It’s okay to feel, you know. Sometimes feeling the emotions, with God there next to you, helps.

The first friend? I kept every email of his, for several years. I’d caught his eye, or something. It was probably at the play where I wore a beautiful lavender dress, and choreographed a dance and some words in Gaelic (to add to my script). Before me, it was someone else. Him picking me was a mistake, and what led to me getting hurt emotionally.

He was very possessive. That’s a bad story in and of itself.

I can still picture his face, when I told him I liked him. There was pleasure in it for him, and then he told me he didn’t want me. I was something to use, and that was it. We did some theater together. I pretended he didn’t exist, when we were on stage together, so I could focus on what I was supposed to do. He was intent on doing the whole “smiling at her” thing.

He didn’t start the hurtful stuff until later. By the time I cut him out of my life, I was in such severe emotional pain that I never wanted to get married. To me, he was the destroyer. It’s almost like they enjoy hurting you. That’s where I started having issues with boundaries, and men keeping their word. He disrespected every boundary I gave him, and did not keep his word. I think that’s a portion of where my panic attacks come from. The rest comes from that WWU class.

The emotional pain was like not being able to breathe.

One day it was especially bad. I think that was after his dad called our home. I went to my teaching job at Classical Conversations. I taught the kids bird song (especially the robin’s song. They all liked that one). I brought seashells, and helped teach them the names of them. I read stories like “The Brave Tin Soldier” and “The Little Mermaid.” I was being sappy, and feeling sappy, as I read those ones. One of the older students, a girl from (South America?) smiled at me, because I’m a hopeless romantic (and it’s fairly obvious). I took the kids outside to play, and bundled one of the two-year-olds in my green trenchcoat when she said she was cold, and I picked her up and carried her on my hip, and pretended I was a mother. I was nineteen. This summer at VBS (she’s much older now), she asked me why my hair was so long. So, I smiled and told her why (kid-level).

It takes time, to work through feelings, I think. Going there with God helps too. He loves you so much. People can be really, really hurtful. It’s evil and wrong though. It’s evil.

Love isn’t like that. It is gentle and good.

Because of the verbal abuse, I am very careful with my words. If you hit a landmine, I went off and took care of it with God. I didn’t want to hurt you like I’d been hurt, because I know the power of words.