Sticks & Stones, Names & Bones & The Giant Within

My eyes popped open at 6am on my day off, no less. Thank you, age. And Happy Good Friday! 🙂

I laid here & played on Facebook for a while, looked at my emails, deleted all the “Hurry in – 30% off today only!” ads, & finally gave in to my lil brown buddy’s promptings to please feed him. He has no alarm other than if I move an inch more than once in the wee hours, he thinks it’s time to get up. And he is excited EVERY morning. Duly noted Otis. Point taken.

I have been pondering on what to write today, flipped through a couple of Anne Lamott’s books ( love her) to try to find some inspiration, & voila, found it. She said when we are searching for something to write about, childhood is always a great place to start. No matter it’s content -good, bad or indifferent – someone will relate. And I said a little prayer, because this writing – though cathartic for me – is really for whoever actually reads it.

Then the phrase ‘Sticks & Stones, Names & Bones’ floated up. Hello.

I hope you can follow this ping-pong trip through my memory bank.

Whoever came up with the saying “Sticks & stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is seriously out of touch with reality & obviously never attended public school, or lived to be a grown-up for that matter.

Some scattered background:

All the way through school I bore the brunt of teasing, name calling, cat calling – just verbal abuse in general. My family did not have the kind of money many of my schoolmates had growing up – we lived in a “trailer” – of which many trailer park trash jabs were born. I prefer to call them mobile homes myself. But I will tell you this- it was always neat, clean & smelled of a good dinner cooking any night of the week, guaranteed. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, naysayers. It was my home. I still miss it.

I did not have a close relationship with my Dad. He was checked out most of the time due to alcoholism – that he finally got free of, thank God. That happened after I moved out at age 19. His aha moment came one night while I was still living there. I will never forget him sitting there that night at the kitchen table in the dark, sobbing – & saying “I have got to get help. I just can’t live this way anymore.” I hadn’t seen him so broken, before or since. I totally respect him eternal for that. And then he was diagnosed with cancer, contracted probably due to smoking, & passed away 6 years later. So I never really got to know him, other than through reading the columns he wrote for the local paper, a master wordsmith. One sweet day I will.  The legacy to write no doubt came from him – thanks Dad.

My Mom worked her tookus off on 2nd shift to make ends meet & thusly wasn’t home a large part of the time. When she was, she was cooking, cleaning, mending, & resting when she could. One thing you could never say about her was that she was lazy. She pushed herself against great odds & loved hard for 6 kids, making a home for us. The legacy of tenacity & the ability to discern is where I get mine from. Thanks Mom.

So needless to say, I had a lot of unsupervised time on my hands – that led to my making some very poor decisions starting at a very early age. Might as well lend some credibility to the reputation coming down on me like a tsunami. Why not.

*Note, none of my decisions were anyone’s fault, per se – just a result of life circumstance. It is what it is.* I am not a blame your parents kind of person. I know better now, since I’m all “growed up”….

I was known as the school slut, whore, tramp, druggie – to name a few. I worked hard to live up to that reputation too. I couldn’t walk through the halls at school without being humiliated most days. I was just a very lonely girl, with Daddy issues, looking for that proverbial love in all the wrong places. That I actually never found using those methods. What a black hole that was. Go figure.

I did drugs to escape and to belong. That worked better than sleeping around actually, but somehow the two always wound up snaked together. Funny how that works.

I eventually wandered blindly into an abusive relationship, which drove the stake of “I’m not worth loving” even further down into my already bedraggled heart. Truth is, he was like me, only a lot more broken. But broken is broken. TomAto, tomato. His pain was acted out in a greater measure – I am not superior to that. I do not condone the actions – hear me please. If you are in a dangerous situation, please seek help & get out. I’m just seeing it for the cold bare truth of what it was. The sting of it is gone & all is forgiven. It is a powerful memory that I get to share now as part of my experience, to maybe lend hope past that kind of hellish pain, on both sides. Again, thank you God. I believe You call it Beauty for ashes… I see that, 20/20.

And speaking of God, through time & space, lessons learned & mind-blowing grace, I finally came to the head knowledge that I was loved, accepted, and cherished in my imperfectly broken, hollowed out state. Step one. It eventually made it’s way to my heart and changed me forever. Steps two through infinity. That truth, which is truly truth to me, is in my bones now. Like fire trapped. May it burn till my last breath & carry me home.

Sticks jabbed relentlessly & stones thrown ignorantly. Names called as blows to what might be a mighty giant’s knees – that were sent & meant to bring it down for good. The goal. And the bones. That were fortified over time with real Love, Grace & Mercy. That years later caused the slain giant to rise, slowly, painstakingly, limping – but rise, it did. The giant of overcoming, of strength born in the bottom gutter of weakness, of propellant to get up against stubborn will to stay down, to stay victimized. Of hope. Hope that brings tears right now as I tap this out through blurry eyes. Hope that this was not all in vain – & you’ve no idea even half my story. This was just a glimpse. I am no martyr. My life has been a cake walk compared to some I’ve heard & know. I’m just one voice of gratitude that I am a survivor. Of all sorts of things. A voice that is right now praying your giant rises up out of the part of life that consumed it & tried it’s damn-dest to lay it to unrest.

Resurrection power on this Easter weekend.

Much Love to y’all ~

Your Fellow Giant in Training,













5 thoughts on “Sticks & Stones, Names & Bones & The Giant Within

  1. Carl Ray

    Thanks for sharing some of the pain from your childhood in this blessed testimony of how life can change no matter where it starts or where it’s at.

    I remember those times in middle school and high school when the words and rumors were being flung around about you and others. It made me feel sad for all of you. I had no idea why I felt sad back then, but I did. I know I was unsure of my self in middle school and not as heart strong as I should’ve been to do anything about talking or trying help you or them in high school. For this, I apologize.

    Do know that I now understand better why I was sad and now have that Spirit-given strength in me. I have used it for the last 19 years as a Youth pastor to try, as best as I can with what God has given me to work with, to help teenagers in similar and different situation. It has been a roller coaster ride with some of the happiest and heart crushing times.

    I do want to say this, as a counselor who gets a lot of sad and bad brought to him, it does me good to read your inspiring words. God is using you as a vessel – you and your experiences. Keep up His work.


    1. Thank you Carl. That made me cry. Beautifully written.

      I know school was not easy for you either. You were always kind to me and I appreciate it. I think it’s awesome that you grew up & became a youth pastor. I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of kids like us and still are. A many bejeweled crown awaits you!

      Happy Easter-


  2. Beth Bradshaw

    Thank you for writing this. It touched my heart and soul more than you will ever know. I will see things differently daily.



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