My bully’s name was Bart, a name that still brings a bad taste to my mouth whenever I hear it. He used to sit in a certain section of the school hallway with his friends, and they would yell at people, mostly girls, walking by. One of the teachers told me this was sexual harassment and I should report it to administration. I’m unsure why she couldn’t report it, but she said the report had to come from a student.
I avoided that section of hallway for four years.
“Hey, Esther?” Bart’s voice was softer than usual. He was somehow…
“The flowers are beautiful,” I read aloud.
“Wait,” my mom said. “What was that last word?”
“Beautiful,” I repeated.
“How on earth did you know that?”
I shrugged. I had no idea. The letter combination on the page had just looked right to me.
I was four years old.
I was seven when I read my first novel, Anne of Green Gables. I adored the story of a red-haired girl who loved to read, and I went on to devour all the other books in the series.
Throughout elementary and high school, I always always got 100% on every single…
I cried, “Who nailed him there? This child of peace and mercy?
“Who nailed him there? Come and face me like a man!
“Who nailed him there?” Then the crowd began to mock me.
I cried, “Oh my God, I just don’t understand!”
Then I turned and saw the hammer in my hand.
-Ray Boltz, “The Hammer”
I knelt at the front of the church, tears streaming down my cheeks. My mind was full of all the bad things I’d done that week. Every mean thought I’d had, every cruel word I’d spoken, every sexual feeling I’d had, it was…
A little caterpillar on a blade of grass
She noticin’ the days going by so fast
She’s a lovely little lady
She’s looking for a room
She’s weavin’ and spinnin’ out a fine cocoon
Why it didn’t take long ’til she saw the sky
Spread your wings you butterfly
-Barry McGuire, “Bullfrogs and Butterflies”
“Jesus, please come into my heart.” I was sitting on the “potty chair” in the bathroom in my parents’ log house in Pinanatan, British Columbia. I whispered the words of this prayer and then went and told my parents. I was two years old. …
Arrogantly prancing, hands held high
Draped in a sparkling shroud
Trolled by demons, Satan ascended from Hell
-The Champion, Carman
The actors danced on the church’s stage, circling each other, fists up and ready. One wore glittery red horns that curved above his head and a long black sequined cape over red satin shorts, while the other was draped in a white sheet that wrapped around his body like a toga. The music swelled as the one in white took a vicious jab to his side and fell in a heap, white fabric falling around his body like a cloud.
I had long curly red hair all through my teens and twenties. It was my signature; it was how people recognized me.
My hair nearly glowed it was so bright, and the frizzy curls tended to give me a halo. It looked great when it was a good hair day, and I got so many compliments from strangers as well as friends.
But it was so much work.
If I didn’t wash and condition it regularly, and use tons of gel or mousse, the frizz would quickly get out of control. Combing (never brushing) was always a workout with all…
I spent so many years inside
Beliefs that served as my cocoon.
It’s all I knew, so I assumed
Deceit was all that lay outside.
Then, to my surprise,
I slowly melted
But I didn’t know
That I had wings
’Til they burst free.
And now I stand, with debris strewn,
Remains of where I tried to hide
Revealing every time they lied
And held me back. But now I bloom.
I leap into the unknown,
Shedding chains of fear;
I will not be held again.
I am me
And this is who I am.
I am free.