So, let's be honest - the gang conference is traumatizing every year I go. It's absolutely terrifying the world that our children live in. The second class on the second day was a huge eye-opener for me. It was taught by a department director of a gang unit in Salt Lake County. She taught for two hours on girls in gangs. In fact, this is one of the pictures that was shown:
She taught about the different roles that they play in the gangs, how they get into gangs, what they do once they are in there, and why they join gangs. Something that she said hit me so hard. She said that even though the male gang members treat them like crap, use them, abuse them, rape them, sometimes kill them - those things make them feel "special." As soon as she said that, I looked at Rock and said, "That's me, isn't it?" He nodded his head.
If a guy "let" me pay his bills or "let" me buy him the things they wanted or "let" me take care of them or "let" me be the one they would call only when they needed something, then that meant that I was "special." That meant I was needed and wanted. That meant that I was good enough for them. How sad is that?!?! That is how I have been living my life. So what if they hurt me. So what if they never returned the favor, if it was only a give and give relationship on my part - never a give and take relationship. So what if I gave everything I had, literally, with no promise of any return. Because I was "allowed" to do that for them, I was special to someone.
It was a huge eye-opener for me. I was sad for a moment to realize that this is what I had become. But then it was enormously empowering! I realized what I had been doing and I was ready to shout from the rooftops that I am special just the way I am! I am worth it just the way I am. I don't have to live like that any longer. I am free to just be Heidi - who already has worth.