in need of a faith lift

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I am awake. Wide awake. This is what’s on my mind:

I remember something my mom said to me when I was a little girl.
I was tiny and little and I thought my mother was God, or at the very least, related to God, and my ice cream cone was dripping all over me and on the car’s upholstery – new car, new upholstery – and she turned, and screamed at me, SCREAMED AT ME: “look at you, what an ugly mess you’re making, you are not my child, no, and I just want you to know that I can return you to the gypsies that left you on the doorstep. just look at you.” i was a little girl mess. ice cream on my nose and chin and on my clothes and up until that moment, i was such a happy little girl mess. but then she yelled at me. making me sad, and ashamed, and took away all the joy out of that little girl messy moment. she did not talk to me for hours and hours. i was messy, and messing up her new car. whenever I did something she didn’t like, or didn’t approve of, or annoyed the shit out of her, she would say awful awful horrible things to me. I would cry, and shrink inside. I would lose a piece of myself, and her words and her actions replaced any good I felt about myself.

Her disapproval – that voice – replaced any sense of self I had.

Penn State. Children. Abuse. Violation.
Grown ups. Little boys.
Fear, pain, silence, being quiet, keeping quiet, saying nothing, cowering.
I think about little girls who are coddled, and wooed, and promised candy and dresses and nights out, and days away.
I think about little boys who are promised scholarships, money, cars, toys, God’s love and approval.
I think about how this happens all the time.
All the time. Everyday. Someone somewhere is getting hurt, abused, raped; told to keep quiet, shhhhhhh, god will punish you. SHHHHHHHH.
Remember this is our secret.
You know what happens when you keep secrets?


We find corners to hide in.
And bad friends to play with.
And drugs to take, and alcohol to drink.
And… we believe we’re bad, so we make bad awful shitty choices.

I think about my mom, and how she always said, “children should be seen and NOT heard.”
Children should be seen and not heard.
Not fucking heard.

No wonder.
No wonder we have reality shows like toddlers and tiaras.

We, all of us, we need to start listening, and we need to be heard.
We need to come out of our closets, cocoons, safe houses… and we need to stop this violence, this abuse, this that is causing so much pain and shame and hurt and sadness and fear, and self-hatred and self-loathing.
We need to break the silence. crush it.
We need to be the voices for these children.
Our children.
A strangers child.

School. Church. Cars.
Backyards, showers. Bedrooms.
Organized religions, organizations, gyms, home.
Fathers, uncles, coaches, priests, rabbis, teachers, the kind quiet man next door, the family friend with a promise of a ride in his convertible.

Children – little boys and little girls – wooed and forced into doing sad, sorry, painful, god awful things. God. Awful. Things.
A promise of toys and gifts and good times. Lots. And Lots. Of. Good. Times.
Men who are bigger, and stronger and more powerful. They. Are. Bigger. Stronger. More Powerful.

Do not say a word.
Our secret.

Their silence, their cowering, their shame, their fear, their crying, their weight loss, their weight gain, their sad eyes, their walking alone, their head hanging down, becoming loners, their words, their art, the songs they no longer sing, the cars they no longer want to get into, the men they no longer want to be alone with.

Hear that.
Pay attention.
It’s what they are not saying that needs to be heard.

“Please,” they’re saying, “Please, please, please, please… stop the hurt.”

Category: Uncategorized 11 comments »

11 Responses to “in need of a faith lift”

  1. Hollye Dexter

    Beautiful words from a beautiful heart.
    I love you, happy messy girl.
    And we’re listening…

  2. Madgew

    Amen to that sister. We all our responsible for watching, listening and taking action. It works and really helps the child, the teen, the adult and the elderly. Take a listen and reach out.

  3. Iris

    I hear you, Amy. You have so much of worth to tell us, and in SUCH a voice. Thank you.

  4. Debra DeAngelo

    WONDERFUL column. And, that little girl is being heard loud and clear now, and we are all the better for I! And I love you so much, I would give you ice cram in my car JUST to get it messy! XOXOXO

  5. Judy Becker

    -Amy this hit me home right to the heart…it’s the pain of that internal silence that is gut wrenching. To grow up believing that no one wants to hear what I have to say, hearing why do you have to talk so much?Why do you want to go out afterschool to play with your friends when you see them all day long in school.
    Well, maybe it’s because once school was over, there was no one to be with, to talk with. Someone who “saw” me.

    To go thru different abuses that cut into my soul and not know til decades later that it wasn’t my fault…that sent my very being into some dark emotional cave daring not to venture out.

    The hair stands up on the back of my neck whenever I hear in the store an adult berating a child…it’s so sad to see “that” look in the child’s eyes…I look at the child and give a great big smile, sometimes blow a kiss…anything to spark a sign of response.

    Children are our most precious resource, to be cherished, protected and most importantly loved. Let no person put them asunder-nevermore.

    I am sharing your beautiful message on my wall so others who may have gone thru something similar will know they are not alone and are very much loved even though we have met in person.

    Facebook has given me the fantastic opportunity to “emotionally” meet people, to heal a little & to learn to connect & love more.

    Thank you, your f/b friend Judy,,,<3

  6. Lisa Work

    Thank you for your strong, vibrant voice of truth about the real ugly messes. Love to you, Amy!

  7. Vickie Stahl

    We must all listen, be nosy, interfere and speak up when something seems off. The children must be heard and looked after. Speak up messy Amy as only you can. You make us all listen and want to make a difference.

  8. sheana ochoa

    As I was reading your last post I was thinking how could someone say these words to a little defenseless kid? I know if happens all the time, but I have a 3 year old and I wouldn’t dare say things like that to him. If this is autobiographical, I’m so sorry you went through that and I want to kick your mom’s butt! And now you can help others. There’s the silver lining.

  9. Debbie

    I UNDERSTAND. COMPLETELY. And I wish I didn’t. We’re born. We’re whole. And then something happens to us and we’re covered in shame. And it takes YEARS, a lifetime, to even begin to overcome it.
    I agree wholeheartedly and until society stops protecting the predator, there will continue to be many, many victims. Molesters/rapists do not perform their deeds in public … they do it behind garages and even in our own homes.


  10. Judy N

    Goes right to the heart.

  11. kristine

    my heart has been so heavy since this story broke…and it seems that each day the list of victims grows. I know from my own dark corners, that secrets can destroy a child. being overpowered in any way, can destroy the innocence forever.
    I am so very very sorry that during your growing up years your ever felt anything but PRIZED! But somehow, you have taken what you learned and are teaching others to speak up, to do the right thing, to have an opinion when people are suffering.
    Thank you for your courage, AGAIN…and for turning the lights on so many of our own dark corners.

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