This is a deeply personal post, so I’ve been hesitant to write it. When I originally made the decision to start this blog, one of my intentions was to un-box my memories. So, it seems appropriate that I stick to that intention, and write about this memory.
Every so often, something happens that causes me to realise that something which happened earlier was more messed up than I originally thought.
It starts with me reading something where a whole bunch of people are expressing outrage/dismay/despair over something, and I think:
“But that’s a thing that happened to me… Didn’t it happen to everyone?”
Usually, when this happens, I ask a few people whether something similar happened to them. I do this in a kind of vague, details withheld way. I might ask something like “When I was a kid, this happened. Did something similar happen when you were a kid?”, and I feel genuine surprise when they reply “No. That sounds a bit messed up.”
Then I sit and think about this new piece of information. The thing that happened was actually not a thing that happened to everyone. Some people think it sounds messed up.
Then I go to a wider group of people. I tell them about the thing, but this time, I provide a bit more detail. Confirmation arrives: That thing was messed up. A few questions follow, and this allows for more detail. The details make it more messed up. It makes it seem surreal, but it was a real thing that happened.
Then the emotions hit me. The emotions which were there all along. But, because I had accepted the thing that happened as just another thing, I hadn’t properly processed those emotions. I had shut them away because they were painful.
I’m simultaneously experiencing two distinct parts of myself: My younger self and my current self. My younger self is afraid and vulnerable. My current self is angry at the people who let (or in some cases, supported) the thing that happened.
I haven’t given the details of the thing that happened in this post because I’m still processing all those emotions. I’m still trying to figure out a way to understand the thing before I can write about it. This is not the first time that I’ve realised that something from my past was messed up, and it probably won’t be the last. No matter how many times it happens, the raw emotions still surprise me.
I don’t want my pain and anger to be misdirected at those around me, nor do I want my absolute vulnerability to be abused. So I withdraw from most of the world to sort my stuff out. The number of people that I can trust to be vulnerable with is alarmingly small, but I am grateful that now there is more than one person that I can trust.