The Cup of Unworthiness is Full
I didn’t quite understand when filling out my subject selections for year 11 and 12 that I had inadvertently chosen a year 12 Catering class to study in year 11.
I was 15 years old.
It had been 2 years since my mother had removed herself as unwavering support of me.
Since dismissing and outright refusing to acknowledge let alone entertain the truth of my 6 years of sexual abuse at the hands of both my grandfathers.
Consequently, I had a roof over my head, but no parent to love and nurture me.
The abuse was a lie.
I was not worthy of love, any emotional support or a cheerleader on my side to help me navigate life.
Little did my year 12 Catering teacher know all of that as I sheepishly entered her class on a weekly basis, too terrified to admit I didn’t want to be there, and equally terrified I would screw up the weekly cooking classes.
I never felt good about myself.
I didn’t think there was anything good about me.
But I tried.
I really tried to do my best.
Afterall I didn’t need reminding of all the ways I couldn’t do something and I was certainly not about to give any teachers an opportunity to reaffirm how useless and worthless I was. So I appeared the good, eager, compliant and studious student.
One day during a cooking task I made an error.
The whole class was to make a sponge cake.
I had mistakenly scooped the wrong flour and poured it into my bowl…a mistake that couldn’t be undone.
I was shaking to my core knowing I’d have to go to my teacher and tell her.
As I stuttered and fumbled my words.
She look mad.
With the entire class behind me, she placed her hands on her hips and shouted for everyone to hear, “Rebekah, why are you in this class if you cannot cook?”
I was mortified.
I wanted so badly to break down & cry, to stomp my feet and scream at her.
But I would not allow myself to do that.
I could not allow myself to fall apart.
More than her insult, was the screaming loud voice deep within that echoed loudly, Rebekah you are so shit! See how dumb you are? You are so stupid, so useless.
Did my teacher know the extent to which her words burned & further affirmed how useless I felt?
My teacher had absolutely no idea that her words, that she so flippantly threw out, were just yet another confirmation on a mountain of words either spoken or implied I’d heard & felt my whole life.
That’s why words matter.
That’s why words can scar.
That’s why words can penetrate so easily and wound us.
Teachers often do not know what a child is going through.
We do not know the extent to which our words can damage or be the icing on the cake, another blow to an already fragile heart.
Despite not necessarily knowing, teachers can intentionally use their words to inspire, to give hope, no matter what a child’s belief is about themselves.
Our words do have power and we must use them wisely and intentionally to build our children up.
#teachersmatter #chasingnormal #connection #livedexperience #childhoodtrauma
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Buy Beck’s memoir Chasing Normal here