Well I’ve navigated through another January.
January has always been a difficult month for me. I think it’s a combination of reaction to Christmas and memories and reminders of the day my parents nearly killed me and disowned me.
The reaction to Christmas is both surprising and interesting. I’ve been able to transform what was a horrible almost unbearable time of year to one that I plan for and look forward to most of the year. When I realised I was still having a reaction to Christmas, in spite of the amazing times I have in the Alps now, I was extremely surprised and confused. I thought “what’s going on? I thought I’d be ok now but there’s still a reaction”. It’s like a delayed reaction. Although I go away now and have good times I get reminded of why it is I do Christmas like that.
There are reminders while I’m away exploring the mountains alone and seeing other people having fun together. There are reminders during the social moments of these trips when the inevitable questions come up about family and how come you come away on holiday on your own?
I’ve discovered that no matter how happy I make these times for myself I cannot escape my past and that’s one reason why healing is so important to me now - so that I can deal with those social situations without such intense pain.
I try not to remember the Christmasses I spent as a child and teenager walking the streets looking in on other people’s happy Christmasses with intense loneliness and envy. But the memories are there. My body remembers too just how cold it was out on the streets, trying to keep moving to stop from freezing to death. When I remember I shiver just as intensely as I did all those years ago. I hate the fact that Christmas is such a tough time because of the abuse and rejection of my family. I just keep on hoping I can manage to find the money each year to go away so I can have a Christmas.
January is always a tough month because it’s full of memories of the final January I spent in the abusive home. It’s full of memories of how the violence escalated during that month until my parents put me in a position of ‘kill or be killed’. The violence was so extreme. So was their rejection of me when they realised I was no longer prepared to be used and abused by them. I can never forget how empty I felt lying in the snow, on the one hand realising it was all over, but on the other that I was alone now and it was up to me and to me alone to survive, to stay alive, to live without any support from family.
This January’s been all the more poignant because the end of the month is the 25th anniversary of being beaten, left for dead and disowned by my parents.
I’m astounded that I’m still alive to be honest. I’m astounded that it took me nearly 25 years to find the courage to speak out about what they did to me. I’m astounded that I’ve taken the HUGE step of changing my name. I’m astounded that I’m beginning to think about having a future now.
I grieve the loss of my childhood.
I grieve all my life has been because of the abuse.
I grieve all they took away from me - being able to have relationships, marry, kids, career.
I grieve the loss of my physical, mental and emotional health.
I grieve all that my life has not been because of the abuse.
I grieve all the lost years in my life; all that my life could have been that wasn't.
I grieve the rejection, abandonment, isolation and solitude.
I grieve the fact that I was never loved, wanted, accepted or affirmed.
I grieve for the child I never was and the adult I've struggled to be.
The abuse took so much from me, the list is endless.
What drives me now is damage limitation and the determination to reach the point where I can say “they destroyed only part of my life not all of it”. Up to this point it’s been a case of “they destroyed my entire life”. BUT no more, I’m determined to heal. I’ve had enough of the damage in my life.
I know I’ve got a very long way to go but I’ve begun now and I’m determined to do whatever it takes to heal.
Changing my name was the beginning of establishing my identity as ‘ME’. I’m not sure who I am but I know I like the person I am becoming.
For the first time in my life I’m thinking positively about myself and the future and that is awesome especially as I’m hurtling towards 45. As I approach that milestone I’m able to acknowledge that the worst is probably behind me now. There is also the hope that things can only get better from now.
At least that’s the hope I carry now I’ve embarked on the very long road towards healing. At least I have hope now, however tentative, and that’s amazing!!