Badass Adult Me on the Scene
This post is part two of the first lesson outlined by Dr. Edith Eger in her book, The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life. I posted part one of the same lesson yesterday. In this part of the lesson, my badass adult self goes back in time and rescues my younger self. In the beginning, I was skeptical about whether it would make me feel better. I do feel better. It is the beginning of owning my life.
Neon Ice Cream Cone
We take the long way to the local soft-serve ice cream place. My father will come up with any reason to go by the community college that he works at, I think. It makes him feel important. He is rambling, telling me about how great everyone thinks he is. If they only knew, I want to say. Instead, I look out the window. I watch the colors in the sky as sunset splashes colors across the sky.
As we get closer to the soft serve place, my mind shifts to focus on my future ice cream. I already know what I am going to get—a large twist with rainbow sprinkles. We are almost there. I know where my father should turn into the small parking lot. But he does not. Instead, he keeps driving. I am unsurprised and yet disappointed at the same time.
I keep my eyes staring out the window. I am confused. I watch the neon cone that sits atop the building get smaller and smaller in the side view mirror. Objects are closer than they appear, I read to myself. I wish. Hoping my father forgot to turn into the parking lot, I stutter out, “Um, Dad.” He turns to me; I can see his face reflected in the window. “It was closed, honey. I guess we didn’t get there in time.”
Nothing in my world is ever what it seems.
Just You and Me
When we drove past earlier, I could see the neon open sign in the window, the cars parked outside, other kids getting their ice cream. It seemed open to me. But I say nothing, except to ask, “Are we going home?” I am afraid of the answer. “No,” he responds, “I thought we could take a drive. Just you and me.” I see his reflection as he refocuses his attention on the road. My stomach turns. Yeah, just you and me.
We drive for a little bit. I am suddenly tired, and I want to go home. I may have suggested that. I don’t know. We end up on the edge of a field, tucked in on a logging road, hidden from the world. “See, isn’t this nice? Just the two of us.” He has turned the dome light on, illuminating the inside of the car.
I don’t look at him. I can’t. If I don’t look at him, then this won’t happen. I stare straight ahead; instead, I focus on the lettering on the glove box. C-H-E-V-R-O-L-E-T. I focus on each letter in turn. It seems horribly bright inside the car. I want to hide in the shadows, but there are none.
Badass Adult Me to the Rescue
At this point, badass adult me comes onto the scene. Adult me is walking along the logging roads. Apparently, adult me is out for a nighttime stroll. Adult me sees the car, a late 1970’s Chevrolet Blazer parked along the edge of a forest. The dome light is on, illuminating two people, a tall man, and a very young child. Adult me thinks, ‘I have been there.’ I am there.
Oh, hell no, not on my watch! I stride over to the car, pull the passenger door open. Glaring at the man, I take the girl’s (my) hand and pull her (me) from the passenger seat. She looks up in surprised gratitude. How many times had she (I) wished for someone to rescue her (me)? Too many to count. Now badass adult me will rescue her (I).
Never Mess with a Fighter
But I am not done. I tell the little girl (me) to wait towards the back of the truck. I will be right back. I go around to the driver’s side door. Yanking the door open, I reach in, pulling my father from the front seat. You MOTHERFUCKING PIECE OF SHIT! I scream at him. I throw him up against the side of the truck, and I punch him so hard and so fast over and over.
The solid sound of my fists hitting him is the most incredible sound I have ever heard. I am a boxer. I have been trained by the best. But never before has hitting someone felt so amazingly great! I feel eyes on me just as I am about to land another punch. I stop, fist in mid-air, turning to my right; I see the girl (me) peering around the side of the truck. Her (my) eyes are wide at the sight of her (my) father. He is now a bloody pulp whose face still looks like a person’s face—sort of.
Better Than Home
As our eyes meet, she (I) tentatively asks, “Are you taking me home?” Standing for a moment, I let my hands drop. Her (my) father slumps to the ground, no longer held up by the force of my punches. I think for a moment. To rescue her (me) from that monster only to send her back for more, different abuse from her (my) mother?
Turning to face her (me) entirely, I respond, “No, I am not taking you (me) home. I am taking you to a better place where you (I) are loved and cared for. You () will no longer need to cower in the shadows. You (I) will no longer need to try to make yourself (myself) as small as possible. You (I) will never feel unwanted and unworthy. Ever again.” She (I) walks towards badass adult me (future her). She (I) takes my (her) hand, together we turn and walk away.
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