying, but then the abuse (not critique) came and it almost destroyed me. I became vigilant about school to survive, not for the love of learning. By the way, I know how to read. My grammar and editing are less than stellar, but we have editors for that. 🙂 We do not have to know everything. We are all here to help each other. That is way more fun and allows me to learn so much more to live, not to avoid dying.I want to hug her now and tell her she will love school again. There will be nice people later that really will want what is best for her and not humiliate her for what she does not know.

So happy on first day of First Grade. I want to hug her.

The stories I am sharing are starting to make me feel alive again. I am sharing stories that I can relive and come back to the present quickly. I am recognizing more clearly the stories that are not ready to be shared by the way they send me into deep depression with no way out until I message my mentors, and they are always there to get me back to shore. I am still astounded by this group of friends I have surrounding me now. Words will never be enough to express the gratitude and love I feel every day for the gift of true friendship.I woke up this morning feeling like God is telling me to shine a lot on how we are treating our children. We think our words and actions have no effect on them, especially if we are praising them for winning, but God sees what winning hides. Seminary is revealing I have major anxiety with grades. I have not made anything below a B on anything, and I often feel like a failure. It is not the feedback that does it, it is the grade. Let me tell you what I am discovering. Yesterday, I told you about gymnastics. Today I want to talk about school–specifically, first grade. I am not sharing anything that I have not already processed with my therapist and my team. Here is one of the worst examples revealing I have a real problem- I got an A on a paper and it still was not good enough. It was not the feedback that made me feel that way, it was the way it was rated. I scored off the charts on everything except one thing and that one thing was a failing grade. I got an A on the paper, lots of good feedback, but I saw one thing that read as failure to me and that is all I believed about that paper. Had it just been stated I need to work a lot more in this area, I would have heard it differently–ratings are what take me down. I believe that is gymnastics and being scored for performances. My best was never good enough. It was a gift according to my coach if I got an 8.5. I can believe the 6.5 on beam where I fell twice, though. What I was told is I can believe my failure is real and where I do well is just a gift that I should not get used to. When you hear that at twelve, that does something to you psychologically. Now to first grade. I did not learn how to read in Kindergarten. I went to part-time Kindergarten in Texas, and we got to play a lot. I think that is wise. I learned how to play with other, compromise, and have fun! But when I moved to Oklahoma I was behind being the only first grader who could not read yet. I was put in the lowest reading group, and I was fine with that. I did not know to feel shame about it, so that is good. It is the message that gets sent later. My teacher was a male, and if I had to guess needed medication for his rage problem, and never to be around children, ever. A man with a rage problem teaching first graders is not a good combo. He asked me to read a word out loud in class one day, and I did not know how to say it. The word was “need”. He was so frustrated that I could not read such a simple word that he grabbed me by my arms and held me in the air. I was crying really hard and finally got the word need out. It was so scary. I have no idea why he could not move on to the next person. There was also a time I was filling in the a calendar. I was completing January and could not remember when to stop. I knew putting in 32 did not sound right, but I could not figure out why it did not seem right at the time. I went to the teacher to have him look over my work, and while I was in line I saw the calendar and realized my mistake so I went to sit back down and correct it. He yelled my name to come back. I do not get to look at the calendar and then go change my work. It was humiliating. He made me feel like a cheater. This is the last example because there are so many. We are not protecting our children, friends. Being in the lowest reading group I knew I wanted to do better. There was one book I could not wait to get to. This book was yellow and green with a giant caterpillar on it. I can’t remember the name, but the design of the book made me want to learn. When the time came, and I was one book away from that one, I had a really hard day finishing reading the book before it. My peers had a hard time too. He went on ahead and passed us letting us get to the book I really wanted, and I was so excited–but then he said this: Don’t be too excited. You did awful. So this, friends, will mess with kids psychologically, and it continues into adulthood. I have been trying to hide every since. I learned that I better know my stuff so I don’t get humiliated. It was not for the love of learning. I was enjoying myself when I was trying, but then the abuse (not critique) came and it almost destroyed me. I became vigilant about school to survive, not for the love of learning. By the way, I know how to read. My grammar and editing are less than stellar, but we have editors for that. 🙂 We do not have to know everything. We are all here to help each other. That is way more fun and allows me to learn so much more to live, not to avoid dying.

I keep writing about these things, and now I know why:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s