One day I overheard a friend advise a young woman locked in prison that “Your past does not define you”. Her words made me recall the day I was sure I had found the definition of who I was. A punching bag, a convenient target, a scapegoat. You have pent-up anger, need to get out your frustration? That’s why I’m here.

Can  you see her? She’s overweight, with frizzy hair and the only one in her class wearing glasses. Yes, school was bad enough with its dreaded playground, but at the age of nine my parents decided to send me to day camp—another opportunity for their socially awkward kid to fit in.

It was at this day camp, one moment in time, where I had the revelation of who I was—the punching bag. I always lagged behind the other kids when it was time for the swimming pool. So ashamed of my body, the last thing I wanted was to undress in front of anyone—never never never! The day of clarity came when I emerged from the girls’ changing room feeling sorta safe—everyone should be in the water now and I could slowly walk out there in my bathing suit. I was wrong. Two boys, Paul Milkman and his best friend were still in the rec room. There they were by the ping pong table where I heard their loud voices, yelling at each other. Paul saw me as I saw him—his face was red and his eyes narrowed toward his friend with his hand balled up in a fist.

I never meant to be near them but somehow I ended up walking right past Paul and he took that hand he meant to hit his friend with, and instead slapped me hard on the face.

That was my defining moment. You need to vent your anger—hit the frizzy-haired  fat kid—that’s why she’s there. My parents tried forcing me back to camp the next day, but probably for the first time, their kid rebelled against them. I knew clearly who I was, but it didn’t mean I had to present myself as target practice for everyone.

By the time I was a young woman, even one who had slimmed down quite a bit and learned to tame her mane, and wear contact lenses, I still knew who I was. My choice of men was a clear indication of that. Years upon years of abuse, until the blessing came. From the One who created me, I received my true definition—the daughter of the King. And just like all others, including the ones who did the bullying, they, too, needed to humble themselves and bow before Him.

Only the One who created us has the right to define us.

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One Comment

  1. So sad but such a beautiful ending. I totally understand how you felt at “that same school.” I had frizzy hair, was way too skinny, and got picked on for being so square. Fortunately one day when I came home crying b/c someone had laughed at me, my mom told me it was a gift to make people laugh. That changed my life. I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t date, I was basically a “good person.” Then in college I too met the One who would change my life. I found out I wasn’t “good enough.” I still love to make people laugh, but now it’s more important to tell them about the One who loves them just the way they are. Only Jesus. Come as you are weary one and He will give you rest and eternal life.

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