We all have our own stories to tell of our childhood, some more damaging than others. I am still struggling to put together the words that can move the darkness of my childhood into the light, where I can finally and ultimately let it go and set myself free.
Sometimes it is difficult to do that, especially when so much effort was made to keep it all hidden.
But sometimes, it is easy to get stuck on the pain and to allow our anger or our sense of victimhood to wrap around us as if it were our very skin. We get lost. We forget who we are, and without the very people who were supposed to love, nurture and protect us, there is no-one to hold on to the memory of who we once were. Parents are meant to do that. They are meant to know and understand who we are and to hold that for us while we travel physically and emotionally through life, struggling to find ourselves. They are meant to be the touchstone of our lives that pull us back to the mirror where they say, “See, you are beautiful. You are capable. You are Loved.”
Somewhere in the forest of pain and sorrow that littered my growing up, I grew 8 ft tall and I stepped up to parent myself. I am not saying that I did everything perfectly. I doubt I did much of anything perfectly, but I did survive. Continue reading
Our memories are emotional snapshots of a single moment in our lives. They may evolve around events, people or places. We take those memories and we colour them with years of handling and layering with bits and pieces of detail and meaning.
Those memories that make us yearn with an aching need to recapture what once was, cannot ever be found again by simply returning to the scene of the snapshot. It has nothing to do with a place or even really the people. It has to do with the emotions we felt in a moment during the journey of our life. Often, the very process of trying to recreate what was, shatters it forever. Somehow the idea that we could return is a greater comfort than the failed attempt to do exactly that.
Going back leads us to stand in our past. What we saw and knew as a child is often explained. The magic is lost and our own growth and understanding lend shading and depth to it that we see now because we have matured and are now capable of understanding. The huge tree we used to climb almost to the sky, where we would sit for hours, is actually a pretty average old tree of no real consequence. Our first kiss can never be re-experienced because everything in that moment was coloured with the sensory overload of new emotions. The very air we breathed seemed full of promises and all the hopes and dreams of our expectations and imaginings not only heighten our interpretations of the event as it happened, but also as we thought about it later. A first kiss from someone we loved is very different from a first kiss from someone we are not at all attracted to. The difference is not in the kiss, it is in the meaning we attach to it. Those layers of meaning are not real in the sense that they exist independent of our producing them and applying them to the event, and they are not static. Continue reading