I had my slice of beautiful experiences growing up. It wasn’t much but I remember being happy most of the times. As life would have it, I was not spared the negative experiences either. Sure, they might pale in comparison to what other kids endured then and continue to endure in the present but when you are a child, everything matters.
It is only when I became a mother that those seemingly small, insignificant bad memories had their greatest effect. For a long time I truly believed the past was forgotten and dealt with. I really believed I had made my peace with all that had happened or not happened. It turned out I was lying to myself, denying truths that my own intuition was screaming at me, reimagining the plot to fit my idea of the strong woman I had become. Sadly that was only a way to escape reality and it was an epic fail.
The reality was, something precious had been taken away from me as a child, I would never get it back, it left a big wound in my soul and no one cared but me. In taking personal responsibility, I guess I should have realised this truth sooner and worked something out by now but as it turns out, dealing with traumatic experiences is not an overnight task. It takes months if not years to come to terms with the event, accept that it happened, acknowledge all the feelings that came with the event and choosing to release the negativity all while attempting to forgive those who did you wrong.
To spice things up, the same person gets pregnant and swiftly jilted, is unemployed and has to move back into the circumstances that damaged her in the first place. Oh, the pranks that life plays on us! I cannot begin to describe the kind of depression, anxiety and lack of self-worth that hits an otherwise normal individual.
What makes me sad and borderline mad, is to know that all this struggle was unnecessary and at the very least avoidable. Had only those who mattered purposed to listen to my childhood pains. If only they had come from a place of love and understanding. If only they could understand the long term effects of a tiny broken heart. But they couldn’t or wouldn’t. And I can’t blame them really, I blame the society.
The society I grew up in doesn’t approve of any child shedding light on so called injustices. This society’s knee-jerk reaction is to punish and ostracize any child who has the nerve to speak up for themselves in any way shape or form. We are brought up to believe that our small minds and opinions don’t matter in the presence of adults. We have been conditioned to believe that because they are older, they know best and thus should never be questioned. They put the fear of them in us for sure.
In examining that system of parenting however, I see great loopholes that cannot be swept under the rug much longer. Most of my peers and older are barely surviving not to talk of thriving. Most of us are out here living on a bare minimum salary, settling for unhealthy relationships and engaging in perceptions and practices we have no real idea or opinion about. When you add technology to this age of information, we are constantly battling one issue or another and it is deathly overwhelming.
As a parent with my history, I can’t help but panic anytime I notice some peculiar behavior and get heavy handed with my child. I freeze in the after moments over analysing my reaction to assess how bad or good I did. This habit irks me because I like to be sure of myself when I’m handling my kid. I always want him to get the best parts of mommy all the time. But even as I hope to achieve this impossible feat, I know it’s good for him to be exposed to some harsh truths occasionally because that’s just what life will serve him up. No amount of shielding can keep him from it and any attempt at doing so diminishes his capability to handle unpleasant situations.
In all honesty, I’m just a mother experiencing parenting in a new age and with some acquired wisdom. One who is scarily looking to the future, furiously wiping tears off her eyes, hoping against hope not to repeat the mistakes of generations past, patiently caring for this unfolding masterpiece who holds his own unspoken truths in his spirit.
My greatest wish is to relate with other mothers just like me who have a wounded past but have nonetheless purposed not to repeat the cycle with their offspring. We all must appreciate and acknowledge the times we live in and realise that the old methods of parenting will not survive the test of time.
We must agree that these methods need to undergo some serious updates and SWOT analysis. We should be brave enough to unlearn those lessons that didn’t serve us and learn new and relevant lessons to teach. We have to connect with our inner child to understand our child’s perceptions on life. It is mandatory that we approach them from a level they understand. Most importantly, we absolutely must not silence their raw yet innocent voices. Even when we don’t like what comes out of their tiny mouths.
If I may add, we must detach ourselves from the imaginary thought that our children are a gift to us and instead see them as an invaluable piece of the worlds large puzzle. We are just but custodians. For a time will come when the world will need them to execute their higher purpose that might or might not include you. Your only duty is to love them with no condition and to nurture and protect them until they can do so for themselves. Anything else, is on them to take on and for you to support.
A lot is changing in our world but the connection to your children cannot and should never be forfeited for the benefit of any other thing that is and is yet to come. So listen to them when they talk, even about the silliest most insignificant things. It could save them a big portion of their young adult years and even maybe save their life.