Overcoming Childhood Hurts

In July last year, I posted about Miss O being ostracised by 3 mean girls in her class.  The situation was eventually resolved, but unfortunately this year she is in a new class and she is still quite lonely at school.  She doesn’t have any close relationships with any of the girls in her class, and apparently spends most of the lunch hour on her own.  She  is creative by nature, so she used to spend it sitting outside the classroom drawing. But her school just opened a new building and so her classroom has moved to the new building on the second floor. Because the room is on the second floor, kids are not allowed to be on the second floor at lunchtime. So now she aimlessly wanders around the playground on her own.  She would go to the library if she could, but the school has a policy of each year level being allocated one day per week to visit the library. If it is not your *day* you can’t visit the library at lunch time.  (Probably the most ridiculous policy I have ever heard of). 

She wants to change schools.  In fact, I believe that she doesn’t want to go to school so badly that she has started feeling anxiety to the point of giving her tummy pain. Last week we spent all week seeing doctors – getting her an x-ray and ultrasound on her abdomen and eventually we spent hours in emergency so that we could rule out physiological problems. After much deliberation it was decided that part of her bowel was compacted and causing the pain. So I was instructed to ensure she stays hydrated, monitor her diet – make sure she gets plenty of fibre –  and if the pain was to continue, I was to administer some laxatives.  The doctors conceded that this entire problem could have been caused by emotional stress.

We are working on this – I have emailed the school principal with my concerns and have asked if we could meet, and perhaps get the guidance counsellor involved.  I will follow this up next week. I am really aware that the grass is often greener on the other side – and with only a year and a half to go until she starts high school, I really want to be able to work through these issues where she is, instead of changing schools.  That being said, if we don’t have a successful outcome soon, I may just be forced to change schools.

It can be hard to overcome childhood hurts.

Yes, hurts can make you stronger, they can drive you to become successful. But left unchecked, childhood hurts can still affect your self esteem in adult life; affect what you believe about yourself and the way you relate with others.

In my post last year,  I spoke about how  I was tossed ‘out’ of my group of friends when I was in year 8 and how much that hurt.

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The most awesome school uniform ever! NOT!

Excerpt from my post: 3 Little Bitches

Once I got to high school, things changed a lot. I was still ‘ugly’ and skinny, flat chested, with short brown hair and thick eyebrows. But I was thrown into a new group of people and for the first time ever, I had a group of friends. I wasn’t in the popular group by a long shot, but I had a group of friends and it felt great. I felt like I belonged.

Then about half way through grade 8, one day, I was ‘out’. I tried to join in with my friends and I was told I was out of the group. Just like that. With no warning. Needless to say I was devastated. I went home that night and cried about it.

Ironically only a few weeks before, one of the main girls in the group had invited me to a youth group event at the local uniting church. Now she was kicking me out of the group. I told mum about it and she told me to tell her that for someone who was meant to be a Christian, she wouldn’t even make a Christian’s bootlace. The next day, I confronted her in anger, and yelled at her, including my mums insult (even though I didn’t really understand what that meant until much later).

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Those hypercolour shirts were sooo stylish. heheh.

It didn’t kill me. But it hurt. And the whole situation is something I have thought about in my life from time to time…. and when I do… the hurt is still there.

So… last year I started going to a church congregation.

And who happened to be at the church… but the girl who had kicked me out of the group all those years ago.

My first thought was “Ugh! Not her! No way am I going to come to this congregation if she is here.”  I was still holding onto that childhood hurt.  It was more than 20 years ago, but it still hurt. But then I thought to myself. “Too bad. This  is the church I want to go to. I am not going to stop going here just because she is here”.  Still not over the hurt, but determined to not let it stop me doing what I wanted to do.

Even worse, she was now friendly towards me. I hoped that she might just ignore me, pretend she didn’t really know me. But that was not to be. So I was friendly in return, as much as was necessary, falling back on my habit of keeping people at arms length.

Experiencing depression and anxiety recently, I stopped attending church for the first half of this year. Not because I didn’t want to go, but because I was just too exhausted by the end of my working week to care.  But I didn’t like the way my life was feeling, the way my mind was spiralling, so a few weeks ago, I decided that I would commit to ensuring that I go to church each week.

So its been a few weeks and for the first two Sundays I smiled through my conversations with her, inwardly wishing that the conversation could come to an end.  I knew that i could not keep on harbouring these feelings of unforgiveness, but at the same time I was kind of afraid to let them go.

Then today after the service, just before we were about to leave, she said that she had something to talk to me about.

And she told me that a while ago, God had shown her that she needed to apologise to me for her behaviour towards me back then. And she said that she was sorry and asked for my forgiveness. We talked and we hugged and I accepted her apology.

Did I feel light and free straight away?

Did a burden magically lift off my shoulders?

No.

I drove home with feelings of ambivalence and sadness.

But I know that I need to overcome this childhood hurt and let it go, because holding onto it now is only going to hold me back.

In the Lords prayer, God instructs us to forgive others.

“…Forgive us our trespasses… As we forgive those who trespass against us…” 

Truth be told. I am wary. I am afraid of letting her in and being hurt again.

But I have been given a chance that not many others have. A chance to heal from my childhood hurt. A chance to move forward. Perhaps in time, a chance to regain a friendship that I once considered special.

I have a chance to let go of the baggage.

Forgiveness is a choice. I can choose to forgive, or I can choose to hold on to the hurt.

Yes, it is scary.

But I am strong.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/FeelingsWisdomAndLove

I can choose to forgive.

I will choose to forgive.

I choose to forgive.

As God has forgiven me.

Rose Coloured Glasses

On Monday we decided to shrug off the housework, get out of the house and go for a drive. We visited the Mount Hypipamee National park and on the first leg of the journey we had a great time breathing in the beauty of dinner falls.

But the main reason for choosing the Mount Hypipamee National Park was becuase I wanted to take the kids to see the the Mount Hypipamee Crater.

The crater was formed as a result of a volcanic gas explosion and until recently, it was believed that it had an underwater tunnel connecting it to other waterways.

I had visited the crater when I was a kid, so for me the crater was an amazing, mystical place, and I wanted my children to experience that same sense of wonder.

[I even had dreams about the crater when I was a child. The most recurrent one was where Aliens were attacking the earth, and many of us (humans) descended into the crater going under the green sludge (in real life the green is just a layer of duckweed but in my dream it was green sludge) to emerge into a new, safe land, where we formed a resistance. Other times, the crater was just a part of the topographical landscape in dreams – particularly ones about volcanoes and lava, usually trying to escaping from the flowing lava and fireballs.]

So after we explored dinner falls, we climbed the relatively short but steep rainforest track to the Crater.

(So you don’t think I am totally unfit or anything I’ll just leave out the part where I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top. Future Post Alert – Did I mention that I am overweight and just recently discovered I have to lose 20 kilos? I have a plan to do something about this, I just have to work out what that plan is.)

Seeing the crater again after all those years was strange. I had seen the crater so many times in my mind’s eye, from the perspective of a young child. Now that I was here again, I had to take off my rose coloured glasses, and see it again for real.

Thank you to the kind lady who offered to take this picture for us. It feels nice to have a family pic.

The crater still was still beautiful. Looking at the sheer rock walls, the rainforest and into the deep abyss (from the safety of the viewing platform) was still a breathtaking experience.

But it wasn’t the way that I remembered it.

It wasn’t exactly the way my mind’s eye had made it out to be.

Of course, the crater has not changed. I have. I am taller. I am older. When I look at things now, I see them from a new perspective.

This got me thinking about the different perspectives we have about things in our past.

Movies that we watched. People that we knew. The things that happened to us.

The movies that were super scary or super awesome when we were kids, are not necessarily that crash hot when we revisit them as adults.

[Take Jaws for example. Worst. Movie. Ever. But back then it was really scary! Another great example of this – Electric Dreams – where the guy’s computer comes to life and tries to ruin his relationship and control his life – I watched that again recently and had a red mark from all of the head slaps I gave myself for putting myself through watching it again.]

The people that we knew back then that were super cool or the meanest horrible bullies are *usually* very different people when we meet them again later in life.

The things that happened to us, the things that we did as kids, both good and bad, are all things that we remember from a child’s perspective.

In a world where each day contained the possibility of a new adventure; when the dark contained monster; when each school day (particularly sitting there in maths) felt like it was never going to end.

Sometimes the way we remember things that happened to us or things that we did as a kid can also be totally different from the people that we experienced them with, depending on our age, our likes and dislikes, and many other factors. For example, the school bully will have a different collection of memories about their school lives than their victims do. Even siblings may remember shared experiences with completely different perspectives, and remember things that happened in a completely different way.

Sometimes its a little bit fun to keep those rose coloured glasses on.

I don’t want forget about how the crater was a magical mystical place for me as a child. I can still choose to remember it the way I did before.

I can choose to remember how good certain songs, cartoons, movies made me feel when I was growing up.

However, sometimes its healthy to let those childhood perspectives go, particularly if they are holding us back. If we experienced traumatic times in our childhood, it can be good to look at these things with adult eyes. Going back to process the things that happened to us with the wisdom and knowledge that comes with age, can help us to gain new perspectives, find new ways to cope and achieve a new level of understanding, so that we can begin to heal and move forward with our lives.

The final lesson that I took from my visit to the crater is about the way I parent my children right now and what they will think about me in 20, 30 or 40 years time.

Its my job to nurture them, guiding them to discover their path in life, hopefully shaping them in to beautiful, caring, loving individuals that go onto to lead fruitful, successful and happy lives.

This means that there will be times that they don’t agree with the decisions that I make for them. From their current childhood perspective, I may be mean, or dumb, or just not understand. It may literally feel like the end of the world if my 10 year old daughter can’t do something that I feel is inappropriate for her age.

I am not a saint and I am certainly not a perfect mum. I know they will frustrate me at times and I will make mistakes plenty of mistakes along the way. I work full time. In the hustle and bustle of life it can easy to be overwhelmed by schedules. I can’t always make it to the school assembly. I can’t always do things that stay at home Mums can do. Sometimes I feel guilty about that.

I can also do my best to listen, to love them, to talk to them about anything and everything, to make them feel important, and take an interest in their interests and in what they are doing, even if I can’t be there. I can do my best to make time to provide them with amazing experiences that they will remember for ever, experiences to let them know how much they are loved. These don’t have to be grand gestures. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Hopefully when my children are are older and wiser, looking back at their lives, without their rose coloured glasses, they will know three simple things.

I worked hard to make sure they had everything they need.

I did everything in my power to make them feel safe, protected and loved.

I love them very, very much, even more than life itself.