Every year I write a post for the new year and usually is goes along the lines of mentioning how I want to really discover myself, figure out who I am and what I want and pretty much I never do. It is just the same routine, I fall into / stay in the same rhythm and haven’t been able to pull myself out.
So this year do I want to the same things? Well to a certain extent yes and then on the other hand no but that’s not a bad thing, I just want different things.
So what has changed? Really it began with simply following some new people on Instagram, it started with one person and they led me to others. Through my time following these people, I have done some deep thinking and have been realizing that there are a few things I need to do before I can really start moving forward. One of things is being completely honest and start sharing my story, in hopes that I can acknowledge it, release it and that it may in turn help someone else, just as those I have been inspired by have done.
What does that mean exactly, well I hope you keep reading to find out.
I know I am unfortunately not alone in some or all (I am still only just barely scratching the surface as the story runs far deeper and will take much more time to unfold than I am going into today) of what I am about to share and I know that some people may not consider it that bad compared to what others have gone through, but that doesn’t change the affect on me and my life. Our experiences and how they shape us should not be compared to each other, it is not a competition about who has had it worse, it is about how we take what we have and move past it, use it to fuel us towards something better and help others.
Ok, so this is scary, deep breath, there are people who know me well that already know these things about me and people who are close enough with me that are aware of some of the high level details, but sharing it like this on this platform is a whole other thing, but here it goes anyway.
I am a survivor of trauma. This is a recent realization for me, even after having spoken to professionals over the years not one of them have identified my experiences as traumas, but that is what they are.
My trauma began when I was still very young, I don’t remember exactly my age but it was pre-grade two for sure when it all began.
The traumas I have experienced involve – never being a child (a child by age but nothing else – I will elaborate on this), threats of physical violence, emotional abuse, battling with anorexia and body dysmorphia, and constantly being told and shown that I was not good enough; to provide an overarching summary.
Okay, so what does all of that mean? Well, I grew up in a home with a family that was manipulative and corrosive. My parents are essentially con artists and mentally ill, and this was something that I bore the brunt of. They had a way of pulling people into their lies and onto their side, including my older sister.
This all started when I was very young as I mentioned and my mother announced she was going to walk across the highway near our home and get taken out by a truck. This was one of many suicide threats or suicide attempts that I would have to deal with or stop. As a child I stopped my mother from attempting suicide multiple times and have heard countless threats from both of my parents as this was always an option for dealing with their problems. Please don’t misunderstand me, mental illness and suicide is a serious matter, it is just not one that a child should have to manage for their parents. I had to grow up at a very young age in order to be able to take care of myself, my older sister and my parents.
I began working at the age of 12 and contributing financially to the household because my parents would blow money like nothing and needed help paying the bills. I’ve seen them go through bankruptcy multiple times. Since I was old enough to operate the vacuum and washing machine I was required to take care of the house when coming home from school (before even being allowed to do my homework), I paid for my own clothes, I cooked, I cleaned, and I worked. This was just my life, I was a servant and provider to my parents. My father had a bad temper and it was nothing for him to get pissed off and punch a hole in the wall beside my head or raise his hand to hit me, one thing I will say he didn’t hit me but the emotional and physical stress of not knowing whether or not at that moment would be the time, was possibly worse I think.
If I didn’t do something right or meet expectations for school, cleaning, providing money or whatever I heard about it. I was never good enough, my marks were never good enough despite always being on the honour role. There was constant manipulation around money and not giving them enough. I never gave them my full pay checks, as I kept savings for myself in order to move away as soon as I could.
In high school things got much worse, I was going to school full time, working 3 part time jobs and began my journey into anorexia. My mother constantly belittled me about food and told me I was fat (up until a few months ago I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life). I took this to heart, she was my mom so I began dieting and exercising and dieting led to not eating as it didn’t seem to be enough, I was still fat and reminded daily of it. There were weeks where all I had was coffee, that’s it, that was what I had for nutrition for the week. All of my friends at school were worried about me but I just told them I was fine and just not really a lunch person, because I never ate lunch, but that I had a good breakfast and dinner so it was all good. That of course was a lie, there was no breakfast ever and no good dinner. So this also led to my wildly incorrect vision of myself, how I looked, how big I thought I was and what others must think. I was a mess, going down a path that could have led to some very serious consequences.
Luckily, also near the end of high school I met some people from the other high school in the area and we became friends. Why does this matter, because one of those people would eventually become my husband. Again, you might ask why does that matter? It was when we began dating, after being friends for a couple of years, and I began to hang out with his family that I discovered what I had grown up with wasn’t remotely normal or ok. I had always thought it was normal, what I experienced and that other kids were spoiled maybe or that I was grateful to know why I couldn’t have something, we were a team right, a family, we took care of each other that was totally normal, right? I was so wrong and just didn’t know it.
When I was 18 my parents kicked me out, they didn’t like that I had developed a life, they didn’t like that I wasn’t handing over my whole pay checks and they didn’t like the hours I kept, I wasn’t home much between work and spending time with friends, so they kicked me out and if I wanted to stay I had to pay more money, do more chores, and be home by 12:30am everyday no exceptions. One phone call to my boyfriend (now hubby) for some help and everything changed forever. His family took me in and got me heathy, they nourished not just my body but my heart, mind and soul. I was able to go to school and get a degree and make a life for myself because of them, they still don’t believe they have done anything special, but they saved my life really.
All of that being said, I still struggle every single day with body dysmorphia, I don’t believe in myself the way I should because it was so engrained that I wasn’t ever good enough. I constantly compare myself to others and wish for what they have because I have a hard time not wanting more and to be more, to matter, to make a difference. There are so very many things in my life I am forever grateful for and so very lucky to have, this I know, even the facts of what I have been through has contributed to who I have become but it doesn’t come without costs.
So one thing that is different from last years New Years post, is that in 2019 I have been grateful to hear from others struggling, to know that I am not alone, to know that I am enough, to know that I can be what I want to be and it’s ok to both be ok and to not be as well. I will not let what I have been through keep me down and leave me a victim. I continue to learn from it, grow knowing I am more than my past and I am going to release this, move forward with my head high and become the person I want to be.
I hope that in reading this you may understand me a little better, you may find hope and comfort knowing you aren’t alone either and that together we can create better tomorrows for ourselves and for others by sharing our stories.
I hope that you find joy in 2020, I hope that you find yourself and you remain true to who that is, even if you don’t fully know who that is yet. I hope that you never have to experience what I have and that if you are going through it right now that you know you are not alone, it can get better, there is a better tomorrow.
I would really like to thank all of you that have bravely shared your stories and through your actions created a supportive community that has helped me so much already.
Thank you to all of you who have read this all the way through, your support is very much appreciated and I look forward to continuing to connect with you.
Here’s to 2020, I have so many new goals and dreams for the future and all of its wondrous possibilities.