Overcoming Rape

    c.96w cheese sticksShe and her sisters had been raped repeatedly by their stepfather. In their home. He had been a pillar of the community. Tall. Good looking. A family man. The girls knew the truth. Every adult they turned to dismissed their allegations. No one believed them.

    She had been married multiple times. Had a child whom she brought to adulthood. Had been on the high end of the economic scale, its low end, and many spots in-between.

    She had seen the dark side of man. Experienced it personally. Yet she seemed to radiate an inner light. An inner glow.

    She loved life.

    She loved her husband. Her son. They loved her back.

    She attracted interesting people to her shop. All with stories. Most doing something extra with their time. Giving back to this life they so cherished. Having a purpose for being here.

    One day I asked, “After all you’ve been through, how can you love a man? Marry? Be intimate?”

    “It’s like a cheese stick,” she said.

    “Say what?” I asked.

    “When you were a child, and burned your hand on the stove, did you stop cooking?”

    I shook my head.

    “When you had your first crush, and it wasn’t reciprocated, did you move on, marry, have children?

    I nodded.

    “I believe in focusing on the positive. I’ve moved on. Just because one man was bad, doesn’t mean all of them are. There are good men out there. I’m married to one. He’s not perfect. He’s stubborn. He’s wired differently than me. (He is, after all, a man.) He has a good heart. He loves me. I love him.”

    “What you went through was horrific. I can’t even imagine. But what does loving, being positive, and being married have to do with cheese sticks?” I asked.

    “Ever burn the roof of your mouth with a cheese stick?”

    I shook my head.

    “Well, I have. And just because I did, doesn’t mean I’m never going to eat another one.”

    I kept quiet.

    “When I burned my mouth, I learned from it. I didn’t stop eating them. Just because one isn’t good, or is too hot, or not hot enough, doesn’t mean they’re all bad. When I’m in the mood for a cheese stick, I’m gonna have a cheese stick” she said.

    “Besides, they come in all different flavors,” I said.

    “Mozzarella. Cheddar. Swiss,” she quipped, laughing.

    I was beyond impressed. Rather than feel sorry for herself, claim what happened to her as a reason (or excuse) for all that didn’t go her way in life, or allow history to repeat itself, she chose to pick herself up, focus on (and seek out) the good, move forward, and move on. She did this time and time again.

    “Wow,” I said, admiringly. “Power to the cheese sticks.”

    “I like that,” she laughed. “Power to the cheese sticks.”

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    Heewon Azad - February 2, 2013 - 8:16 pm

    Great lesson we all can learn

    Tana Bevan - February 3, 2013 - 10:21 am

    I agree! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    erin - February 27, 2013 - 8:17 pm

    What an inspiring story- thanks for sharing

    Tana Bevan - February 28, 2013 - 9:58 am

    Erin, I agree the story was inspiring. The woman to whom the story belongs is amazing. I’ve told her so repeatedly. Alas, like so many, she downgrades her accomplishment.

    My hope is by repeatedly telling her (and by others’ comments), at some point she will accept the hugeness of her positive, upbeat, “Power of the Cheese Sticks” attitude. That she will clap and cheer for herself. Until then, let us do it for her, until we do it with her.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment.