The Journey of Surviving Childhood 

I had a horrible but illuminating dream between getting up to to go to the loo at 6am this morning and re-awakening at 8.30. Horrible. When I woke up I felt shattered and just stared at the ceiling for what felt like hours. 

And then I started to unpack the entirety of it. 

And then I had an epiphany. 

Emotionally and spiritually I am healthy and happy. I post this because I think many can gain from my experiences of processing and understanding the entirety of my life in its context; that is one of the two main reasons I blog. The other is to just purge (better out than in). 

I came from a very dysfunctional childhood. I witnessed violence, was on the receiving end of adult dysfunction aka violence, and was left vulnerable as the oldest child doing everything I could to protect my sisters. I lived, always, in high stress fight or flight. I didn’t know peace or calm. Happiness and fun could be extinguished as quickly as a candle’s flame. 

But I survived. My adult life has been a series of cycles moving towards becoming whole. It has been hard work, and it continues to be. But, I am happy and for the most part, I am living the life I choose to live. I have taken control of my life. 

Control. An interesting word. 

As a child, I had no control. No child does. We are at the behest of the adults charged with our welfare and development. If they are lacking, we try to assimilate into the less than healthy conditions for growth and our aim becomes survival. Often, we sacrifice, as children, our sense of our own value. This impacts the choices we make as adults. 

But, after healing, it doesn’t have to control them. Healing though, appears to be a lifelong process and practice. Maybe it is quicker with external counselling rather than doing it on your own. I can’t know that. 

This thing that I am not allowed to talk about, has put me back into the role of Tina the Abused Child. This was my epiphany this morning. It is why I am not coping as well the longer the situation remains unresolved. 

The way that I have been instructed to deal with all of it goes against my survival instinct of dealing with it, resolving it, fixing it, owning it and moving forward unencumbered. The control to survive has been arrested. I am being abused all over again. 

And as an adult who has taken the better part of forty years to realise her own worth, this situation is contraintuitive to what I know. I have been marginalised, made to feel the shame that a child who has experienced childhood sexual abuse feels. Again. 

Not allowed to talk about what has happened. Being tightly controlled by a system of oppression. Not able to express the injustice, the suffering, feeling guilt all of the time, for something that I had no control over. Yes, back into the psyche of child Tina. The psyche I have worked so hard to grow through. 

How disgraceful. 

The epiphany this morning, the acknowledgement of the shame and the guilt, has empowered me. 

Now, irrespective of the cost, my path is clear. I know what I need to do. 

I do love teaching. But it does not define who I am; I am significantly more than a cog in the public education machine. And as Martin Luther King Jr, one of my heroes, says, our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. 

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