WriteTogether Reflection: Week Five

This week we took a trip down memory lane, reflecting on our very beginning years and the people we grew up with. Though in some ways the prompts were fairly mundane, I knew that this would be the start of an increasingly rough road for me and several of my journey mates. It seemed a little mean to get into this kind of reflection when so many of us would be spending time with family this past week. Not to mention the tension I feel about the reasons we gather and the things we celebrate while abandoning the truth and history. And yet, asking us to explore our lives as children and remember the people who shaped our lives during childhood left room to write about fond memories, friendships, and even define what family means to us now. A gentle reminder that we exist outside those moments, and that our growing up years are only a part of our stories.

The truth is that my growing up years were extremely messy, and I often put off writing about it because I don’t know where to begin. It isn’t easy to explain how I grew up to others, there are so many nuances and things that to me seem little but in reality are quite a big part of the way we were raised. And while I was taught to “think critically” about certain things, it was not modeled or encouraged that I question what was happening in the life we lived, or why god allowed bad things to happen in the world, why some people were treated better than others, or whether it was actually the will of god to submit to a husband, or to ask questions of the men in authority. In fact, I was encouraged to not think about that, put a shiny happy smile on it and pray it away. I was taught to speak up on certain things, but to be silent about others. It was okay to scream about choosing life, but not okay to talk about living one, or abuse or assault, or injustice or inequity, or doubt.

In many ways, the hardest prompt was about my strongest positive memories. I have positive memories of growing up, I do. Singing carols and hymns together, running amuck at grandpas cabin where we weren’t constantly told to stay close to the adults, getting a 10 cent candy with a  food stamp dollar so we could get back 90 cents in cash, sneaking raspberries from the garden or dropping rubber bands into the hot bed with the little chicks to see what they would do (its really quite a mean thing to do in retrospect, but the laughter it produce was worth it at the time)…

Looking back and trying not to look any further than that glimpse or sliver of good. Knowing the toxicity and abuse that exists within that same moment. I have very few memories of growing up that aren’t ruined by the overwhelming messages that I was being inundated with about my lovability, humanity, and worth. So many things I had grown to think of as normal or acceptable are excavated through these kinds of exercises, and as I see them from the perspective of maturity and from a place of healing that allows me to see them as they are. Old wounds ache a bit, and I find myself having more to grieve and release. I know that these are exactly the things I need to unravel, to reflect more on.

I am in a place in my life and my healing that I feel more ready and prepared for this. I have a wife who deserves a spouse who is whole, I have a child who deserves a mother who doesn’t repeat the traumas of the past. And most importantly, I have a me, who deserves to tell the truth and fully heal.

SO, even though it wont be comfortable or pretty. And it probably wont make much sense outside my head for awhile… I’m still in this thing.

Until next time friends.

PS We’ve been at this a whole month now friends, YAY US!!