A while ago I wrote that I would make an effort to post something positive at least once per week. I’ve not been doing brilliantly at it. Have you heard of that ‘positivity jar’ thing? People post about it often; writing one happy moment down every day and putting it in a jar so they recognise their good memories and have a real reminder of them. Then on the bad days you can pull a handful out and read them to cheer yourself up.
I’m not up for that yet. It feels a bit forced to me. But I thought if I reminded myself to write something hopeful or happy once in a while, it might help me acknowledge the good moments more. Even it if is something as trivial as my dog being ridiculous, I know it would be good for me to show myself that the laughter and the smiles do happen.
This got me to thinking about my childhood today. I always thought it was mostly happy; my parents loved me and cared for me and we had fun. We never starved, they didn’t beat me. I had opportunities and I was encouraged to fulfill my potential. Because I’ve been focusing so much time lately in therapy working through the abuse I suffered, I find it increasingly difficult to grab hold of the good stuff that happened. All I see is this damaged child, adapting in unhealthy ways to a hostile set of circumstances.
So I wanted to share some happy memories from when I was little. Reminiscences of time as a family that was wholesome and nurturing. I’m hoping that by thinking of them now and writing them down, they might remain active in my imagination; alongside, but not instead of my suffering. It’s hard to comprehend that juxtaposition being real.
- Running riot on campsites and sandy days at the beach
- My little sister, our mischief and how we co-conspired
- Adoring my pets
- Riding bikes, climbing trees, making dens and mud pies
- My dad’s pride when I taught myself to swim
- Getting up in the middle of the night to watch thunderstorms together
- Fun, freedom, love, hugs and music.
Sexual abuse is always horrendous, and I was no exception. But my childhood wasn’t only abuse. I was not then, and am not now, only a victim. I’ve always had a desire to be more than that. Since the abuse happened, 20 years ago now, I have been striving not to be defined by it. Surviving abuse is a part of me, it has shaped me in many ways, but there are other sides to me, and other memories too.