The Dried-Up Well I Was Stuck In
Saprea has Empowered Me to Look Back at the Dried-Up Well I was Stuck in and Never Go Back.
My parents divorced when I was 6 years old which caused some tension in my life, not that it was an ugly divorce but as most kids of divorced parents would say, I felt like my family was torn apart. I felt alone until my tennis coach became a part of my second family.
When he was hired to work at the tennis center my mom owned, I became closer to him than the other employees. He was the one person I felt actually wanted to be a mentor to me, a person every kid needs and values in their life. He began to use this mentorship as a manipulative tool to take advantage of me mentally and physically—from telling me what to wear, to commenting on how I looked, to physically abusing me over the course of three years.
The first time he crossed the line I felt like he had taken me to a dried-up well and pushed me into it—a 15-year-old girl all alone, with no way of escaping this part of her life, no one to help her, and no end in sight. I did not understand how someone so important to me could make me feel like this physically and mentally.
After college, I was ready to start over again in grad school, 500 miles away. In 2020, when I was forced to move back home because of COVID, I began working at my mother’s tennis center, which had been my dream job ever since I can remember. Although I was ecstatic when I started working, I felt anxious about being around my tennis coach all the time again. I was worried that somehow I would fall back into his trap of being a supportive friend just so he could take advantage of me again. On November 8, 2021, one of my worst nightmares happened. I was back in his trap. I was that little girl again.
My mother was the first person I disclosed to about what my tennis coach did to me as a child—her child—for the past 12 years. I was at the bottom of the dried-up well again but this time with what felt like all eyes at the top looking down. My family and friends learned for the first time what happened to me as a child and who my tennis coach really was.
After going through the judicial system and giving a speech at his sentencing, I thought I was “healed” but I had already signed up to go on the Saprea Retreat two weeks later, so I had to go. I had no expectations going in other than I thought it would be smooth sailing after what I just went through. Boy, was I wrong about so many things.
The Saprea Retreat not only showed me I had not yet “healed,” but that I really could heal. I gained a sense of community; one I didn’t have at home even after my secret was out in the public. I was able to relate in different ways to eight different, amazingly strong women, which I never could have imagined happening. While the retreat was mentally exhausting, it was the most impactful experience of my life. It was truly the turning point of my healing process that I didn’t even know I needed. I am grateful every day for the support, sense of community, and hope I gained from attending the Saprea Retreat. Saprea has empowered me to look back at the dried-up well I was stuck in and never go back.