Saturday, June 20, 2009

Angel in Disguise

It is so easy to get caught up in the "bad" aspects of DID. Earlier today, I read a wonderful post by Life Spacings. It gave me a sense of who she is. What she did was talk about what she usually does, day to day. It made her "look" normal to me and in doing so, made me feel normal, too. I was reminded of why I started this blog in the first place so I might do a turn-around and get back to basics. I was hoping that more non-DID-ers would read blogs on DID and get a sense of who we are - Life Spacings proved we can be quite normal. Nothing at all to be afraid of. So... Another thing I have never spoken about to anyone, even Mr.S is lip-licking.

When children are young, parents are so busy trying to get thru the day that they fail to slow down enough to see the signs of
abuse in their own children. (yes, some parents even become the abusers). If my mother had been seeing me when she scanned the room, she would have seen a fidgety child, a sullen and quiet child, and - she would have noticed I chewed my nails to bleeding and most obvious, I licked my lips. I licked them until the skin looked like red tree bark, all around my mouth. It was very painful.


In third grade, my habit was so bad that my mother often reprimanded me because I looked so bad. I had a red tell-tale mark all above and below my lips. It was awful - and very embarrassing. Other students wouldn't have anything to do with me and when it was my turn to pass out the afternoon milk, the teacher wouldn't let me touch it.

Mom wasn't much of a person for nurturing or soothing behavior. I didn't know there was such a thing as hand lotion until my third grade teacher held me tight against her bosom and smeared Jergens lotion all around my mouth as I struggled and sputtered. The cracked dry sores were so raw they began to bleed as she rubbed them. Within seconds of the wonderfully scented lotion touching my lips they burned until I cried. I knew I didn't dare try to wipe it off - the teacher had warned me and besides, I didn't want to make the bleeding worse. That was an awful year.

I had the same problem with licking my lips in the 4th grade but my teacher there was the flip side of the tyrant who'd made fun of me and threatened me with that lotion. My 4th grade teacher, believe it or not, is still living. She is an angel. It's been nearly a half a century since I was in her class and I will never forget her. She called me to her desk one afternoon as all the other children were leaving the classroom to go outside for recess. She took my hands in hers and she asked me how my lips had gotten so sore. I just shrugged my shoulders and hung my head.

She didn't judge me, threaten me, or argue with me, she just smiled and hugged me close for just a second or two and then she opened her desk drawer and lifted a jar of Vaseline from it. She bounced her finger in it a few times, until the Vaseline had a little tale on it, and then she carefully dabbed at my cracked and swollen lips until all the dryness had a bit of shine. She did that every day for weeks, several times a day. By the end of that year, my mouth had lost the troll look and I don't think I ever licked my lips to that extent again.
That tiny act of kindness was, and still feels, monumental. That is the only comfort I can remember getting after having been so violated a short time before that. She is truly an angel.


Just Be Real said...

My gosh want a wonderful 4th grade teacher you had. She saw the signs! My dear Ivory, so very sorry for your pain.

((((safe hugs))))

Vague said...

oh wow we licked our lips raw too didnt know that was a sign of abuse thanks for sharing

Ivory said...

Yes, she is a wonderful lady!

I don't think it's a sign of abuse, but a sign of stress. Being 10, being abused, and being terrified caused me a great deal of stress.

thesamesky said...

Wow what a fantastic teacher! I'm so glad you had a little bit of nurturing to offset the rest.

Paul from Mind Parts said...

Yeah... nice post. Today I'm on a "let's not be victims" kick. So, this is refreshing to me. Paul.

Ivory said...

@ thesamesky,
Yes, that bit of nurturing meant the world to me. I am fortunate in that bit of life - for having been noticed by that teacher.

@ Paul,
My T is always reminding me to avoid being the victim. I have been my family's victim all my life - it's easy, I know how to do it. My mother even told me I make a good one. I don't want to be a victim. Thanks for the encouragement.