I've shared some darker parts of my story. While I believe it's important to share them, I also think it's important to share some of the better moments. The "healing moments" form my story as well. I wrote this to a friend, then decided to post it here. Lori is one of many friends who don't really know how much they have been a part of my healing process. I'm not sure this even captures it.
Think of it as a chapter in my story....
The Story of Lori
[the making of a sister]
You know a lot of my story. Because of the deep betrayal of my [abuser], I don't trust people very well or easily. I moved to York, against my will & fervent prayers.
"God, what can you do in York that you can't do in Lititz?"
Many years later he told me his answer: "Nothing. I didn't want to do it in Lititz. I wanted to do it in York..... trust me, child. I've been writing stories longer than you."
Mom prayed for a "good Christian friend". I met Doug. He told me about a local youth group called YAF Fishnet. [despite the various jokes, YAF = Young Adult Fellowship] I moved to York on the very last day of school my 7th grade year. I had already had my final showdown with my abuser. I was 13 by this time. So we had to wait till high school to go to Fishnet. When we did, I had no idea what I was in for. [on so many levels] I began to hear stories. Horror stories from other teens. The one I remember most vividly, I heard at summer camp. I, a friend/ Fishnet leader, & a young, beautiful girl talked. It was late at night, almost "lights out" when the conversation got deeper. She looked me strait in the eye & simply said: "My Mom died 4 days before I turned 16.... it was the best present she ever gave me." ouch. She was one of several kids who began to ask me: "How come our horror stories don't 'undo' you like they do others? How come you can so calmly hear them? ...what are you hiding?"
I came to Fishnet one Thursday evening. [probably one of my first times] A young, short, blonde girl came up to me & she said: "Hi. I'm Lori. I'm a hugger."
me: "My condolences. Don't they have a pill for that?"
me: "My condolences. Don't they have a pill for that?"
She hugged me, & laughed. She. hugged. me. I, did not reciprocate. She would do this every week. Every week, I would just stand there. At first I asked her: "how long do these things last?" She laughed, "I don't know. I've never timed one." Me: "Things to consider." after a while I said: "People are staring at us." To which she replied: "Try hugging me back & they won't stare as much. ...see that doesn't hurt now, does it?" "A little." I joked. I got used to it. Yet there would come times when I'd quietly try to sneak in to Fishnet. She'd come toward me & I'd back away & say "Please don't. Not tonight, ok?" She would have a painful look on her face as she complied. Standing close to me. "What did I do wrong?" She'd ask. "Nothing, Lori. It's not you... I just... I can't do that tonight. I need to not be touched tonight, ok?" Usually after a visit from Grandpa. [Mom's Dad.] One time she said to me: "If I EVER get my hands on who hurt you... they WILL pay."
Eventually Lori, the twins [Jenny & Linda], the twins older sister & a Fishnet leader named Cindy, came to me. Only Cindy spoke: "You need to tell us who's hurting you."
Me: "Why? What would you be able to do?"
Me: "Why? What would you be able to do?"
Cindy: "If someone is hurting you I have a legal responsibility to report it. I have to protect you."
I couldn't wrap my mind around the last sentence. "You're too late to 'protect' me. I'm damaged & that's all there is to it. Where were you years ago? I protect myself. I don't need you."
Cindy: "We have ways of making you talk."
Me: "No. You don't. If you want this info from me you'll have to crack my skull open & get it yourself. That doesn't work on me. Threats are useless to me. You know how most people are afraid to die? I don't have that. There's nothing you can do to me that hasn't already been done. Don't threaten me again... I don't want to hurt anyone... but I will if I have to."
After this Lori began to watch over me. She would stay by my side on the nights I didn't want to be touched. She wouldn't touch me, physically. She'd just be there. Kind of follow me around. If I pulled away from other friends at Fishnet she would talk to them for me. "It's not you, Linda. You didn't do anything wrong. He's not mad. He just needs more space than usual, ok? Give him some time." This was REALLY helpful to me. I had someone to buffer my darker times. I've had them at growth group. Brad can tell you. I'll just say to him: "Not tonight." or "I can't tonight." & Brad or Gabe will say "ok. If you want to talk about it, I'll listen." Yet I eventually... both with Lori, & with Brad & Gabe I would seek them out & give them a hug. Which, at first was weird. They really noticed. They would say something. Which, of course made me back away at first. "No. No. It's not wrong of you. It's just not normally you to come & give one." [a hug]
Touch has always been "louder" for me than most people. Which is why I sometimes pull away from it. It feels too loud. If my fight response is too hyper, I fear I'll hit someone without thinking. I almost hit Pastor Aaron once. He put his hand on my back &, without thinking, I spun around knocked his hand away & drew my fist. Then I came back to the present. He, of course, backed away & said: "woah. I'm sorry." Holding his hands up in surrender. "No. It's not you Pastor Aaron. It has nothing to do with you. I'm sorry. Did I hurt you?" "No." he replied, thankfully. I told him: "I can be that way when people come up behind me & touch me. It isn't something you, specifically, did. I'm not even reacting to you."
Anyway. As I kept hearing stories from other kids about abuse & what not. As they kept asking me why it didn't seem to "phase" me. I began to ask God why that was. Suddenly it all came rushing back. All the years of abuse. I didn't know what to do with it or how to handle it. I didn't want people to know how damaged, broken, worthless I was. I thought they'd hate me. Kick me out for fear I'd ruin them. I thought I was a disease. I was afraid I'd hurt them. I still hadn't... I still, even now, struggle with the fact that I could & wanted to kill him. It's really hard to forgive yourself. I'd have times when I'd have flashbacks. Or when I'd suddenly drift back to memories of the abuse. Once at McDonald's after fishnet, I had that. Lori reached over & put her hand on my wrist. Which, unbeknown to her, he'd often turn to begin abusing me by reaching for & wrapping his hand around my wrist. So, instinctively, I twisted my hand around, grabbed her wrist, yanked her into the table & said: "Don't you EVER do that to me again. You understand?!" Lori: "Sorry. Where did you go?" Me: "What? No where. I've been right here the whole time." Lori: "No...you weren't. A second ago. Where did you go? What did someone DO to you? Please tell me." Me: "No." Her: "why not?" Me: "Because I don't hate you that much."
One night at fishnet, at one of our usual host houses, Lori came up to me & said: "I'm not going to let you out of my sight."
Me: "What brought this on?"
Lori: "I think you have a fear of abandonment.... I won't abandon you."
Me: "......ooooo k? Look. This really won't be necessary. I'm not worried about being alone. I'm an only child. I've ALWAYS been alone."
Lori: "Well, now you have me."
Me: [sarcastically] "Lucky me. What did I do to deserve this? Can I take whatever it was back?"
She laughed. And said no. This didn't bug me too much.....
until I headed to the bathroom. I stopped. A few steps from the door to it. "You know, Lori, I'm sure you're used to guys being willing to 'whip it out' for you 'n all... I'm not like that. This was cute. HOWEVER, no matter how many people go into that bathroom with me.... only I will be coming back out. Got it?"
Lori: [laughed, then with an uncontrollable grin] "I'm pretty sure you can hold it yourself. So, no, I will not be going in there with you. You're a 'big boy'.....Just know this. I WILL be the first face you see when you come back out."
Me: "Whatever, Lori."
Sure enough. As soon as I opened the door she stood across the hall, smiling at me, as she listened to another girl. Mouthing the words "told ya", as she listened. I quickly took the chance to "loose her" & after passing her in the hall calmly. I bolted to the living room. To take a seat ready for Fishnet to begin. She wasn't far behind me. Sat down right next to me. "Is this seat taken?" [Smiling. Faking innocence loudly.]
Me: "Sadly, no."
Her: "Am I sitting too close for you?"
Me: "Yeah, kinda."
She ruched over about a "cheek's worth". "Better?"
Me: "Better." [not completely convincingly]
She moved a little further. "How 'bout now?"
Her: "I'm not moving outside!" [smiling at my veiled joke]
Me: "A boy can dream, can't he?"
[These are the jokes. We could really joke cruel with each other. Yet we both knew just how far we could take these jokes.] Lori was such a great sister & friend.
For those of you who pray. I am going to do something for the first time on Wed night. [ok, I'm going to try to have enough nerve to do it, anyway]
I'm going to share a kind of "cliff notes" version of my story with my group. I'll have roughly 7 minutes. So I have never done either of these. Told a group of people at once or done it with a time limit. I am VERY nervous.
So pray & think of me Wed night, if you would....
May His grace drip from your fingers,