My story begins at a fracture point in childhood. There was a crescendo of events which eventually lead to me writing over and over, "I HATE MYSELF," in a journal. I had assumed responsibility for an error in being born. It was an imagined error, obvious to a young mind stretching to cope with a broken household.
I lived with my Mother and Stepfather with weekend visits to my Stepmother and Father two hours away. It was almost like living in two different worlds. In one world I witnessed constant arguing and suffered under the thumb of emotional abuse. In another world I was...a kid. There were times when I cried on the way back from weekend visits.
So one day after scribbling my daily mantra in a journal, I wrapped a plastic bag around my head and tied it with intentions of killing myself. There was a very deep sob and so much sorrow behind it that vomited from my mouth. I was done. Something moved me to take the bag off though, and whether it was the body's natural reflex or something else, I leaned back against my bed and decided to close my heart.
I decided never to be hurt again.
It's no wonder that some years later I'd feel trapped by a prison of my own design. It felt like a little boy was on an island by himself, guarded by an array of magical creatures, while waiting deep inside a dungeon. This feeling caked over well into adulthood. The only thing that could get through was death.
My best friend was hit by a train in ninth grade. His death pierced through thick layers of determination to thwart off feeling and I shut down under the weight of unbearable loss. It was in that experience though after weeks of staying in bed that I touched a twinkle of inspiration. Somehow I knew that everything was okay. There was something in me that was much stronger than the sorrow and years of pain I had tried to ignore. It was bigger than any dreams I had at the time. It was an unshakable resolve, alive and deeply compassionate. I wanted to tell as many people as possible and, having grown up spending a lot of time in the church, I became fascinated with becoming a preacher.
My work in the church as a teenager and young adult is directly connected to the values of my inner child. Somehow I became a youth leader and was eventually asked to help build a youth program for ten to thirteen year olds. This began a completely new chapter in my life where I started listening to the eight year old.