People who push the idea that trans women are “socialized male” should walk a mile in my shoes.
Beginning the journey to rediscovery starts with returning to one’s earliest memories and thinking of the things you loved to do. All those hobbies which ate away the hours and left you feeling content even if there was nothing to show for it.
For me it was drawing, writing poetry or fiction, and reading books. Thinking back though brought back more than this… I remember the countless hours I spent alone, sometimes at home, others in the local park or even riding my bike on back roads surrounded by corn or soybean fields covered by a silence broken only by the wind of my passage rushing through my ears. Hours which often found me imagining life as I dreamed I could be if only God would answer my nightly prayers.
A life with long hair streaming in the summer sun, the flutter of my dress around my ankles and a truly carefree smile curving my lips, a lightness to my heart, knowing this was who I suppose to be.
I spent entire afternoons in the local library searching for information for why I felt what I did, why I saw myself one way when I dreamed. Why I was obsessed with understanding the ways my thoughts were so different, maybe even alien to the ways the other children would talk about themselves, in the ways they conducted themselves alone and in their social groups.
Why I felt like an outsider, always watching but never accepted.
Bittersweet memories indeed.
A toxic parent’s actions can seem obvious in hindsight, making you question why you didn’t see how wrong they were when you were young. But there are actually a lot of things you won’t remember if you had a toxic parent, and it’s the absences that might actually be the clearest signs of their harmful behavior. Think of it like reading between the lines.
It’s hard to spot a toxic parent as they’re raising you, especially because they’re all you know. That’s why a lot of people don’t figure out just how damaging their mom or dad’s behavior was until they’re an adult, as they work through their issues with a therapist or are exposed to healthier models for parenting. As you swap childhood stories with a partner or friends, the level of harm you endured may become more clear; likewise, raising your own children may make you realize some of the actions you normalized in you parents are things you would never do to your own children.
Bottom line, the things you didn’t experience in your youth might be the biggest indicator that something was wrong, and coming to terms with what you missed out on can help you move forward from your toxic parent’s inhibiting nature. Read on for some of the things you may not remember.
I’m sure there have been more children who have found themselves in trouble for using inappropriate language than those who haven’t. I am also sure the majority received some form of punishment for their indiscretion.
The question I have had for far too long is what parents considered a fair punishment for a single word, (which to be honest, was repeated after being warned… once.)
I ask this because for far too long I thought what I received was common for the mid-70s but I now realize was possibly a tad excessive…
You see, in those days our families choice of soap was one containing lye. I don’t know about my step father but I know my mother not only preferred such soaps, there was a time when she and my grandmother made their own. I mention this because she should have been well versed in how dangerous such things were since she once explained a scar on her arm which she received when some of her own soap splashed onto her arm, leaving her with a constant reminder to be more careful. This is important because my punishment for using the word “damn” (twice) was to hold a bar of soap in my mouth… for half an hour. The result was chemical burns to my lips, mouth, throat, and vocal cords.
I can’t say if this was the reason my voice never changed a great deal, I do know I never experienced my voice cracking (which I feared and was relieved when it didn’t happen). Indeed, I’m sure it changed much more as a result of smoking than it ever did during puberty.
(Oh, I forgot to mention I was about 7 at the time.)
A number of times it has been suggested I write down the events of my life. What I remember, my thoughts, dreams, hopes and aspirations. What follows is the beginning of a journey I never wanted to take, memories I felt best left to the dust of time. Yet I have never been able to free myself from them and I know they have shaped me into who I am today. I make no promises as to when I will post one of these, just the idea of putting them into words, never mind sharing them, is difficult to say the least.
What is your first memory? Mine is of hiding in a mobile home with my mother while my step father tried to force is way in with a knife. For years I told myself it was just a bad dream, yet to this day I can still see his rage filled face pressed against the window screen, the glint of the knife when the blade caught the light. I remember being terrified and not understanding why and knowing my mother was every bit as terrified as me.
“When growing up, the raising that we receive has much to do with our coping skills as an adult. And I have noticed that I, and other victims of emotional abuse, have certain behaviors that separate us from the rest. If you, or someone you know was a victim of abuse, then you may want to read through these. Just being able to understand where another person is coming from, or understanding yourself better, can make all the difference.”
Sitting at her desk, looking at the assignment written on the board, she saw proof of her belief teachers had a morbid sense of humor.
“Write your own eulogy.”
All things considered, it could be seen as an omen of sorts, how such a dark subject tied in so well with her own thoughts. She opened her notebook to a blank page; holding her pen over the page she thought about what to write. Truth or exaggeration? While she figured he classmates would write fanciful accounts of impossible deeds and accomplishments, she had no desire for such nonsense. No, something deep inside demanded truth. Raw, unblemished truth. The sort which didn’t bring comfort to the reader. Dark and sadistic, the words began to form before the pen touched paper.
“ Erin died today. One moment she was here and the second she was not. Few took note of it and fewer still cared. What she might have accomplished, what her dreams were, her hopes or fears went with her as silently as she did herself.
There was no viewing, no pictures nor flowers, No one stood to speak of her or for her, the funeral hall was dark and silent as it should be. There was no funeral, no mourners, no priest to talk her into eternity. Only the cold dark of a grave no one would visit. No headstone or marker. Nothing to note her passage across this Earth.
Only this eulogy buried in a stack of ungraded papers and she was fine with that.”
She doubted anyone really cared one way or the other, it was just a kid’s scribbling to fill a page and get a grade no one would remember.