It’s funny how almost everyone thinks that I had this fantastic childhood because my father has a lot of money. Listen up, folks. I have a critical PSA: Money does not equal happiness. Get over that thought right now.
My parents divorced, my grandparents all died, I was abused for most of my childhood and adolescence, no one really ever noticed where I was or what I was doing. At 11, I was smoking cigarettes and pot, drinking whatever Mad Dog my friends could get from the 7-11 with their slick, 5-finger discount, my mom was in a mental institution and even when she came out her access to me was limited both by my father’s custody and her own, completely self-absorbed lifestyle.
Sounds entitled, eh? Like a storybook childhood lived by a rich princess in the American South. Yes, our house was always warm. Yes, I had a pretty bedroom. Yes, my dad told me that whatever I needed, I just had to ask. So I did. For example, when my last pair of underwear had holes, I figured I needed new ones, so I asked. When my pants looked like capris and no one at school would speak? I asked for some that fitted my length.
So long as I was good, I was an afterthought to everyone in my life except my grandma.
Last night, as a part of a teleconference I am participating in, I took the opportunity to mother my child-self a little bit. I told her that she was good, strong, smart, capable and kind. I held her, in the form of an old photograph to my heart, I asked her what she needed and told her that she would receive it. I sat with her in the tunnels she created in a big field of weeds and wildflowers one summer, in the shade of the poke bush, and held her against me in a warm, safe, loving way.
We all suffered as children. We all suffer period. This kind of going back and creating safe space for your wounded child is very healing, I found out last night. The little girl in the photograph still looks incredibly sad. The part of her that’s still in my heart feels quite a bit better today.