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A Little Pain Never Hurt Anyone

A Little Heartache Never Hurt Anyone.


There are some lessons you just shouldn’t have to learn until you’re in high school, but lucky me I learned the lesson of heartache before I even entered the first grade. Little Michelle learned early what it meant to be rejected by those who were supposed to love her forever and always, like parents. Papa went to the pen after the surrogate mother left her blond bundle of joy with her tiny hands in the VCR while daddy dearest was taking a nap, and the evil step mother right out of the story books ticked him off one too many times. I never remembered any of this, but that’s natural considering I wasn’t even three years old yet. I have shadows of the constant game of Hot Potato: Toddler version. Not even the greatest phycologist in the world will doubt that I will ever forget the night that I learned that I didn’t have a dead mommy but a live birthmother hiding in plain sight. It was a lovely Christmas for everyone, especially when we all learned that the little golden haired girl that was me had a short fuse. I was hurt, confused, and really angry. I just didn’t understand why my parents would do that. Did they just not want me? It was my first experience with heartache and, boy, my little heart ached.

I can’t say that everything turned around for the better in the next year or even the next few years. There was reconciliation of the parental units after my father got out of prison, and I learned to live the life of an only child with Padre’s Momma, who was easily mine. The birth mother, who actually wanted me to call her mom or Michelle (when Granny Deb had named her Lori), tried to get into my life with awesome gifts and the occasional show up around the holidays, but it was of no use. I was too far gone to be her daughter. While everyone else lived their lives, I was fighting to see the mirror that my mom saw my reflection in. Every twirl and spin in the mirrors at the dance studios only made a hundred more questions pop up, so after a decade on the stage, I hung up my tutu and ballet slippers for good. I was no willowy twig like the other bun heads, but farm stock. Telling my dance teacher I wanted to die didn’t help the situation much either. By seventh grade year, there was a bet that I’d have more crushes than the year before. Preteens are so nice, but they had a point. Every guy who even smiled at me, or looked at me more than once, I had hopes and dreams that he was the Prince Charming I’d dreamed of and wished for on the millions of stars in my backyard. Daydreams always turned into nightmares.

All these little things were building into something. Every little hurt pushed me a little closer to the edge, and with each push I pushed back twice as hard. The pain in my heart became my power source, and with my luck, it was self-fueling. Each little turn down, put down, or evil look sent a little arrow through the bull’s-eye on my most vital organ, acting as a lever for me to pull on for an extra boost. Determination was the name of the game, a game fueled by the heartache of a preteen girl looking for herself.

The fruits of these labors decided to finally grow during my first year at high school. With a deadly cocktail of anger and determination, I got into a military training program. Within months I was on the staff, doing the job of an officer when my rank didn’t even call for it. Outside of the uniform I was a little mellower, but not by much, and in the uniform it was like G. I. Jane had just taken over the bookish white girl in the front row of the English class. The stony mask I’d adapted by then served well in people taking me seriously in what I did. Whenever someone said I needed to chill and ease back a bit, it was just another log on the fire. I was the quiet student, the good one, and the one that would get the job done whenever it was asked of me. Boys actually became the last thing on my mind. I had to focus on bettering myself so I could take care of myself, since I wasn’t about to rely on some Prince Charming to come in, sweep me off my feet and turning me into his princess. Besides that, I was really tired of getting hurt.

Looking back on that year, I see that I made a lot of progress towards reaching my goal, but at the same time, I think I missed a lot of good opportunities. I see all the friends I could have made or the time I could have been spending with the guy I’m dating now. The heartache I was born into pushed me to reach for the things I wanted (that’s how I actually have guy I’m with. Me and my stubbornness fell in love), but it also makes me look for something to go wrong so I can survive and actually feel alive. I’m not used to things going my way. I’m slowly getting there though. There’s hope at the end of this tunnel, past the heartache and the anger. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for my early life. A little heartache never hurt anyone.




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