I Was There, Now I Am Here.
"Childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul." ~Ivan Doig
So many people told me to leave my story behind. I've heard it said to me again and again, over and over, with a fuhgeddaboudit shrug of the shoulders! But, this was infuriating to me and the lack of validation fed the very thing that I was trying to eliminate (shame) by talking openly about my experiences.
"Why do you, repeatedly, tell the same story? That was so long ago. You shouldn't harp on something that's so far in the past. You need to forget about that part of your life and move on. It doesn't matter anymore. You're here now, live in the now."
Well, it does matter! I have zero desire to sit in the corner, dazed and scarred to the point of drooling all over myself while the world goes on around me, but I am entitled to take as long as I need to center myself, lift my head high, and be comfortable in the becoming of ME which, it turns out, is a never-ending journey of self-discovery.
Unfortunately, the foundation of my childhood in which I built the walls of my adolescent home were poorly constructed. I had no emotional guidance and as I grew, these walls became faulty because they were built on sadness, anger, isolation, and tears. I am sure any architect would say those are not good materials for the creation of a stable, long-lasting, feel good abode.
As the adult in me grew, I fought back within the structures. Eventuality, when the walls crumbled down around me, I was forced to take a good look at what steps I needed to take to protect myself and re-create and new vision for the space I wanted to be in. I chose to demolish the old foundation and begin anew to better serve my expanding soul. I created new plans, gathered the tools I needed, and made the bold move into adulthood. I did keep the pictures and keepsakes because I could not erase the essence of me nor did I want to. I just wanted to deal with the negatives so that the positives could be enhanced.
Who I became as a result of my childhood circumstances had a lot to do with how I processed my experiences? I may have caved under the pressure of all that has happened to me, but out of the rubble came a stronger woman. I chose to rise from the ashes and navigate my way through life without scorching everyone and everything in my path, which was a miracle on its own. I also became motivated to be more than I dreamed that I could be. When I became a sober, single mother, I had to add a new room in the mansion of my mind, but I looked at it as spiritual equity and more space to decorate.
I've come to learn that the story I tell from my truth is all that truly matters. When I was ready, I was able re-write the story and create a more purposeful and prosperous ending. My life will never be perfect, but when I can sit still and reminisce about my my life without crying or feeling an overwhelming sense of pain and shame, then I know I have done something right. It is my story, my life, and my turn to pass along the wisdom I've gained by re-creating my old, outdated image of my past into radical self-acceptance and self-love.
I tell my truth, all of it, to my girls so that they know how powerful and courageous the woman I've become is. As I go deeper into my own recovery, I see how a child's story is worth listening to, especially when it is so similar to mine. I've learned to listen more intently, and to what is really being said.
"Tell the story of you, truthfully, to those you care most about. It will help them understand why you close your eyes during the parts of life that expose the most vulnerable parts of your soul. And, how magical it is when you are able to open them again and smile." ~Rebecca L. Edwards