My inner child has been screaming at me all summer. Have you ever been there? Every once in a while she needs positive attention and words of love and forgiveness and acceptance. – Think The Ring only far less creepy. She will not leave me alone until I listen to her. If I don’t listen to her, she’ll act out.
I went to Nashville in June with a few of my comic friends. Christian comics from all over the country converged on a small church for three days where we loved on each other, laughed and cried with each other and helped each other as best we could. Several of us wish we were still there. Re-entry into the real world was a little rough.
One night, a group of us were sitting around the table talking about using humor to help convey certain truths. We also spoke about the importance of telling the truth. That caused a few people to shrink in their chairs. Yours truly included. Being the new kid on the block, I assure you that did not go unnoticed.
“Tell me one thing you’ve done in your life that you don’t want me to know.”
HELL TO THE NO! I’m here to tell jokes, not play truth or dare.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, if I want to throw people off the scent of my personal fear and shame, I throw them the Johnny Cole bone.. “I went to a concert when I was 21. We stalked the band and beat them back to their hotel. I met Johnny and he invited me to the after party. It’s okay though because I didn’t go. Huey spotted me and sent me home because he didn’t believe I was over 18.” The end.
Nothing wakes up my inner child like being lied about. She wanted to know why I didn’t answer his question honestly. I don’t care who knows about Johnny, I do care who knows about Plano and she knows that.
Now, I’m a Christian. We’re supposed to believe that our past has been forgiven and redeemed of God. I have no reason to shrink down, blush, or look at the ground. Right?
We should believe that. We should be able to hold our heads up and not be afraid or filled with shame. And usually we are until something reminds us of that one story —
You know the one I mean.
The one that if anyone found out I’d die a thousand deaths because I just know that I’ll be abandoned, branded, and left for dead by the side of the road.
I have one of those.
Or two or three.
Mostly the one though.
Having been in a 12 step program before I have shared my life story all over the United States. And I’ve never told this one – to anyone ever. Which is a problem really. Things fester in the dark. It’s getting moldy and stinks to high heaven.
Which is probably why that one story has come back to me time and time again all summer.
Being as I can’t shake it and since I have menopause induced insomnia, I’ve been writing about it all summer. My journal begins with
“The statute of limitations on my personal rights to be a dumb a$$ expired the night I found myself….”
Thought I was gonna tell you, didn’t you?
I’m not going to tell you, because you have your stories and if you see mine, you’ll weigh it and decide – for better or worse – how yours matches up. I don’t want you to do that. I want you to own your own stories and learn how to release them as well.
I will admit there is just something about getting it down on black and white that takes the power out of the sting. I had to do some grieving and some owning up to my part. This is a 23-year-old secret. That is a looong time to be buried. I needed to let the woman I used to be cry and heal.
I’ve already talked to God about it and He’s already forgiven it. The problem is, I haven’t forgiven myself so I added a letter to that young girl and mothered her like I wish someone had mothered me then. I gave her permission to be human, to make bad choices and good choices (she did the right thing in the end) and I gave her permission to forgive herself because the woman I am today forgives her.
Forgiving her has been wonderful and for some reason my menopause induced insomnia is gone.
This weekend we are at our cabin. Hopefully fishing and jamming out on the guitar and banjo. If the burn ban is lifted, I’ll be placing that journal in a kettle and burning it. My last step in letting it go. Hopefully now I can get back to the fun stuff of writing jokes.
Have a great weekend you guys.