She Is Enough, She is Perfect

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail


Trigger Warning: Mention of sexual assault and suicidal ideation

***

I was born needing to be fixed. They didn’t have the fancy ultrasounds forty-some years ago, so I came out bloody and ready to breathe life into the world—except I could barely breathe. I was born disfigured; my lip was attached to the bottom of my nose and the roof of my mouth was exposed. I have only seen one or two baby pictures of me. No one wants pictures of a child they need to renovate.

She asked me if I saw her. If I have ever really seen her. Staring in the mirror. Tracing the scars with her fingertips over her lip. Over and over again. Trying to find the beginning and the end. 

***

In eighth grade my parents let me choose whether I wanted to continue at the Catholic High School or switch to the public school. I chose the public school after attending one of the epic dances that were held at the end of the year. I put on my two-piece wool dress I borrowed from my friend’s mom because I was bigger than those around me. It was pastel and looked fantastic with my baby blue rimmed glasses. I was a looker. 

Did I mention it was May? May in Michigan can either be 22 °F (-5 °C) or 80°F (26 °C). That year it was 80. So I stood against the wall the entire evening with sweat running down my back into my mother’s pantyhose. It was the end of my career as a private school girl.  

She asked me if I ever danced with her. If I’ve ever really let her dance. Freely let her move. Her whole body. Her curves that take up space and create life. If I let her free.

***

The lawyer said later that they believed him. They believed him more than they believed me. He said I shouldn’t have been there. I shouldn’t have worn what I did. I shouldn’t have said yes. In that case, no didn’t mean no. Apparently, you can’t hear no when your penis says yes.

Not guilty.

I remember distinctly when the judge came back with the verdict.

I was confused. I thought it was my fault.

After all, I was 14 years old—a young girl who had braces, and was trying to figure out how to get contacts in her eyes and how to open her locker combination at the new high school. 

Shame had been waiting for me to wrap it around myself for years and from then on it cloaked me. Somehow what I had been wearing, where I was, and what I had said made this judge decide my truth was not to be trusted. 

She asked me if I heard her. If I have ever really heard her. She cried herself to sleep at night. She felt silenced by the fears of him..  The #MeToos would stay quiet for years.  

***

The box said two blue pills would be enough. Any more than four a day would cause damage. So if I took five in the morning and five at night. Maybe there was enough time in between … it could be fine. Maybe my body could forget. 

But bodies never forget. 

Until the night the boy who sang songs for Jesus said we couldn’t talk anymore. I didn’t know Jesus like he needed me to. Perhaps thirty pills can make it stop.

She asked me if I fed her. That morning when the church bells rang, shame answered back. The thirty pills made her numb, but it also made her heart stop. When black charcoal covered her paper-thin gowned chest that Midwestern February morning, the fluorescent lights hid nothing but the truth. She wondered and asked, “Will Jesus ever see me?”

***

Twenty years have passed and I can still taste the charcoal in my mouth when I swallow most days. That’s what trauma does. It remains with you. It protects you. It covers you. It reminds you of where you have been.

Recently I shared with my therapist that I was tired of being reminded of where I had been and what I had walked through. I was exhausted from the amount of trauma we were continually uncovering. Didn’t I sign up in the Christian world to have it all washed away? Wasn’t my old life gone? Wasn’t I a new creation?

Then my therapist told me, “You never had to be made new. There was never anything to fix.”

The wilderness—this is where all of your stories come together. You never had to be a new creation. You were perfect from the beginning. 

***

“When you believe your worth, the universe moves.”- The Angry Therapist/John Kim

She is moving. I can feel her move. At 44 years old, the damn universe is moving. And she is angry. She is done with being silenced, and being told she was not born perfect. 

She is

Holy.

Good.

Fierce.

Strong. As. Hell. 

She is enough. 

She asked if I was brave enough now to name her. To claim who she had become. 

I am strong because

Every wound that was meant to break me

Tethered me closer to the earth

To feel her breathe,

The sky to feel her weep,

The wind to feel her change,

The sun to hear her rise,

The moon to see her shine,

The ocean to fear her rage,

The forest to ache for her calm,

The fire to know her name. 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Sheli Massie

Sheli Massie

Sheli Massie is a story keeper, seeker of justice, healing and hope in a broken world. She believes in longer tables, unlocked doors and living a barefoot life. She is currently working with her community to create an inclusive place for all to gather and be fed under the direction of OWEE called @thegoldfinchcafe. A "pay what you can" cafe where dignity is restored and communities can be healed. She and her husband live outside of Chicago with their five children and one grandlove. You can find her over on Instagram @shelimassie_, Redbud Writers, HopeWriters, and her website.
Sheli Massie

Latest posts by Sheli Massie (see all)

Sheli Massie