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Topic: birthday (05/23/05)
TITLE: Birthday Breaking Points
By Celeste High
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I don’t rightly suppose I can blame anyone. And I don’t rightly suppose there’s truly any reason to be embarrassed. Not anymore and not after all the stuff I have seen on television in the last decade. But back then, we didn’t talk about “womanly” things, not in my family, and especially not at Catholic school.
Well, there were the girls that did, but those weren’t the girls you wanted to go around with or let your parents know that you were. And the ironic thing is the girls who didn’t belong in that group didn’t fit in anywhere. So, I suppose it just makes some kind of weird sense that what happened on my fourteenth birthday in the middle of American history couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
Glasses and braces, lanky and a bit out of sorts. That was me. It was also the one day I decided to actually wear a dress. Well, a skirt. A mini skirt borrowed from my best friend, Kat. Come to think of it, I still owe her a mini-skirt. Well, at our age, I think she’ll forgive me as we don’t need to be wearing those now anyway.
But American history was the worst time because my desk was seated in the middle of all the boys. I suppose that was the penalty for talking too much in class to one of the few girls who’d acknowledge my existence.
Unfortunately, when this kind of thing occurs to most girls, they get some kind of hormonal warning. They begin to blossom. Not I. Maybe it was too many years of running track and being in “extreme shape” or maybe it was a genetic thing. But whatever it was, I would not have thought anything was going to happen anytime soon. So when I came down with one of the worst stomach aches in history I just sat in my desk and pretended I was not going to die.
I have discovered two things about pretending. You have to be really good at it and you have to make others believe the same thing you envision in your imagination. At fourteen, neither one occurred. I was in too much pain to create an extraordinary fantasy world and when I shifted in my seat to stand up, I thought God was going to flood the Earth one more time using my body.
Throughout high school I missed about a week of school a month, give or take. In college, it was about the same. As I got older, my body got better able to tolerate narcotics and I was put on increasing doses of darvocet and lortabs. The only respite I got from the painful flow was pregnancy where God blessed me with two darling girls.
Eventually, I lost one ovary, which almost killed me, then I lost the other which about did the same and I had a hysterectomy at that time.
For my thirty first birthday… seventeen years after the saga began, I had no pain, no misery, no narcotics. It was the beginning of a new season in my life.
I look back now on my fourteenth and wonder why God would give a child like me a burden like that to bear. I suppose only He knows for sure, but I have a feeling He wanted to lean a little more and draw a little closer to Him.
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