Hello there, you wonderful being!
Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Writing a book about my own foolish choices and my perspective on those experiences is an interesting experience for me. I now have several decades of maturity and perspective to see my younger self’s obstacles and struggles. Let me help you dodge needless difficulties and hardships by sharing how I arrived at my bad decisions. My hope is for you to have a much easier time adulting.
In my twenties and thirties, I did not understand myself or how my childhood experiences shaped me. Now I see that I was awful to myself by ruminating over the ugliness I caused myself. I came out pretty damn good. That is something to pride and cherish.
I am not a therapist and I do not claim to be. I am a resource for you if you have questions on adulting or on becoming the badass you want to be. Why? I have done it. I hope my experiences can shed light on how you want to grow and develop. It’s not like you turn a certain age and you are done developing. I am still growing and improving and my life is infinitely better for it. I have had a lot of joys in my life, it has by no means been a grim sob-fest. But I could have saved myself a couple divorces (among other pains) had I been more self aware.
I don’t expect you to trust me without reason or evidence that I have gained wisdom worthy of sharing. I wouldn’t have listened to blind advice if I were in your shoes. I am candid with you to the point of TMI. I want to gain your trust with honesty. I want to bring you along on my adventures and share with you the good and the bad.
One of the good things I did as a young teenager was trade babysitting for therapy with a therapist. I felt heard and respected even as she explained to me that I may never get what I need from my parents. Life is unfair.
My understanding from many more years of therapy is the reason therapists want to talk about your childhood is because those experiences influence (or cause) the behavioral patterns you develop. These patterns will direct your behavior unless you do the work to understand why you have your patterns. If you have traumas or unmet needs from around 9-11, these absences will influence you until you gain an understanding of who you are and process you shit.
Your traumas do not have to be extreme. If events unfolded in your youth that were traumatic at the time, be kind to yourself and examine those experiences. Just as you would have patience for a friend figuring stuff out, grace yourself with that patience. Every decade I thought I had broken through enough of my jackholery to be ‘done.’ Bwahahahaha! Nice try, grasshopper.
Let’s go back in time. *cue the musical interlude*
When I was nine, I was in a household of two parents and five siblings. By the time I was fourteen, there were eight of us kids. The ninth arrived a few years later. It seems obvious to me now that neglect was the fan favorite. The financial stress pushed my father, a man with an explosive temper, to be more volatile. He was terrifying with us and charming when others were present. As for my mother, she seemed to love new babies so much we older kids were invisible.
I now know that due to her craptastic childhood she associated happiness with infancy and toddlerhood. Once we were school-aged, we pained her by reminding her of her horrid experiences. Had my parents been raised in a more enlightening time than the 1950s in the deep south (think 1930s elsewhere) it still would’ve been impossible to successfully parent all of us kids.
If you didn’t need to be kept alive, you did not get attention. Seriously, seared into my memory is that if I can’t see bone or spurting blood, there is no need to bother adults. My brother broke his arm while I was babysitting the younger kids and I remember the seething anger in my mother’s voice because I had interrupted her while she was out with our father.
PS Don’t think they never got away from us kids. We older girls were caregivers to the younger kids. Not just for evenings out; by fourteen I was manning the fort for an entire weekend. I had started working in seventh grade so I wouldn’t have to go home after school. In high school I tried to keep three jobs: one after school, another on weekday evenings, and another over the weekend.
The chance that you had my family’s style of chaos and dysfunction identically in your household are slim. If you are reading my thoughts, though, you do want to improve yourself. Likely you had childhood challenges. We are all human and sometimes not able to try our best, whether at parenting or work or relationships.
*Whew* Well, that is f-ing dark stuff. I share it because I must share who I am and what I overcame to be my current badass self. You can feel confident that you can sort out your issues because someone else with bad cards has already done it and wants to help you do the same.
Joy is available to you. Let’s go find it!
Onward and upward!