Enjoy this story of hope and new life from our friend and volunteer, Brittny Speed.
by Samantha Tucker, Grants Manager, Safe Harbor
When I was 12, I was tired of being a tomboy and I wanted to be a cheerleader… to give bows and skirts a chance. Tryouts were a several-day process of learning one chant and one cheer (those are apparently two very different things), then performing them in front of a judging panel. Simple enough.
I started out overconfident – after all, I was a gymnast and I could tumble across the floor like a rock skipping across water. What more could it take? But as the time drew closer my confidence lessened. I suddenly felt less cute than the other girls, like I was wearing a costume. I felt out of place. I felt ill prepared. My nerves hurt my stomach and I thought I might cry.
I walked into the gym and the panic intensified. I froze. There I stood, ponytailed girls chanting all around me, my feet stuck to the ground and my lips pressed closed. It was awful. How had I gone from an easygoing athletic girl to someone I’d never known myself to be?
Jennifer describes being a victim as being in many little pieces without knowledge of how to put the pieces back together. What a powerful way to depict the experience. Having worked at Safe Harbor for eight years, I’ve never heard it phrased this way but it very much resonates with me. As I listened to her, I recalled that feeling from back when I was 12 years old – I’d known what I was capable of and what I needed to do. But those feelings of inadequacy, of fear, of insecurity, and of panic were so much stronger. They were completely debilitating.
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