Bonita’s story is at once painful and inspiring. I thank her tremendously for sharing her raw truth, and admire her for practicing love in the face of all that pain. If you are called to share YOUR story, you can find details (scroll down to end!) at this link: http://www.insearchofdessert.com/?page_id=9624
At first, I told Jessica that I had many ”Trauma to Truth” stories I could tell. So many I could almost write a book. It’s true. It is really true. My life has been riddled with pain and trauma. For today, I am going to share one of my stories. If I can help just one person out there, that will be enough. That will be enough.
photo by Bonita Rose
I was an unwanted child. My parents told me this as a child, and I continued to hear it, even as an adult. I was told over and over again, how I was a mistake, if my mom had never been irresponsible and gotten pregnant, their lives would have taken different roads. Better roads. Hearing them tell it like that, had a profound impact on my self-esteem and my reason for living.
I walked through life believing I was worthless. Why was I here? I was a mistake. My own parents told me I messed up their lives, and it’s no wonder I’m an only child and have no siblings. They had me and that was enough they said. My childhood was lonely and my teenage years were filled with rebellion and promiscuity.
I will never forget something that happened to me when I was in the 5th grade, when I was only 11 years old. My friend Linda and I were working together on a Science project, and she was to come to my house on the weekend so we could work on it together. I rode my bike to the local convenience store to meet her, so then we could ride back to my house together on our bikes. My mom was working at the time in a retail store, so she wasn’t home, but my father who was a teacher, was. I left my home to meet my friend.
I met her but on the way back, I started having really bad menstrual cramps. Really bad. I couldn’t ride my bike, it hurt too much. So we got off our bikes, and we walked the bikes side by side, back to my house. It took us longer than we thought since we walked back and didn’t ride, and I remember coming into my home with my friend. I explained to my father what had happened in front of her. I’ll never forget his reaction. Never.
He yelled at me, berated me in front of my friend. Called me a liar. Told me I was just a mistake, probably getting in trouble, and in his opinion, I was probably fooling around with boys and I just got my friend here to cover for me. I was aghast. Floored. I couldn’t believe he was accusing me of what he was accusing me of. He called me all sorts of bad names, and demanded my friend Linda leave. I was in tears and she left. I will never forget how my own father made me feel that day. I will never forget.
He made me feel dirty, like I had no reason to live. He made me feel I was just trash, just a mistake. He didn’t really listen or show me any compassion that day whatsoever. He never believed my story. He thought I was making it all up. I retreated to my room in tears.
I couldn’t believe my parent, my father – wouldn’t show any compassion for me. That he wasn’t concerned for my health. Instead, he called me a liar. And worse. He didn’t listen to me that day. He didn’t hear me. He treated me in such a horrible way, but yet, to him, it was all justified. I was left feeling so lost and confused.
Not surprisingly, I struggled as a child and a teenager with my self-worth. Fast forward to now. Growing up as a young adult, I was often made to feel unworthy. Not valuable. Too sensitive, like anything I felt or had to say wasn’t worth hearing. My father especially treated me like I was some school project waiting to be graded. And I never measured up. Never. I was always the thorn in his back. Always.
As an adult, I look back now and realize my parents did the best they could. I have forgiven them, but haven’t forgotten the pain. The truth and the knowledge I gained from this experience and others has been invaluable. Because of that incident and others, I try now to really pause and sincerely listen to my friends and others around me. I look in their eyes. I try hard to show them empathy. To really put myself in their place. I don’t half listen to what others are telling me. I fully listen. I look into their eyes. I don’t assume. I don’t pretend to know what they are feeling.
I remember all too well what it was like to always be told I was too sensitive, like how I felt and what I had to say didn’t matter. I remember those feelings all too well. It’s one reason now, as a mother to my two teenage daughters — I always let them know I am here. I am here to listen. I want to know how they are feeling. What they are thinking.
I don’t want to shut out my kids the way I was shut out as a child. It is one of the worst feelings in the world to feel insignificant, to feel that you don’t matter, to feel that you are worthless.
I’ve grown up to applaud my sensitivity.
I’ve grown up to be a caring, kind, loving woman. A loving mother.
I would do anything for my daughters. Anything.
No one deserves to be made to feel worthless.
No one. No one.
Bonita Rose is a creative, inspiring woman in her early 50s, living her dream on the beach in Ormond By The Sea in FL USA. She shares her life with her wonderful husband Greg and their dog, Angel. Her passions include photography, jewelry design, anything colorful, and spending hours by the beach hearing the roar of the ocean.