In honor of our upcoming Gala, (there’s still time to get tickets), We are counting down our most popular Lovely Like Me stories of all time that highlight some of the work we do here at TLP.
These are real girls, real stories.
Sometimes it is so hard to tell a story you tried to keep quiet for soooo many years…
In my house you didn’t have a babysitter for the summer…you had grandma’s house with all of your cousins! It was the best. Until it wasn’t.
“The experts say” that at 10 years old you are on the “cusp of adolescence”. You are getting ready to go to middle school, beginning to reason and seeing the world with a broadened view. I was having my innocence stolen and developing a skewed view of my value.
I was the apple of my grandfather’s eye. My grandmother’s soft spot was the boys and his was me. If he went somewhere, I wanted to go. My spot at the dinner table was next to him. I always wanted to be near him. Until I didn’t.
I think one of the worst parts about it all was that no one noticed. No one noticed I didn’t want to be there anymore, I didn’t want to be near him anymore. I literally woke up one day and everything had changed. My insides were screaming, “What is wrong with you people?! Ask me what is wrong!”
We were on a week-long trip with the cousins at their house. We all played outside allllllll day. We had Nintendo but we chose the great outdoors for our battle games! This trip also marked the beginning of a new battle for me. One that would come back to affect me years later. All was normal and right in the world.
We were snuggling on the couch, relaxing after a long day of playing for me and working for him and watching a movie with my brother and cousin on the floor . This was common place – remember, it was my favorite place to be – until it wasn’t. Something was out of place. He began to put his hands in a place that no one’s hands should ever be on a 10 year old. My stomach twisted into knots. I froze and didn’t know what to do.
This was my grandpa.
My favorite person in the whole world.
What was he doing?
My mind began to race but I laid there frozen in time. I began to shift to try and “respectfully” change what was happening. He asked me if I was ok. Ok?!?! Are you kidding me?! However, I made some excuse that I didn’t feel well (truth) and needed to go to the bathroom. I got up and then when I was done politely let everyone know I was going to bed.
The next morning at breakfast no one noticed, at least they didn’t say anything, about me not sitting next to him. No one noticed that I didn’t want to do anything with him. No one noticed that I never chose to visit there again, a kids favorite place to be!
Had I imagined it? Had it even really happened? At 10 years old I shoved it down. I pushed those memories to a secret place.
One day I was invited to a Lovely Experience…some years later…10 years later. I had moved on. I had literally forgotten about that day… Until I remembered.
I was waiting in a line to talk to someone about my self image. I was waiting to talk to someone about how I looked to men for my value. I had “developed” a false statement in my head that said men would tell me my worth. That my body was a tool to seek pleasure. I was so messed up in the head about who I really was. I had never connected the dots until that moment. Why would I? I was molested at 10. I was a grown woman now. That happened so long ago.
But some Lovely women told me I was more than my past, worth more than what my body offered, that I was Lovely.
From that day on my life has been forever changed. It took some time to change my mind. But with the help of those Lovely women encouraging me, loving me, and speaking truth and life into me, I have remembered that I am Lovely. Now I help these same women help other women see they are Lovely too!
I was a broken little girl.
Now I am Lovely!