I'm now in my third week in Ireland. The first week we were in Monaghan with the Clarkes, then we met up with the rest of our team to do Holiday Bible Club in Ballygawley, and now we're doing the same thing in Kilmore.
After club we've been spending time with the teenagers, playing games and trying to break the ice. Every night one of us ballet girls shared our testimony, and it was finally my turn tonight...
All week the people in the Kilmore church have been encouraging us to really wear our hearts on our sleeves and be really open with the teenagers to encourage them to do the same and put them at ease with us. So when I found out I'd have to share my testimony, I wasn't sure what all I wanted to say. Normally, I do a very edited version that vaguely alludes to the possibility of something wrong in my life, but don't actually say it. Never have I shared my complete testimony with a group of people.
Plus, Katie, Libby, and Brianna were all there too. I hadn't talked to any of them about my depression. Would this be a good way to let them know? Or would it be cruel?
I kind of fought with myself all week about it and tried to figure it out and ended up stressing myself out. Last night, I was up late Skyping The Captain, explaining it all to him and asking advice. He encouraged me to say everything.
But so much of my testimony is so fresh, such an open wound. Normally when people share testimonies like that, it's after years and years have passed and they're all better now. I'm not all better. Years have not passed. Weeks have passed since the last really dramatic thing happened in my life, and it certainly hasn't been even a week since I thought about doing something to myself.
But The Captain kept saying that this opportunity was perfect and I couldn't pass it up. That I would probably help at least one person in that room. I said I'd try. I honestly didn't know if I'd be able to do it.
But I did.
I started out with the basics, and then when I got up to age 15 the unedited version came out, because that's when I first tried to hurt myself. That was when the room got deathly silent, and half the people looked up from their crisps and didn't take their eyes off me, while the other half suddenly found the floor very interesting.
I got through it all without crying, though I did almost tear up when at one point. My voice did get pretty shaky and by the end my face was really warm. But I got through it. The end was a little awkward, and I was just like, "Well... my voice is tired now..." and then after Katie reminded them that they could talk to us or ask us questions whenever, I was like, "Well... I'm going to go get some water now... so talk amongst yourselves." Then ran and got water and then hid in the bathroom for a while and cried a bit.
When I emerged to the kitchen, Kenny and Colin were both there and I walked in before realizing it. Kenny's pretty cool; I had talked to him a lot during the evening and confided that I was really nervous about having to speak to the teens. He'd started out watching me in a kind of encouraging manner, but as soon as I hit the 15 mark his gaze shot to the floor. I don't think he'd anticipated that when I'd told him how nervous I was.
Colin came up to me first and told me I was a very good speaker, which surprised me but encouraged me a little bit. Then Kenny moseyed over and said I did a good job. He didn't really say anything else, but I can't tell you how much I appreciated it.
And then Katie showed up and I kind of avoided eye contact for as long as possible, but we finally exchanged looks and then smiles and then she asked to give me a hug and I said yes and so we shared a hug. She, Brianna, and Libby were among those staring at the floor during my testimony, because none of them had expected that bombshell.
After all of that I felt kind of scared to face any of the teens... I felt like they were all staring at me every time I saw them again. But then it also felt like they were all a bit friendlier with me. They were all genuinely disappointed when Elise made me leave early due to my still-present headache and previous upset stomach (although it was mostly just upset because I was nervous).
I really hope I did help someone, that it wasn't all for nothing, me bearing my soul like that.
I don't know what all has changed between me, Katie, Libby, and Brianna. Katie's the only one that acknowledged it in any way, and it's probably just my imagination that Libby and Brianna were a little weird about it. It's likely that they didn't think much of it, because we aren't super best friends and so they might not think they'd had any business knowing. Katie, on the other hand... I don't know if it will ever come up in conversation again. I'm still nervous about that.
But I'm glad I did it. I do feel better, now that it's out. Now that I've said it once, maybe next time will be easier.
Our trip is almost over! I'm sad, but also happy... because I really really miss The Captain.