May 23, 2015

You Stole my Childhood, But not my Joy. {Adult}


Not too long ago, I received a lovely note from a woman who had read my post 5 Steps to Releasing Pain and Guilt Surrounding Abuse.

We talked about her abusive childhood, and in the end I told her the abuse I had gone through as a child had a silver lining. On this we could not agree, although she very much wanted to know what that silver lining could be.

I’ve never wanted to write about the specifics of my abuse. All my abusers are passed on and forgiven.

The five steps I outlined in my previous article are ones that I have practiced until I could honestly say that I had let go of what was.

For me, speaking about my abuse is not part of my healing. And so I was never going to put it into print. I didn’t believe that anyone knowing the details could be helpful in any way. A part of me considered the details as the least important bit of information; what mattered most was sharing my journey past the trauma.

But now, after speaking to a few more individuals who had read that same article, I’m beginning to understand that sharing some of it may allow others to see how it is possible to heal no matter the details.

It has been quite humbling hearing about others’ childhood traumas. I’ve always maintained that what I went through couldn’t possibly be as bad as what others had endured, but perhaps that was how I survived my own experiences?

And so, after all the soul searching, I’ve determined to resurrect the past and allow what good might come of it.

I’ve decided on a poem instead of prose as an expression of the past. It feels less daunting to recount it in that way. It contains words about all my abusers, there were a few, male and female, and I don’t really differentiate one as worse than another. None of it was in any way what a child should remember as their most vulnerable self.

As years passed, and I grew into an adult, I came to have empathy for the pain within those that tried to break me. I repaired many bridges and, yes, even love and gratitude grew exponentially for one.

I’m sending this out to my reader who had the courage to share her private details with me.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the silver lining of my stolen childhood.

The Silver Lining

Orphaned, adopted

Flying solo across the sea

I found myself in strange surroundings

Hungry for safety

Cold with fear

Anxious and exhausted

An eight year old exiled from her homeland

Hoping for rescue

With a voice that no-one could hear


You were afraid of me

I was too strange, too free

I was not what you’d expected I’d be


I was not grateful

I was a stranger to your ways


You raped me in my unfamiliar bed

Two weeks after I arrived

You raped me for four years

And others took their turn


I lived in a den of crazy men

I learned to accept your belt

I learned that everything I said was wrong

I learned about shutting down


There was no one to believe me

No one to hear me cry

When you locked me in the basement

I was shaken by the dark


Locked out of the house

Until I peed my pants

Then beaten for embarrassing you

I learned to hold my tongue


You made me wrap your Christmas presents

While you told me there were none for me

Undeserving, I was broken

By the skill of your dominion over me


Beaten in the school yard

Until I learned how to fight

Talked about

I was so strange

I was never allowed out


No friends, no toys

No play, no joy….


Ah, but there you’re wrong!


I was never one to quit

I was determined to survive

You taught me to have courage

You taught me to fight for myself


When you hurt me, you taught me about the gentle touch

When you raped me, you taught me about protecting the weak

When you made me weep, you taught me about compassion

When you made me cower from your hand, you taught me to love peace

When you failed to protect me, you taught me to protect others

When you tried to break me, you taught me about tenacity

When you said that I was nothing, you taught me that I was everything

When you said you did not care, you taught me about empathy


The silver lining in the dark cloud of my childhood

Are the lessons I have learned

It’s what makes me more human, more sensitive to what matters most

You could have broken me, but I have other plans

I plan to have all the joy

That is something you could not steal

The past is not my keeper

You taught me about now

You made me capable of giving all I have to the world

Thank you

You have been my best teachers and in the end, my freedom


From “Practicing the Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle:

When you surrender to what is

And so become fully present

The past ceases to have any power

The realm of Being, which has been obscured by the mind, then opens up

Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you

An unfathomable sense of peace

And within that peace, there is great joy

And within that joy, there is love

And at the innermost core, there is the sacred

The immeasurable, that which cannot be named




Becoming a Bodhisattva: The Supreme Thought.


Author: Monika Carless

Editor: Travis May

Photos: Wikipedia

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