You were so young, maybe fourteen and a half, maybe fifteen. You just started ninth grade at Clairmont High school. A world away from Spring Valley, the place you lived your whole life, a slow paced, dusty, border town. Now you found yourself in an urban environment for the first time. You came with knowledge of the life the kids who were bused in from East San Diego had, but you had no experience with the other half of the kids who were students at Clairmont High, suburban kids. You were always a brave kid and made your way as best as you could.
This day though, something happened to you, an awful thing that took you down a lonely path that lasted your whole high school life. No one knows this story, you’ve never told anyone this story. You were wearing a pair of jeans, they had started to feel tight around the waist. You were working on an article about the cheerleaders for the school paper. It was after school; the hallways were empty. All the activity was down on the athletic fields. You felt a sensation in your lower abdomen, maybe you did hold your pee too long, maybe you should have gone to the bathroom long before you did, or maybe this was a cry for help, a cry for your mom to notice something, even though you didn’t understand what was happening to you yet.
You ran to the bathroom, through the empty halls, trying to hold it, but as you are pulling down your tight, thick, non-stretchy, eighties jeans pee came pouring out. So much pee, it’s hard to believe. The jeans stick to your legs. You can’t pull them up or down. Thoughts run through your mind, how to sneak to your bike and ride home. But you want to tell your mom, you want to call your mom even though she’s at work and you’re usually so independent. I think you had a sweater or long sleeve shirt to tie around your waist. But I remember the wetness stretched down to your knees, nothing could hide it.
You rummaged through your too heavy backpack full of books for change to call your mom. You stood at the pay phone and hoped no one walked by. You were crying, humiliated, and scared. Your mom made an appointment at the urologist, she was concerned you had a kidney infection. You remember sitting on the examination table, feeling comfort that people were listening to you talk, were concerned about you, but there were words in your mouth that wouldn’t come out.
“I’m not a little girl anymore” you felt, or you said to yourself, but you wanted to be that little girl they were treating you as. You wanted to go back and take away all the actions you took that led you to this place, where they thought you had a kidney infection, but you were pregnant. All you felt was shame and regret and sadness and despair.
You were alone, and your path would only get lonelier and scarier and the feeling of shame would become almost unbearable.
But you fought through these awful years and these awful feelings. For this you deserve a trophy. You deserve a trophy that I am going to make for you out of gold sculpy clay. I want to acknowledge you and your suffering and thank you for being so strong and making it to this point in our life. You lived so I can live. You suffered then so I would suffer less now. You felt shame then, so I would understand shame better now. You taught me to be strong and brave. I thank you for giving me these gifts and I present you with this trophy.