It’s About Darn Time. My Friends Are Going To Love The Real Me!
I was recently at the beach with a group of buddies I’ve been friends with for thirty-five years. They are a good group of friends and we have been doing this guy’s weekend for twenty-eight years. Over those years, we’ve shared a lot together…. graduations, jobs, marriages, promotions, career changes, kids, divorces, and deaths. We’ve seen each other at our best and our worst.
So, while I hugged my friends and we smiled while sharing some pleasantries, I couldn’t help being reminded that none of these guys knew I was molested for seven years as a child. And while I thought about telling them over the weekend, I decided not to. I prefer to have those conversations one by one with each of my friends. They all have unique roles in my story, so with the one-on-one interaction, I can tailor my words to each.
Normal, Here I Come!
The group played a big part in my journey because I became friends with them as I transitioned from middle school to high school. I fought my way away from my monster when I was in seventh grade. As I put him in my rear-view mirror, my only two wishes at that time were to bury that experience as far down as possible and go try to be a normal fucking teenager.
At the time, I hated who I was during those molestation years. I was ashamed of the decisions I made. I felt I was culpable in my actions. I wanted a chance at a fresh start. I wanted a chance to be normal.
Time To Turn on The Charm
I begged my mother to send me to a high school out of our area. There was a prep school about twenty-five miles away known for its academic excellence. I convinced my mother that I wanted to go there for superior education. That was bullshit. I wanted to go there to reinvent myself with a new group of people.
I knew my mother was vulnerable to this type of messaging. I appealed to her emotions. When my father died and left her penniless years earlier, my mother busted her ass to provide for my brother and me. That was her version of stepping it up for her kids. She wanted my brother and me to have the better things in life and she was determined to give us the opportunity. Mom would have worked ten jobs to send me to a prep school, so she figured out a way to provide for it.
New Friends, New Me
Only a few kids from our area went to the school, so it was a great opportunity to leave that weak, stupid, naive little kid version of myself behind and reinvent myself. They wouldn’t know me as this shy, unconfident and awkward little boy. Looking back, it saddens me to realize I had little respect for who I was at the time and no respect for my journey.
In many ways, I hated who I was, and I was determined to be different. I wanted a new beginning. Fuck, I wanted to be normal with every fiber of my being.
Yellow School Bus Confidence
I met these friends on a yellow school bus that traveled to our region and picked students up in a number of surrounding neighborhoods and traveled for the thirty-minute drive to the high school. I made connections right away. I gave so much thought to my reinvention that I was able to raise enough situational confidence to pull it off.
No one suspected I was damaged goods. I was able to be much bolder with these guys and I discovered my inner comedian. A few of us quickly became good friends and were inseparable for many years. We remain close today. One of the guys is my daughter’s godfather.
New Me, Or So I Thought
My effort was a success. I made it to the inner circle. I believed I became a new me. The truth is, I was always this person. My monster was in my head to such a great extent, he had me doubting who I really was. Abuse is exhausting, mentally and physically. He fucked with my self-confidence so much he crushed part of me.
With these new friends in my corner, it was easier to turn the page. They helped me so much because we actually cared for each other, and they valued my friendship. It’s hard to envision people liking you when you don’t like yourself much. Their interest in my friendship made me revisit my relationship with myself.
Maybe I’m Not So Bad
I have a much better perspective today, but back then I was in my head with constant negative self-talk. I’m really grateful I had these guys who unknowingly helped lighten my heavy emotional baggage and allowed me to enjoy being me again.
We all need good people in our lives. I wasn’t ready to share my full story with others back then but, I sure am glad I was smart enough to seek out good people in my life.
Driven By Purpose
That’s what makes this year so different from the previous twenty-seven. I’ve grown so much over the past seven years, especially the last two. I have such great clarity and feel driven by a purpose to own who the fuck I really am.
Until I own who I am with the people closest to me, I am limited in the help I can provide others like me.
It’s Finally Time to Share With My Friends
These guys know me better than ninety-five percent of the people in my life and they have no idea of my past struggle. I now see my abuse as such a big influence in my life that it saddens me that they don’t know it. It reminds me of how far I buried that part of my life for so many years.
When I met these friends, I could have never imagined sharing my story with them. Things have changed and now I have more layers I will show them. I am the kind, loyal and funny friend they met so many years ago and I am so much more. I am also drawn to a higher responsibility. It’s my calling to help others find freedom from their monsters
Setting The Boy Free
I will have my conversations with my friends over the next few weeks. I feel like I have this beautiful little boy inside of me pounding the doors trying to get out. The time is here to set him free.
I trust they will be supportive. I trust these new truths will only help them to think higher of their friend. I’m sure they will question how they didn’t know and how I kept a secret all that time. I’m starting to grow used to those responses. It’s part of the acceptance process when someone you think you know well hits you with something heavy like this that you didn’t see coming.
Being Me With My Friends
Who knows? Maybe it will even help give them context for my strong values and actions over the years. Whatever their response is, I can handle it. If it’s less than supportive, I can live with that too. I’m comfortable with who I am. In the end, that’s what really matters most. Time to get to work!
I look forward to our collective sharing and growth together as thrivers!
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The Sunrise Warrior
I am a man living with his family in the suburbs of a metropolitan city. I have five bicycles in my shed, a basketball net in the backyard, and two vehicles in the driveway including a kick-ass minivan. I am a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. I am a business owner recognized as a leader in my field. I am an entrepreneur in search of opportunity in each situation. I am a passionate volunteer for a number of worthy causes. Read More