i am an attempted murderer

When I was 6 years old I was so jealous of another girl’s beauty that first I cut off her hair and then I tried to kill her.

Yes, you read that right.

No, it is not an exaggeration.

Friends, this is why I was a little scared terrified to start sharing the lies I’ve believed but whatever, i’m doing this because of a request from God, not to win your approval so let’s proceed. (Quick disclaimer: if you are jumping in on my blog for the very first time, you might want to head on back to this post to quickly bring yourself up to speed.)

Photo: My younger brother and I

PLAYING SECOND FIDDLE

Her name was Charlie. Her parents were going through a bit of a rough spot so my parents offered to let her stay at our house for a bit. I didn’t know Charlie very well but it didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t like her. I don’t recall Charlie directly doing anything to make me not like her. What she did do was redirect my parents attention off of me and on to her. I stood back and saw my mom and dad fussing over her, attending to her needs, talking about how cute she was and all kinds of revolting things. I didn’t really get it because Charlie had just barely arrived and I’d be there like, forever, so what in the world would make my parents suddenly change sides like that?

Clearly, my perspective as an adult shines a laser beam of clarity on the situation. In an effort to make Charlie feel comfortable in what must have been a potentially sad or scary situation, my parents went above and beyond to shower her with welcome. My 6 year old self did not understand this. What I did know was that suddenly I was playing second fiddle to the new North Star. In my feeble attempt to rationalize their behavior I scrutinized the situation. What I saw was illuminating. Charlie was in fact very pretty and she possessed the most remarkable blond, curly hair that I’d ever seen. As I reflected on my own appearance, it was painfully clear that my straight brown hair could never compare. The lie stealthily slipped in: the pretty girls get all the attention.

BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUT

As I worked over this new realization, my youthful mind offered up a most obvious solution: I need to cut off all her curls.

Approaching Charlie with scissors in hand, I casually suggested that we play a game of beauty school. She happily agreed and as she sat down before me, I proceeded to cut off

every.

single.

blond.

curl.

With each snip of my scissors, Charlie’s bouncy Shirley Temple-ese appearance transformed before my eyes. Job complete, she ran off to showcase her new bob to my mom while I stared at the limp ringlets laying at my feet.

I don’t exactly know what I expected to transpire when my mother first saw what I had done, but it did not play out as I had hoped. Somehow, unbelievably, my parent’s attention was not remotely swayed by the removal of her curly locks. If anything, it increased. Incredulous, I dug down deeper. If removing her curls didn’t work, perhaps removing her would.

Photo: My brother and I enjoying a treat at grandma’s house

DEATH WISH

I don’t know any way to delicately proceed here. I want to tell you that I really was a sweet, tender-hearted girl. I want to assure you that I won’t try to hide behind the safety cloak of “innocent youth” because the truth is, I knew what I was doing. I may not have fully understood the immense and far-reaching implications of my actions. However, our family had slaughtered chickens for meat and killed wild game for dinner. I understood that dead things don’t come back. Therein lied it’s appeal.

Knowing what needed to be done was one thing.

Figuring out how to do it was another.

Trust me when I say that my weapon of choice has revisited me countless times since that day. I remember coaching my own young children on the danger of placing a plastic bag over their head and simultaneously feeling the stabbing remorse of my own depravity. In my youthful desperation, I reached for the one thing my own mother had warned me about: a plastic bag. I don’t know what lie I must have told to get poor Charlie to sit in front of me once again. I do remember placing the plastic bread bag over her head and gently holding the base around her neck.

I stood there watching her, calm and trusting. Her breath slowly inflating the bag to form a large bubble and then deflating, sucking tight against her small lips.

In
Out
In
Out

I’m not sure how long this went on or what made me stop. Did she start to complain? Did my conscience get the better of me? Thank the Lord of heaven above that some form of intervention occurred. However, the fact that I didn’t go through with it does not negate the fact that I tried. It was within both my power and my intention to end Charlie’s little life. And why? Because I saw her beauty as a threat to my parent’s love for me.

Photo: My brother and I and our dog, George who had puppies!

IT’S NOT OVER YET

I’d like to say it ended here. That my parents and I identified that lie, combatted it with God’s truth and my insecurities melted away as I rested in the assurance of being God’s special child. But I can’t.

An unobtainable ideal of beauty had been cleverly placed before me and I swallowed the lie.

I had brown hair, yet now I wished for blonde.

My hair was straight, I pined for curls.

Beauty it seemed was hopelessly outside of my grasp. Or was it?

Sure, I may have been born with brown hair but that was merely a complication, I was not without resources. I’d gathered information here and there in snippets of conversations. From what I had ascertained, bleach was the answer to my hair color problem. Lucky enough, we even had some in the bathroom.

It didn’t take long to find the bottle of Clorox next to the bathroom towels. With the door closed I diluted the beach with some water in a squirt bottle and applied it to my hair.

Nothing happened.

Oh glorious disappointment.

My beautiful golden hair did not appear.

Photo: Me and my forever long brown hair with my mom and my brother

SMILE BIG

Bleach had done nothing for me. I’d have to set that aspiration aside for the time being. Perhaps focusing on improving a different part of my appearance would suffice. My teeth perhaps?

A friend of mine had recently gotten a retainer to help correct her crooked teeth. As soon as I heard the news I wanted one. Never mind that she said her mouth was sore and she hated it, I wanted a retainer something fierce. Unfortunately, my teeth are very, very straight. No matter. That was only a minor complication.

After spending some investigative time in my loft bedroom, I unearthed just the solution—a small rubber bracelet. Carefully folding the lavender bracelet in half, I placed the upper portion behind my top lip and the lower portion behind my bottom lip. The result was quite stunning. Provided conversation was not necessary, my homemade retainer was both pain-free and attractive. It was not however, permanent.

This got my mind to churning. Perhaps there could be a way to offer my smile a more lasting pop of color. Something eye catching that wouldn’t need to be removed for things like eating, talking and brushing my teeth. And then I had it. The solution was in fact, ridiculously obvious—nail polish!

Returning to the bathroom and closing the door I hoisted myself up to examine myself in the mirror. This was going look amazing. The pink that I chose was perfect. Not too dark as to draw unnecessary attention but shimmery enough to add that little special something when I flashed you a big toothy grin. I may not have had prior experience in painting teeth but it didn’t take a fool to realize that you need to start with a dry surface. With one hand I suspended my upper lip and with the other I dried my palate throughly. Applying the polish was quick and easy and the effect on my smile was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I could’t believe it was so simple.

Taking care to keep my upper lip tucked high so as to allow full drying time, I casually made my way into the kitchen. My mom was going to be so surprised!

I would pay money to witness this event unfold before my eyes. Time has unfairly stripped the details I’d be so interested to know. In a recent conversation with my mom I asked her what she remembered. She said, “I was totally shocked when you walked out of the bathroom with pink teeth!” When I asked how we removed it she said, “I think we just scrapped it off with our fingernails.

Photo: My brother and I in a field of flowers

DUPED

By now, I’d failed to make any significant changes to my appearances and my hair and teeth were woefully average. I was running out of options. Fortunately, I started getting headaches which lead my mom to the best suggestion yet, “Heather, maybe you need glasses.

Yes. Yes I did.

Glasses were exactly what I needed.

I was filled with a blessed assurance of my optical needs well before I ever sat down behind the strange vision testing machine. My only concern was if the eye doctor understood the situation fully. In order to help him do his job with increased confidence I played a little game.

Whenever it was asked me to choose between two lens strengths, I went with the blurrier option.

Option 1 or 2?” He would ask.

2

Option A or B?

B

This game continued for quite some time until finally the doctor announced with confidence, “I think I know exactly what you need.” He brought out a case filled with little round lenses and proceeded to select two from the upper corner of the box. Affixing the lenses inside a pair of temporary frames, he placed them on my face.

When he then asked me to repeat the previous “1, 2, A, B” options, I was remarkably surprised how well I could see through these glasses and I was only too happy to comply. When we’d run through the battery of questions the doctor invited my mother into the room.

Well?” she inquired, “Does she need glasses?

Ma’am, I’m happy to report that your daughter has excellent vision and does not in fact need glasses!” he responded.

What I was only too horrified to discover was that he had tricked me by placing clear, ordinary, nothing-special, lenses on my face! What a disappointment.

Photo: Grandma and I

EMBRACING THE LIE

As I got older my options for comparison broadened. There was the Sweet Valley High book series which featured—are you ready for this—twin girls with long curly blond hair. I devoured this series dreaming not only of the sisterhood which they shared and I lacked as an only girl, but also the physical beauty which they enjoyed. Seventeen magazine arrived once a month showing me of how I could be more stylish, more attractive, more, oh I don’t know, like someone else?

It would be quite some time before I was able to recognize that I was embracing a lie that sought to destroy me.

My story continues next week. Until then, have you ever swallowed a self destructive lie? I’d love for you to share with me.

13 thoughts on “i am an attempted murderer”

  1. Hi Mrs. Ledeboer! I know my words may not mean much to you from a child and all, but I wanted you to know that I do not judge you. Not. One. Bit. Yes, what you did was wrong, BUT that’s in the past, and were in the here and now. Every morning Gods mercies are new. You have been forgiven.
    1 Corinthians 13:11 says, When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child, When I became a man I put the ways of childhood behind me.
    BTW: I think you are really pretty, and your (nailpolishless) smile lights up a room. Your love for God inspires many, and Your unwavering trust in Him speaks loudly, encouraging others to as well. I know that it can be hard to be vulnerable, so I just wanted to tell you that I love you and your past has no effect on how I see you today. Thank you for being a constant example for me.

  2. so beautifully authentic and real. i’m sure if we were all truly honest, we can recall our own murderous thoughts. the biggest gift in this is that you haven’t given up on your own journey to be the most beautiful version you were created to be. you are a light and an encouragement to me. thank you for your wisdom and your incredible writings.

  3. oh’ friend – how I love you so and wish I could wrap my arms around you and hold you tight. The truth is, we all have skeletons in our closet. I have some from my childhood that I have never told a soul. Because of your experiences, God has used your past to mold you into the amazing Mom, wife, and friend (insert any title here) that you are. I was reading my bible study last night and the topic was on “NOT judging your neighbor”. I thought of you knowing that this was coming out and how terrified you were to share it. Leviticus 19:15-18 talks about not judging, love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 7:1-2 says, “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” My prayer for you is that the LORD himself will protect you from any lies the enemy wants to throw your way for writing this. May you take every thought captive and remember your own words from your blog post, I blame Rachel Hollis, “The only person whose opinion about me matters is the One who offered to pay for my debt on the cross.” Listen to this song and sing it at the top of your lungs as you praise the One who has set you free https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0wpP5o7xpI. So thankful for your courage! My life is better because YOU are in it. Praise be to God!! <3 xoxo

    1. Thank you for being always so kind and transparent with me Nicole. I love the video you shared, I’d never heard that song before. Your verses were also wonderful. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by friends like you. I love you.

  4. Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. I know you are not alone… as we all rather in action or our minds have committed similar if not the same crimes. But isn’t it just like our God to create something so beautiful from our ashes? I love that as a believer you are forgiven and free… a new creation… an open vessel, willing and able to be used for His glory. You are strong and brave and I commend you for being obedient to do the hard things well. XO

    1. Heather, You are exactly right, our God is a redeemer and I LOVE that he is able to transform all our pain as well as our mistakes and turn them into something he can use for His glory. Thank you for your loving support and kind encouragement ((hugs))!

  5. Wow! This is a super brave post and I’m super proud of you, my friend! I remember all those lies I believed as a young girl too and there are girls that I clearly remember wishing I was or that they weren’t because I was but a shadow in their presence. I also read the little teen books and teen magazines and wished I was anything but my plain, scrawny, brown haired, brown eyed self. The thoughts that entered my heart at times are so sad to think of now as an adult. Sometimes I wish that I could talk to that little girl that I was and tell her how much Jesus loved her and every little detail about her and how she was everything he wanted. The enemy is so crafty and is such a liar, even to the little ones. I can’t wait for you guys to get here to Fire and Fragrance! Your testimony is going to be chain-breaking for some of these ladies that come here and are clearly trying to be something that they were never created to be for someone they were never created to desire. The space given for freedom from sin and lies here is so awesome and God is doing amazing transformation in our lives!!! Love you! Keep the testimonies coming! Don’t be afraid! Your testimony is overcoming the enemy with each eye that reads it! 🙌🏻

    1. I feel so thankful that we have been set free from the lies of our past and I am so encouraged at how God is able to use us and work though us in the process. I’m loving the future He has placed before your family and ours and I am excited to see how He will use us. Thank you for your loving and grace-filled words to me. I felt so loved.

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