There are people who’ve stripped me of my innocence. Not all of it, but a lot.
They were gentle at first. I believed their intentions were good. I didn’t feel the skin slowly peeling off my bones. They ripped it. Methodically, bit by bit. Painfully. I believed that pain was normal.
One day I looked up in the mirror and saw it. The way shreds of flesh hung off my crooked frame, the way my skin was red and raw and hurting. And they did that, yes.
But I helped them. I was the killer, too.
I didn’t see innocence as a precious treasure. I saw it as a burden; an ugly betrayal of a naivety that didn’t fit in this world.
And so I helped them do it. Peel back all the layers. Expose my insides. And I didn’t know how much it would hurt.
I stopped being a little girl. Tearful poison spilled from eyes that once brimmed with trust. I wouldn’t let them near. And I wouldn’t let HIM near.
How could I?
My glorious, loving, heavenly father let me down. He let them get to me.
And so I cowered in shame. I hid my face in bitterness. I couldn’t be that little girl again, twirling with my papa in cornfields of innocence. The dress was torn, anyway. I lost the dancing shoes.
And I didn’t want to be held by someone who let me walk through all that pain.
Oh, I could still speak Christian-ese fluently. You don’t lose a language like that. I shook hands and smiled gracefully and offered prayers. I shared stories and spoke encouragement and stacked chairs.
They couldn’t see the pain beneath my eyelids. They didn’t hear the tremor in my voice when I spoke of His goodness. They didn't notice how I never called Him ‘father’.
Somewhere in my intestines I felt a cavernous gnawing. I dreamed of the cornfields. I longed for that fatherly embrace. But people aren’t perfect. They hurt me. And of course He would, too.
So I patched up the leaks with kisses and attention. With dizzy heads and flashing lights. I wanted to feel something. But all I felt was used. Forgotten. Damaged. Replaceable. Stained. Overlooked. Worthless.
Oh, sweet one. I see you. Let me dry your tears.
No. You let me down. Where were you?
Right here, my precious girl.
Here? In the darkness? You saw it all?
I have been with you always, my daughter. Even then.
But why didn’t you stop me?
Because I do not control your stubborn heart, darling girl.
But when you saw me there — in the darkness. What did you do?
I wept for you, my beautiful girl. And I called for you to come home.
I’m tainted now. Scarred. I can’t be yours again.
You are my beloved. And you are pure and exquisite in my eyes.
I don’t know where to go. I’m just so tired of it all.
Come home to me, my precious girl.
I can’t. I don’t know how.
Just come. As you are.
To read the second part of my journey: 2. Twirling in Cornfields
Photo credits -
Photography: Mario Ruiz
Wedding dress: Japon Vintage Trouwjurken
Location: Pacaya Volcano National Park, Guatemala