Bullies, Mean Girls, and Me

Written by Caitlyn Montoya. Posted in Blog

My dear daughter had her first experience with mean girls the other day. It had me feeling sick to my stomach as I was forced to remembered my days of being bullied and dealing with mean girls. I tried to remain calm, but every inch of me wanted to jump up and scream "I'll fight them for you baby girl", but let’s face it, me as a 30 year old mom beating up a couple of 6 year old girls is not realistic. Then there was the fact that if I took it personally she'd take it personally.

We talked over what happened in more detail, what does "they were mean to me" actually look like. We also talked about ugliness in actions being a heart problem, something inside of them that was ugly and that it had nothing to do with her. I wanted to emphasize the point that a few mean girls doesn't mean the M is worth anything less than when she walked in that day. We talked over some of her options, and the pros and cons of those choices. At one point M asked me if she had permission to be mean back to them. I tried not to cringe at her question and calmly discuss the pros and cons of that choice just as we had for her other choices. Ultimately she decided that would not be a good choice.

It's Nothing Personal

Written by Caitlyn Montoya. Posted in Journal

I don't often talk about the years my mother was married to #3. They were rough years and I often times "shut down" to survive some of the abuse. I did everything I could to erase the things that happened at home by being overly happy and hyper at school. I think I was in general a happy person and my zaney humor wasn't truly a deflection of anything, but it served it's purpose. This isn't really the story about avoidance or coping mechanisms it's the story of forgiveness, of how I learned to forgive the man that inflicted so much pain to me.

For years I danced around on my toes not sure what I would do that would set him off. When I would set him off I was left in a world of debris not sure what I had done or why he hated me so much. He'd take a load of horse manure and dump it on my freshly cleaned car, leave the tractor running outside my bedroom window when I had a paper due, hide the hay hooks and gloves so I'd have to move bales of hay around with my bare hands (I'm allergic to hay), etc. I was sure he was doing all of these things on purpose. My mom would yell at me for taking things personal. She would tell me I always assumed the worst in people.

The toughest letter

Written by Caitlyn Montoya. Posted in Journal

The events in this letter took place when I was in 3rd grade. It's a hard letter mostly because I have to acknowledge the events in it. They are things I wish I could erase entirely from my memory sometimes, but I can't. They are a part of my past, and for a long time I let them define me, but I can now face them without fear and condemnation because I know they don't define me.

Precious child,
I know the world is caving in around you right now. I know you don't understand what is going on though you'd like to think you do. Dad loves you and mom loves you, but they've got to sort through their lives and scars right now. I know you are being used as a weapon of distruction and misery but you are not the source of that misery.

The Split

Written by Caitlyn Montoya. Posted in Journal

We arrived home from school that day and excitement rippled through me to see dad's car already in the garage. He was home! I loved the days he didn't work overtime or the days he had off because I got to spend a little extra time with him. He always had this way of making me feel special and heard, he made eye contact with me and conversed with me in a way mom never did in her pre-occupied already on to the next thing manner.

I noticed the luggage sitting by the door as I walked in through the garage. The slight warming in the air beckoned summer break in a few short months and I, in my childish care free youth, harbored hopes of returning that summer to Disney World. Surely the luggage by the door was mom and dad's way of introducing the topic of summer vacation.

Mom called Sara and me into the dinning room adjacent the kitchen and the door with the luggage. I scouted into me seat eager for our summer plans to be revealed. I looked at my sister who was looking at the luggage with apprehension on her face and I felt a slight sickening in my stomach.

Life before my parents split

Written by Caitlyn Montoya. Posted in Journal

Long before Judah was born and the miscarriage, God was taking me on a journey of healing and forgiveness within my family of origin. It's not over yet, not by a long shot, but I thought I'd share with you all some of my struggles and my processing. This week is a letter to myself just before my parents split, what I needed to hear back then but never did. Next week I'll share what I remember from the day my parents split up. The week after that I'll share the toughest letter I've ever written addressed to the child I was just after my parents split up.

Dear self,
I wish I could give you some great word or wave a magic forgiveness healing wand over you to fix your broken heart, but I can't. My heart is still broken in this same places today and I am struggling tooth and nail to try and let everything go; all the dirt and grime that has built up in the cracks so that I can fully heal. But I am reduced to being a scared sad 7 year old all over again every time I try to face the issues that all seemed to come up in that year. This could be a hundred page letter to you addressing all those hurts and speaking wisdom into them, but I'm coming to realize that is the only thing that will work.