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Monday, April 7, 2008

Being Samantha

(Warning: this is one of those posts in which I will say whatever I want. Some of what I say could be crass or ugly or uncomfortable. Yeah--just like always...)

I have a number of things to say today, the first of which is that at some point I have to figure out that triple chocolate cookies for breakfast, regardless of how delicious, do not provide adequate nutrition for the most important meal of the day. Fortunately, I choose to indulge after my children leave for school, having inside them a meal consisting of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and at least 5 grams of fiber, vitamin D fortified milk (or calcium enriched rice milk, or lowfat yogurt), and 100% orange or grapefruit juice. Never let it be said that my children do not eat healthy meals. Moving on...

The next thing I want to talk about has no magical moment in which it came about, but rather has been approaching for a very long time. I'm not sure I'll even be able to describe it adequately, but I will definitely make the attempt because, for me, this is rather important. You see, I've finally made it. Really. Not sort of almost there and tomorrow I'll be in despair again because my life is not what I want it to be. I'm there. I am me.

I'm understanding that there is a lot to me, much of which I have yet to discover, but I am finally comfortable in my own skin. In my super secret blog I remember writing a year ago, following my meeting with the cousin who abused me:

Monday, March 19, 2007

I want to be clean. There is a desperate compulsion to scrub myself forever. I know I can't. I want to.

There have been times when I have found clippers and snipped away bits of me. The bleeding and pain don't seem to register. I know they're there. I'm not stupid.

I thought when I saw him that he would be normal--that the filth which seems embedded in me would be unreasonable--that I would be able to move past this. It wasn't so. It feels worse.

My sweet friend held me. I feel terribly guilty about that. He has touched that which is unclean.

My wonderful husband touches me. I want him to. I don't want him to. I am the evil gift.

I have looked at the face of the person who made me broken.

I want to remove my skin.

I post this, not because I want to share the misery I felt last year, but because I don't feel that way any longer. The agony and uncleanness I felt then were absolutely real. They permeated every part of my life. They kept me from forming real relationships with people--I would cling desperately, then push away with all my might because I loved my friends and family and I didn't want to taint them in any way. All that is gone.

I am finally realizing what it is to be me. Today I have felt, without reservation, gratitude that I was born. That has not happened before in my memory. And so, I am listing what it is that makes me happy to be me:
1. I see beauty--in my surroundings, in words and music, in people. I always have--even when I could not see it in myself. If I love you, you are one of the most beautiful people in the world. I see it in your eyes, your actions, your words. I have always seen beauty (even in the mudguys lying on the road--come on! you have to admit he was stunning!).
2. I make music--in all that has happened to me, I have never stopped singing. I have pursued my ability and obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano performance, and theory and composition. On Mother's Day I will perform an ensemble concert with three friends (one of whom is a former student)--our page turners will be my sweet son, DJ and wonderful friend, Sully. You should come. It will be worth it.
3. I love people--even though for most of my life my instinct was to never allow myself to love, I could not help it. Love seems to just happen in my life and I am powerless against it. I used to view that as a weakness, one that would eventually destroy me. I now view it as one of my greatest strengths and the key reason that I have become the person I am. I used to hope that my love could change situations, people, me...I guess I thought that somehow it was magic...Now I realize that if it changes no one else, it changes me daily for the better. I can never stop loving people.
4. I laugh--sometimes inappropriately, but we all have our weaknesses, right? Life has always seemed to bring me joy and laughter. Someone said to me once that if she had met the challenges I have, she would have taken her own life. I will admit to seriously considering that route and even attempting it on occasion. But life is so beautiful and mine has had so much joy to balance the pain. I want to stay forever, running every morning, smelling the flowers on my dining room table, watching the wildflowers bloom on the prairie, planting my haphazard herb/flower/tomato garden, playing with my children and friends, loving my husband, serving my God. And through it all, I will laugh because it makes me feel wonderful--and because life truly is very funny.
5. I learn--I have always been curious. I someday want to know everything. Tolkien Boy has complained that sometimes he feels he is more of a "project" than a friend. I can't help it--I ask him (and everyone else in my life) questions about life, food, feelings, illness, humor, literature, fantasy,'s not that I believe they have all the answers, but they have their answers and I learn from their perspectives. I want to know how they think, what they feel, who they are inside. My questions are my way to understand what makes you the person you are--and I'm sorry if they sometimes seem calculated or insensitive, because that's not my intention. I just get a little bit focused on finding things out and forget that we're discussing things that might make you uncomfortable. In the end though, my entire goal is to help me know you in unique ways, so I hope you'll forgive me, and indulge me. Let me learn about you.

I suppose what I'm saying is this: There have been things in my life that I would give away in an instant. I don't want them anymore. At one point I clung to them because I was unsure what would happen if I no longer had them. That was scary. Today, I realize they make me less of who I truly am. They were inflicted upon me. I did not choose them. I will not choose them today. I will not forget what happened. I will not forget the pain they have caused. I will not forget because I want to be sure I do all I can to keep those events from occurring in the lives of my children and loved ones. But remembering does not mean I must agonize, or believe I am less of a person for enduring them.

What I will say now will have significance only to me, and to those who believe as I do. But I must say this because it is important to me. I did it. For two years I worked through all that was necessary so that I would be able to kneel before my Savior and allow him to lift my burden. I was humbled in many ways so that I would be able to acknowledge his sacrifice for me, and accept it with gratitude. I worked--please do not misunderstand and think this was easy, for it was not--to place myself in a position emotionally and mentally where I could be healed.

And so today I can say that my life is better--I am better. I can't explain all that has happened, but it was very real. The Atonement is a phenomenon that defies explanation, and yet is simple enough for mere mortals to apply it in their lives (although, if you're anything like me, it might take a few years). I will add that much of the workings of the Atonement came through the love and care of people who wished to help me, who reached out when I desperately needed support, and who stayed when I was less than accommodating. I don't know what motivated them to lend support--but I will always be grateful, and I believe Christ is grateful to them, as well. For he said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these (that would be me) my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

I am Samantha. I believe that's a pretty good thing to be. It took me a long time to get here. I think I'll stay awhile.

Roll credits.


  1. I'm so, so happy for you. This is wonderful.

  2. feeling comfortable in your own skin is a very nice place to be. enjoy...

  3. I am so very, very happy for you. :-)