The Importance of History

It seems strange to be a 40-something woman visiting childhood issues during my therapy sessions, but at the same time it feels just a little bit right. As I talk through some of the memories, I have to push through the barrier of thinking that I’m a grown woman who should be past all of this by now, because the reality is that I’ve never fully dealt with all of the experiences that have shaped me in this life. What we are exposed to in our formative years lends itself so much to how we deal with the world around us as adults. For me, it seems to be the source of my anxiety, perfectionism, and my fear of conflict, and I’m certain it drives a slew of other traits that I have yet to recognize.

All of the discussion with my therapist about my childhood and the unpleasantness of my first marriage leads me right back to this blog. A number of years ago, I turned towards blogging as a way to reflect on some events in my life, and it felt empowering to put everything out to the world. It didn’t matter that my readership was small, what mattered is that I was really starting to dig in to some things that for so many years I’ve had friends tell me I should write about. I was exposing some parts of myself that were waiting to get out my entire life, and it was surprisingly liberating. I had only just scratched the surface when everything changed. I didn’t give enough credit to some family members regarding their internet digging capabilities, and I awoke one morning to find that my mother was a follower. Truthfully, it didn’t take much digging to find the blog, I hadn’t exactly kept it a secret, but mom wasn’t exactly social media savvy, or so I thought.

I always wound up feeling violated.

She had been reading quietly for some time, and while we we never ended up discussing it through more than an uncomfortable email exchange, it appeared that she may have hit the follow button as a way to finally let me know what she was seeing. Now, I never once said anything negative about her in the blog, but my overall vision of some of the past events would likely be difficult for her to face. None of it was something I was ever comfortable sharing with mom, and discovering that she had been lurking about made me feel like she had completely invaded my privacy. This seems ridiculous to say, even now, as a blog is far from private. But it goes deeper than that. Growing up, mom was always sneaking around reading my journals, digging through my school bag, papers, and notes. I was a good kid and never really in any trouble, hell, I was afraid of everything – so what was I going to do? In my mind, I never gave her a reason to dig, so whenever I found out what she was doing, I always wound up feeling violated. As an adult, I can now appreciate why parents might do some of this with their children, but in my circumstance, nothing I had growing up was ever sacred or private. I don’t think I ever felt complete trust in either of my parents.

My expression angered him to the point of destroying everything that I had written and leaving it on display for me to find.

This pattern only continued into my first marriage when my ex-husband would read my journals behind my back, and dig through my handbags or even the trash for receipts to see what I had spent or where I had been.  I recall one particularly hurtful incident when I came home to find my beloved journal torn into pieces on the bedroom floor. For some unknown reason (I never wrote about him, because I knew better at this point), my expression of feelings angered him to the point of destroying everything that I had written and leaving it on display for me to find. The worst part is that he seemed proud of what he had done. Jerk. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that when I found out mom was doing some covert reading of my blog, all of the old feelings of violation came rushing back. My immediate reaction was to shut it all down. So, I deleted everything in mere moments and never even stopped to consider the importance of a backup. Not only did I shut the blog down that day, in doing so I shut myself down, too.

It’s time to be authentic…

With my new adventure into therapy, comes the desire to write about some of my history once again and this little corner of the web feels like a good spot for it. While I’m unhappy with myself for destroying everything that I previously wrote, I’m also in a different place today, and I’m ready to write about past events regardless of who might stumble upon them. While I’ve taken some measures to be more discreet this time, in the event that someone I know should ever find it, I will never remove my work again. It’s time to be authentic and to own my history and my feelings about it. These events shaped me, they’ve influenced my struggles, my passions, my dreams, and have made me who I am today. If others can’t handle that, it’s on them.

Two additional items that might be on your mind: 1) Yes, my current husband knows all about my writing and he is nothing but supportive. I never feel bothered if he reads what I write, as I am an open book with him. 2) Yes, I’m backing up elsewhere these days. Lesson learned.

 

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