The Cone of Shame

I feel like our dogs end up at the vet every other month. If it’s not for a routine check, we’re there because Eli’s seizures are flaring up or he’s not feeling up to par. The other day though it was my daughter’s dog, Macs (a little three-pound Yorkie who self-identifies as a pit bull). To keep this post rated ‘E for EVERYONE’ I won’t go into a detailed description of his medical issue, but I will tell you his back half was suffering irritably so without delay I loaded him up and took him in. Turns out he’ll be fine; doc fixed him up and sent him home with two different types of meds….and since he’s a chewer and a licker he also got a free prize!!!….a plastic necklace AKA the cone of shame….

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60109B14-CCE2-4268-A80F-AB6C193D2697The poor little guy looks pathetic trying to tote along this protruding piece of plastic (that’s half his size). When he walks, he now has a waddle and his head bobs from side to side, almost resembling a swagger-type strut; but his face and eyes droop, revealing a true depressive temperament. (I wish I could attach a video to give you a good laugh but apparently I’d have to upgrade my WordPress account so just imagine Ace Ventura’s awkward stride and you’ll have a good idea!) And to top it off it’s been snowing a lot here, so when Macs goes out for potty breaks you can imagine the “snow-cone” humor from my kids.

I feel bad for him, but in a canny sense I’m reminded of the many times I’ve mentally and emotionally worn my own cone of shame for a lengthy period of time…when I’ve caught myself nagging at my husband over petty things, harping on my kids when really I’m the one in need of an attitude check, or when I allow the lies that I’m ugly (because of my past) to fester…the list goes on and Satan quickly steps in and says, “here my pet, you’ve messed up again, let me firmly place this cone of shame around your neck—keep your head down, don’t look around, just focus on your pity and the extra weight you carry, and most importantly medicate yourself with an extra dose of embarrassment and shameful thoughts and feelings. Now stay put!! And remember your key diagnosis is shame.” Continue reading “The Cone of Shame”

Healed Through Forgiveness

Warning: This post may contain emotional content for some. I know it’s long but I’m putting it out here on the chance that it provides help to someone who might be struggling.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —Martin Luther King Jr.

I had just finished giving a presentation of my life story to a group of ladies. As I packed up my notes and props I noticed a girl whose face was covered in a stream of tears.

Oh no, was it something I said?? Way to go Alicia…My self-conscious way of thinking began to prod away.

Slowly the melancholy faced girl made her way toward me while the noise of music quietly played in the background.

My heart raced forward as I thought about what words may come out of her mouth…would I be prepared with a response or an answer..I’m just a woman who loves Jesus and wants others to know about Him….what if she needs help and I don’t know what to say…God you know I’m a writer, not a talker…

I felt incredibly unprepared for this moment. I hadn’t considered I’d be doing more than simply sharing my testimony, so the thought of anything beyond that certainly overwhelmed me. I quickly pleaded with God in my mind..I did my part God, I shared my story in front of these women, I’m not prepared to further speak—much less counsel someone if this is what’s about to happen…

She now stood right before me. My eyes met hers and I could see there was hurt deep within…she had my full attention…

“How did you do it?” she pushed the words through trembling lips without hesitation….How did you do it??? The words echoed throughout me. I paused long enough to collect my thoughts…

“How did I do what?” I asked with an empathetic whisper.

After-all I had just shared the disarrayed story of my life—starting with the responsibility I felt being raised by an epileptic mother, to experiencing life with a loving but drug and alcohol addicted father; and not failing to include childhood stories of a homicide in front of our California home, sexual abuse, and my own substance abuse as a teen and young adult and the poor choices I made in all of that. I had shared the pain I felt with my dad’s death and then how I finally had my come to Jesus moment in my late twenties.

I had covered many life lessons and emotions just moments before as I gave my testimony in front of this group of women so to pinpoint the one thing she was searching an answer for, would be a challenge in itself.

But it was the sexual abuse that she was referring to…“how did you get past the sexual abuse?” she managed to bravely stutter the words out. Continue reading “Healed Through Forgiveness”