Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 61°. My current location is starting out foggy again but promises sun later this afternoon. I’ll be taking a trip to Mount Rainier National Park and will fill you in on that adventure tomorrow.
Today I want to talk about witnessing my mother being abused when I was a child. The memory that came to me today was when I was in seventh grade. My mother wanted to go out with her girlfriends and my step father would not let her take the car. They fought often so hearing them yelling at each other was not out of the ordinary. Looking back it seems to me that I would catch part of the fight, the yelling, and would stop what I was doing to see if it was going to last. Time would stop while I waited for the ultimate escalation of events. Abusive langue, the crash of something being thrown or falling over, running or doors slamming. My young mind racing with what may be happening. When the event continued I would find myself on my feet walking towards them. I needed to see but felt nervous and scared as to what I would find. This time I rounding the corner of my bedroom and standing in my doorway watched my stepfather dragging my mother by her hair over a bicycle laying in the living room that was to be her source of transportation that night. My mother had no clothes on and some part of the bike had caught her upper thigh and ripped it open. I could see the blood, muscle and bone, my mother crying and trying to hold her leg together. So much blood. Her husband screaming “look what you made me do”.
My mother looked up and saw me looking on and told me to call the police. I was literally paralyzed. I stood there processing this scene until her voice slowly came to my attention. I knew I needed to get to the phone. I knew I needed to move my body. I could almost feel the location of the phone but could not move towards it. I could also sense the location of my step father. He was pacing and looking at my mother and looking at me. He looked at me and said, “Don’t you dare touch that F’ing phone!” I feel a wet warmth on my face. I feel my feet start to move towards the phone. I feel him yank the phone from my hand and slam it back into the holder on the wall. I see him storm into the bedroom and slam the door and scream out to my mother, “Don’t you come back when your pussy gets hungry.” I’m unsure about the rest of that evening.
I have had a lot of counseling in my adult years. I was diagnosed with PTSD and began EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy. In this therapy I was taught how to watch a memory happen in third person which allows me to remember but not marinate in the trauma. I highly recommend this process to anyone who has experienced any kind of trauma in their life. It is not a cure, and I’m sure there any many other wonderful therapies out there, but this one was a gift for me.
In my opinion, one of the worst things we can do to ourselves is to allow our childhood to negatively affect our lives as adults. I used to hold tight to those painful memories as well as the people that hurt me as a child. The promise was that I would wait until I was old enough, until I was no longer a hostage, to return that pain. However, the truth is; the way to get free is; the way to win your future is; simply let go. It is so much harder than it sounds and yet truly so simple. I just don’t hold space for those people who broke my trust, broke my heart or broke my spirit. They did what they did for their reasons and to an innocent child with no way to protect herself. Shame.On.Them.
The memories I have are part of me and always will be. More importantly they are part of my toolbox that allows me to see others in a way that is unique to me. I can spot that pain, comfort and offer direction to heal that pain in someone else. It is a gift not a burden. It is the way I choose to use that very emotionally expensive education to better who I am today. I can help others exercise their nurturing memories and release what will no doubt hold them back in their adult life. I can teach them about Frankincense.
Today started with a memory I would not have chosen for myself. Today I shared a little part of me and that is my gift to you.
Never Stop Learning about the world or yourself! Our education often comes in different forms, different institutions and different people. It doesn’t end when we graduate a program or receive a degree. Strive to be a better person today than you were yesterday. Always keep your feet on the ground~