Tag Archive: childhood trauma


What does it really mean? Where does that thought come from? Does it come from the knowledge that my brother died when I was 5? That my dad had a car accident and didn’t come back for a year and when he did, he couldn’t care less about me and my brother? Does it come from the knowledge that my mother had a nervous breakdown from the stress of it all? My pets died, my friends couldn’t come over, and I was bullied in school? I lived in squalor, my mother didn’t make breakfast, clean my clothes, any of those other things that normal people have. Does any of it really mean anything?

I guess it means I am unlovable, that God decided when I was 5 to take my life and shake it and shake it until I had nothing left except a huge ball of fear. A ball so big that when I tried to walk home on an icy day I couldn’t get over the fear of walking down the hill until a neighbor had pity and held my hand all the way home, trying to make me feel safe. But he didn’t succeed because I still had to walk back up the hill to hell and back down the hill to hell again. I’ve been afraid every day of my life since. I did learn to smile through it all though so I was able to make people love me but when the unlovable returned they abandoned me too or I abandoned them first.

We live our whole lives based on our parents; if they loved us we are blessed. If your life fell apart you are cursed. You try to move on and some people do but most of us are damaged somewhere especially if we grew up with an unloved childhood. I made people laugh and smile and put them first in my life. I forgave everybody everything; no matter how horrible I gave them a second chance. But when I decided I wanted a happy life, life wasn’t done with me yet. To be an artist and a writer and find a true love, that is what I wanted out of life. I fell apart. I was abandoned again. I had too many mothers and fathers and not enough understanding of what happens to an unlovable person when they try to make a change. All that unlovable just comes back and haunts them through their every moment.

I heard the voice of the bully who made up nasty poems about me in the 9th grade. I think of the time I had to walk home from bowling in the dark because my parents forgot they were supposed to pick me up. I remember the dog crap on my hallway floor because nobody could pick it up and the cat pee that permeated my clothing. I remember peeing in my seat in kindergarten because my brother had just died and I remember the kids laughing about it and reminding me of it when I was a senior in a small town high school. I remember how I didn’t ever want anyone to feel sorry for me, so I kept them out. I remember the times I was told to shut up, be quiet, children were supposed to be seen and not heard and unkempt children just fade into the background. Those are the voices many of us hear but never talk about.

We love the people who love us and care for us and we tend to make them bigger than perhaps they deserve to be. We think our friends are the best we will ever have; they have the answers to all the unanswerable questions. They know what is right for us, why we will never be a successful artist or writer and why we will just live the rest of our lives unlovable because we got stuck at 5 and can’t get out. They have families of their own. So we either live our lives in quiet desperation, or we act out, or we go insane. Or in my case I did all three. I’m still that little 5 year old looking for love and thinking I’m unlovable.

I’m the 53 year old survivor who doesn’t really feel like she has a life, I can’t do the things I love. Literally, figuratively, emotionally I can’t do the things I love. I can’t go backwards, I can’t go forwards, I can’t move on from 5. When I think of my life all I see are the things that I’ve lost and somehow managed to forget I had lost until I decided to live my own life. Now I see every single loss and just expect to lose more. I expect to end up homeless just like some in my life told me I will end up. It’s really easy for them to say, they are the lucky ones. They didn’t lose everything when they were 5 all in one fell swoop. They didn’t grow up thinking they were unlovable and being reminded of it every single day by one person or another, usually by someone who was supposed to love them. But I am alive, more than I can say for most people who lived through a childhood like mine.

I keep thinking perhaps one day I will figure out my life and become an inspiration but somehow I can’t seem to find that day right now, all I can find is a way to try and heal my mind, my soul, my body. I’ve been writing my life story to heal but as in everything else I’m kind of stuck at 5 and I don’t want to write a War and Peace length novel. So if you can’t say anything nice to me right now don’t say anything at all because I am unlovable and cannot put any more negative words in my head. I have enough of them there already.


Old, Fat and Ugly

I have spent most of my life feeling old, fat and ugly. Even as a child, I was fat before kids were fat. In truth I’m not really fat right now more on the order of pleasingly plump(or more accurately chubby), but I woke up in my bed last night with the words old, fat and ugly ringing in my ears. I’ve been doing some soul work the last few months which has taken a toll on my psyche and my emotions and trying to do some affirmations. But affirmations work on the here and now they don’t necessarily work on the reason you believe you don’t deserve the best in life and the reason you give yourself for not achieving the life you wish to have.

When I was 5 years old my entire life became one of complete upheaval, my brother died, my father had a serious accident that left him in the hospital for a year, my mother had a breakdown, my pets died, my house was filthy, I went to school without breakfast and I got stuck on an icy hill too afraid of my own shadow and my own mortality to walk down it by myself. Everyone has a year in their life that shakes them to the core and mine was when I was 5. Too young to know who I was and what I was so I became at 5 an old woman afraid to take chances in life, just like now.
I thought I was too ugly, too fat, too talkative, too Debbie to deserve to be happy like a “normal” 5 year old. I thought I was being punished for something and sometimes I look at my life and I still feel that way. Most days I look at my life and still feel that way. I see all around me friends who are going through my 5 year old life at 50 something and I know how they feel when they get the devastating news that someone they love is dying. I know how they feel when they put on a couple of extra pounds that weren’t there years ago (mine always were). And I know how they feel when they feel they are not pretty like they used to be, I never quite thought I was pretty enough. I was cute yes, pretty no. I’ve had so many life experiences good and bad that I can relate and empathize with anyone.

I know this post sounds like a sob story and perhaps it is. We all have problems. But I’m writing it anyway because if it makes one kid who wonders why they feel so fat and ugly and old even when they are young and vibrant I have done my job. When terrible things happen to us as a child it stays with us the rest of our lives. It may not come out to see the light of day but it comes out at night to haunt us and comes out in behaviors that seem to be a cry for help. We are all ashamed of something. Sometimes it’s not our fault, sometimes it is but every bad behavior is usually just a wounded child somewhere inside that doesn’t know how to get down the icy hill.
I’m also writing this for the adults with self-worth issues, I haven’t reached the bottom of my icy hill quite yet and hopefully can say that I am moving upwards to a new life sooner rather than later but I will say that dealing with the childhood drama does leave space for today. I haven’t figured out today quite yet, I’ve been hearing the mantra live in the moment in peace for months and still haven’t quite figured out how to live in the moment in peace but I’m going to keep trying. Ridding yourself of the traumas and understanding what makes you tick(I’m writing a journal) does make it easier when others don’t understand you or feel their coping mechanisms are better. They are trying to help but in the end we are all responsible for ourselves and it does make it easier to understand why you do the things you do.

So for now I am going to try once again to get my behind in gear and at least get some creative work done(I try everyday but the 5 year old living in my brain is easily distracted too). Do some soul work, make some space and keep on stitching. P.S. Love yourself even if you are old, fat and ugly because if you don’t love you nobody else will either.

Six Years Old

This latest school shooting really got to me. If the littlest angels don’t make us do something about gun control in this country nothing will. If it doesn’t shake down to the core of selfishness that says it’s my right to bear arms and nothing should stop me from doing so we are not the country and the people I think we are. Before I write any further, I believe in the constitution and the right to bear arms, I also believe in the right of a six year old to grow up and flourish and get to be a seven year old. There has to be some sort of way for those two things to not be mutually exclusive.

The real reason for this blog post is to beg the parents of the Sandy Hook children to make sure their children have all of the mental health benefits and aid that is surrounding them at the moment. My particular favorite path to mental health is art therapy but whatever works take advantage of it.

When I was 6 years old my brother died on the operating table while being operated on for having a hole in the heart, a few months later my father had a car accident which left him in the hospital for several months and my mother had a mental breakdown. I am very fuzzy on the details but my childhood was spent with the specter of death, despair and decay all around me. Back then there was a stigma that surrounded mental health and I was never treated by a therapist or any mental health practitioner.

I learned to smile, when I would go to school hungry in dirty clothes I would smile, when the kids would make fun of me and bully me I would smile, when I was around adults I would make them smile. I was a child of trauma and it changed my entire life in a way I was unaware of until late last year when I decided to end my marriage of 25 years. Don’t let the smile on the face of your children make you believe that they are ok and don’t need therapy, they still do. They will never forget that day in their psyche, they may appear to forget it in their everyday lives but they will hold on to the grief forever inside their fragile little minds if they do not get it out today.

Children go through a lot every day even if they don’t have trauma in their lives, they lose pets, they lose friends, their parents fight and they worry about whether their classmates will like them. The children of Sandy Hook will have the extra burden of fear, sadness, grief and horror mixed in with the everyday traumas of being a six year old. All we really have to do is look at the teenagers who were 6 on 9/11 to see that these kinds of traumas have an impact on kids whether they are close to the trauma or not. They were either inspired by those events or they are lost.
I’m not a psychiatrist nor a therapist nor anybody who can actually help these children; I am a hand embroidery artist. Hand embroidery helped to save my life and keep me alive. It’s a slow, meditative art which speaks to and from my soul. Earlier this year when I stopped embroidering for a while I had a nervous breakdown from which I am just now recovering. I am living all my losses at once and making peace with the 6 year old that lost so much. It’s very hard, in fact it is hell but I get stronger every day and am trying to deal with the depression and pain of that six year old without medication and that is very difficult too. I was blessed with incredible people of strength during my childhood and a wonderful extended family that took care of me. I did not however get mental health treatment and those losses lived with me every day of the last 40 something years. Don’t let them live inside your children. Get them the help they need. Let them feel the pain and move on from it. Suppressing it only makes it a burden you carry onward every day with a sparkling smile.

May God Bless all the children of Sandy Hook, may they live long and loving lives and may they find the help they need when they need it so they can truly leave that horrible day behind them. May God Bless all the traumatized 6 year olds everywhere no ma