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Gratitude in unexpected places

Before you start there are two things you should know. I use profanity and there is reference to sexual abuse, if you are triggered by either of these, you may not want to read any farther.

I am feeling so much gratitude this morning, it’s impossible to put into words, so I won’t even try. But, I will talk about what is creating this feeling inside of me. I have been, for years now,

leaning into the idea that everything in life is happening for me, not to me. As I work through so many layers of old stories, pain and illusions, I am able to look even deeper and see the truth for myself.

For many, many years I believed that the world was out to get me.

The experience that came up today was being in the 5th grade, I had been a military brat for all of my life at that point. I had had amazing opportunities to see and live in different parts of the world from the time I was born, which of course gave me a much different perspective than most of the children I was surrounded by at 9 years old.

I was starting my 2nd year of school at a small, very old school house in a tiny, farming town in NE Kansas. My father had requested Fort Riley as his base of retirement and so here we were, still a few years away from that, but completely immersed in my biggest nightmare, a classroom full of students who could not relate to me, nor I to them.

There was one boy in particular, who absolutely made my heart start jumping out of my chest, but not in a good way. This boy terrorized me. He was the stuff of my nightmares. He took every opportunity to make fun of, ridicule and humiliate me. The worst was when we were seated in the row next to each other, at the back of the class. Did I mention our ancient teacher? She couldn’t see or hear half of what was going on in her classroom and this guy took full advantage of that one.

At any rate, One day as our teacher has her back to the class writing on the board, he whispers my name persistently. Finally I look over to find him waving his penis at me and saying something profane. My heart sank into my stomach. Oh no, not again. I could feel the terror just under the surface. I’m not sure how, but I kept it together. Probably going off to that place that I went at 5 when my relative sexually abused me.

I remember fervently begging, pleading, bargaining and freaking the fuck out at my mother

because I did not want to go back to school. She wouldn’t listen to me and if my experiences

when I was younger taught me anything it was to keep my mouth shut about what had

happened. I was very clear that bad things would happen to me, not the other way around.

The pleading was to no avail. My mother wasn’t budging, not willing to listen to me at all. She just told me that I was too dramatic and that it couldn’t be that bad. I was just exaggerating and should calm down, then she patted me on the head and went off to do her thing.

I spent most of my adolescence deep in depression, not feeling connected to anyone or

anything, except nature. I thank God for our farm and all the precious animals who were my

teachers and friends. Without them, I probably would have spent more time contemplating how to remove myself from this planet and might have even succeeded.

And more, I am so fucking grateful for that boy who terrorized me. He taught me way more in those experiences than I could have ever imagined possible, more than just what I didn’t want in my life, he taught me huge lessons on forgiveness and compassion for both he and I. I don’t know what his experience in life was and with the way he treated me and many others around him, I certainly have my suspicions.

All I do know is that I send him so much love and gratitude. Thank you for being my teacher

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