How I Learned to See Myself

Jodie Tedder
3 min readOct 16, 2020


I never felt worthy of looking at me. I was taught that was a part of selfishness. No one stopped and asked me anything and that further my preoccupation with those around me. I was taught only to look at others.

That’s a pretty dismal existence. I didn’t realize that was setting me up to deny any authenticity in me my entire childhood. I was what they created.

What was my favorite color? Shit, I never asked myself that. What was my favorite game? I don’t know — I always just played the games I was asked to join.

I can regurgitate what happened to me in my childhood, sure. I can tell you that my nights were disturbed by constant physical leg pains and plagued by nightmares I didn’t understand.

Those were just all symptoms. But, who was Jodie? What did she dream she’d be?

I didn’t dream.

Most of my childhood I either re-enacted the sexual abuse in the form of masturbation’s enticement or tried to rid myself of pain through various forms of overeating and other dissociation techniques.

That was my entire existence.

Sure, I liked cookies and cake better than food. That’s the easy stuff to know.

What did I desire?

I knew the desires of my parents. My mother longed for a birthstone ring, she craved her career and she liked being free — away from the family. My father loved Hitler documentaries, he made bullets, and he had a photo booth were he developed his own pictures. I could go on and on about what they liked, needed or desired.

But, Jodie? Who was she?

I didn’t really start learning who I was until I was in my 30’s. The more I explored myself, the more I liked who I was. I starting learning that my husband of 17 years wasn’t a good guy and treated me and my children really bad.

I hadn’t even looked at that before. Sure — I suffered a great deal in that marriage but suffering doesn’t reveal who you are. Again, I could see what I was going through but I couldn’t recite a dream for the future that I had.

I was still on auto-pilot.

When I got divorced the first time, I remember looking in the mirror and stopping for a moment. I stared at myself and thought, “I am only Troy’s wife and a mother.” I asked myself, “Who are you, Jodie?”

I’ve been learning ever since. What I’ve learned is to not tolerate what I don’t want. I’ve learned to listen and research the subjects I like — not some damn Hitler story I could careless about.

Oh, I have learned a lot stuff and I anticipate the great revelations ahead of me. I hear my God calling me to higher ground. I can only do that by remaining focused on seeing myself more clearly. To do that, I have to take my eyes off others.

Originally published at on October 16, 2020.



Jodie Tedder

We write openly about our very traumatic childhoods. Understanding. Understanding. Unquestionable understanding. That's the message God has for you always!