When I started on this personal journey to heal from my childhood, I didn’t realize how much it would connect me to the real pain of the world. Truthfully, I had no idea I was actually on a journey. I was simply trying to survive, simply trying to exist in a world that I knew was not created by God for me.
A lot of people, in my experience are often thought to be just holding their head above water. So where does that leave me? Most of my life I felt like I was living under water, stealing fractions of air from above the crashing waves, briefly between cycle upon cycle of physical and mental abuse and juggling a masked existence as the world (this great creation) continued to manifest before me. Manifestations of my physical birth into glorious color and energy and love and grief and depression and anger and regret. The manifestation of my early childhood, learning how to read at the age of three. Learning how to play with playdough and alphabet blocks. Learning how to crawl and then walk, how to feed myself and marvel at the stars in the night sky. Discovering I was a girl. A black girl, being taught that I was human and nothing less.
All the while juggling it with my reality, that my body was not mine. It belonged to the 1st person who sexually molested me before I lost my 1st tooth. My mind wasn’t who God said I was, but it was what mama said I was. Somedays I was smart and some days I was stupid. The stupid I suppose is what stuck with me far into my adulthood. Making the idea of loving myself something that only happened in movies and to those people that seemed to be sailing across the water in grand yachts of courage and happiness and not flailing in the waves beneath or clinging to life as a bottom feeding barnacle. Before I could color inside the lines, I was called the best artist in the world, but on some days, I was just bad and couldn’t get anything right. Those days would facilitate an adulthood of low self-esteem and self-doubt that created horrid realities for promiscuity and countless rapes. Created opportunities for drug and alcohol abuse. Created a living, breathing fortress with fortified walls that I am still chipping away at today, like the Berlin wall.
What Is Childhood Trauma?
According to Psychology Today, trauma is a person’s emotional response to a distressing experience. Trauma | Psychology Today . There are several types of Trauma noted in the article, but for our purposes, I will be discussing Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACE.
As noted by Psychology Today, the term “adverse childhood experience” refers to a range of negative situations a child may face or witness while growing up. These experiences include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; emotional or physical neglect; parental separation or divorce; or living in a household in which domestic violence occurs. Other difficult situations include living in a household with an alcoholic or substance-abuser, or with family members who suffer mental disorders, or in a household with an incarcerated family member.
Wow! That entire description hit the nail on the head for me. It does not however, include how religion, spirituality and or the lack there of play into the trauma that children carry into adulthood. It has been my experience that, the lifestyles we were reared in have a lot to do with how we responded and respond to the abusive trauma suffered as a child and as an adult. It is my hope to address different lifestyles so that everyone can relate to my writings and ultimately heal from abuse suffered at the hands of those who were left to care and protect us. In my research I narrowed down these types of lifestyles that I hope covers everyone. If not let me know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get to work.
- Carnality – to be carnal means to be concerned with only the physical aspects of life, not the spiritual or religious
- Spirituality– to be spiritual it means to be concerned with the human spirit and things in the spiritual realm
- Religion– to be religious means to believe in a supreme supernatural God or gods
- Agnosticism– to be agnostic is to be a fence rider. You don’t have a belief or disbelief in God. You believe in what can be seen and there is no evidence that god does or does not exist.
- Organized religion-A structured system of worship by a large group of people such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Atheism– The belief that there are no Gods or devil, that life should be self-worship. They are the Gods of their own self conducted universe.
I can honestly say for myself, that as a child growing up, I experienced all these lifestyles, with the exception of Atheism or Satanism as it is called. It had a lot to do with how my mind was developed, blissfully unaware of the abuse I suffered as a child. I realized this as I was starting my second book Permission Granted, I Give Myself Away. Here is a sneak peak at the first chapter. It shows how my trauma shined through at a very tender and vulnerable age and how I had to face being molested head on as a child.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
There are blind pockets of time in my childhood that cannot be merely explained by words but must be drawn as a picture in my mind. Seeing them vividly and vaguely all at once. To speak them out loud would be like pouring salt into an infected wound and bandaging it with a dirty rag. I fear my words will come out misconstrued by the reader and label me as a freak of nature or an abomination that deserves hell and not healing. I was after all at this time in my life a tiny happy, loving, and carefree flower child growing up in the 70’s…
It happened so subtly that I didn’t recognize it as a violation until a few years later. I did recognize the secrecy of it, the curiousness and fear of a demented realness, a sensation that should not have been felt by a preschooler. An introduction and awakening. An ushering in of the unknown and the eviction of my innocence. I recognized how afraid I was the first few times, because it was uncomfortable and done in the dark while everyone else was asleep. I recognized giving control over to my offender all the other times after that, because she was loving and kind to me, even in the violation. To me our entire relationship was that of a friendship forged in love and ended in pain and distrust. I believe she believed that too. She was never cross with me or didn’t share with me. She was a big sister to me. I hate that this sounds crazy, even to me, but it is what it is…
When I saw my friend again, she seemed much older, like an adult. She was in high school or a freshman in college. I really have no idea. I really didn’t care. We embraced each other and laughed and talked as if we had never been apart. We reminisced about playing WAR and Hi Ho Cherry O. We sat under the weeping willow and remembered silly ghost stories. I decided to bring up the game we played in the dark and that’s when the bad thing happened. She cut my sentence short and looked at me with daggered eyes. “There was no game and don’t you ever say it again”! All at once, my entire body went hot. Beads of sweat were forming on my head and I felt a little nauseated. I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying. I had never seen her angry or cross with me. I immediately apologized. She in turn told me that there was nothing to apologize for because nothing happened! Here I was, 8 years old and ashamed of something done to me. Something that she said never happened. Where does that leave me? If this was true then what had I been keeping a secret all these years? This daunting revelation meant I was well within my rights to be uncomfortable. I should never have given her control of my body. I should have screamed bloody murder like I wanted too. I should never have been introduced to such a sensation at my age. Instead, she took my innocence and replaced it with her shame. She gave it to me to carry. She gave me her fear and all the dirtiness she must have felt from invading my life. After all I was a baby, and I was carrying a sin that did not belong to me. None of this had been the careless imagination of a child. It had no place to draw from. She alone introduced me to sex…
Somehow, I knew she carried her own pain and what she did to me, she was truly sorry. I remember that she out of state a short time later and made her home somewhere else. I often wonder if her moving so far away had anything to do with me. If her fear and indiscretion was a result of her violation towards me. And maybe moving halfway around the world was her only recourse. I remember when she died and how much I missed her. I remember that she was the first person I ever forgave. I remember thinking I forgave her before she died, but she would never know until she went home to be with Jesus. I didn’t forgive her because it would help me. I didn’t forgive her because it would help her. I forgave her because I wanted too. My faith in Jesus has taught me to see the bigger picture about the human condition. I know that as a human, I may not be able to forgive all things, but this thing, this secret that she carried to her grave, this thing that invaded my sexual identity and caused me to be intentional with men for the rest of my life. I could indeed forgive this.
Growing up with this heartache at such a young age, proved to be a catalyst for a twisted sexual darkness that would comfort me and haunt me for the rest of my life. At least until I discovered some of my true self. It is my hope that I can help you and others like us to finally be delivered from a trauma that should never have happened. Discover the spiritual disfunctions in our unrest and finally cast them out, so our truly created selves can shine through.