A few weeks later he brought in a book, Soprano On Her Head by Eloise Ristad and assigned each student a chapter to read and do an oral report for the class. He intuitively knew our darkest fears and insecurities. My assignment was both terrifying and freeing. My chapter was “The Book of Judges.” We all have those authority figures in our lives who make us miserable because we’re never good enough for them. It could be a parent, a sibling, a teacher, a spouse, a boss. You want to please them, but your stomach ties up in knots just hearing their voices, seeing them coming. “What does he want now?” You know that you will be misjudged, condemned, ridiculed, belittled with condescension and scorn.
It was a visual assignment. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to see “the Judges.” They appeared as a group, kind of like monks in a Robin Hood movie, with hooded cloaks. They stood in a circle with me in the center, so I couldn’t see their faces, but I could hear their voices. “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’ll never succeed.” You’re too stupid.” “You talk to much.”
I allowed myself to listen and feel the overwhelming sense of despair that came with the verbal attacks from my past. With my eyes still closed, I approached each one in my vision. I peered into their eyes one at a time. They were people I knew from my past: my High School Civics teacher, my mother, my ex-husband, a bully at school, an overbearing boss. I listened again as they spewed their hurtful words, only this time I responded with truth. “I will be somebody! I am actually quite intelligent. I graduated from University with Cum Laude Honors. I am gifted with languages and music, with dance and abilities of which you never dreamed. I am a Child of the Most High God, and with Christ I can do anything.” That broke their tyranny over my mind. I smiled. “It’s all in your head.”