Periodically my dad sends me photos from when I was a little kid. It's always hard for me to receive these things since my childhood was traumatic, but it's also kind of nice because it makes me feel loved.
A few weeks ago my dad sent me a bunch of photos of a book I "wrote" and illustrated at school in first grade. I think it was in Fall, so I'd just turned 6.
It's the type of book where the teacher gave us typed prompts to fill in and illustrate (ex: "there are _____ people in my family" with a drawing of my family, "My favorite thing to do is ______" with a drawing of the activity I wrote in, etc.). All of my answers are very typical and childish. I write about my pets, that I like going on swings, stuff like that. A lot of my answers are misspelled and I have some letters backwards because I was still learning.
It's making me feel sick because it's forcing me to be aware of how fucked up everything I went through was. The idea that I got raped, that I had nobody safe to go to so I had to cope all by myself, that I got in so much trouble and got yelled at so much when I was vigilantly trying my hardest to make my mom happy, that I never knew when I was going to get abused, that I felt like a genuinely bad unlovable person at that age, that my grandfather had been using me for sex for years at that point, but I was also so young that I didn't know how to write a full sentence and my favorite hobby was playing on swings... it's too much. I don't get it. The universe doesn't make sense to me.
I remember my mom got upset about how I drew her picture in the book. I made her look scary. I don't think that was my intent (she has a smiley face which = "good"). But I think I was subconsciously drawing what I felt about her to a certain extent. She's way bigger than my dad, her eyes are angry, and her hands are giant. That seems on brand with how she treated me— she alternated between being scary and kind. She was my "main parent". She read me books, talked to me, and I really loved her. But she was also scary, unpredictable, and overbearing. And idk, that's a lot to grow up with even without the sexual abuse that was happening at the same time.
There's one page with the prompt "Sometimes I get scared when" and my answer was "my mom turns off the light." And that one makes me feel especially sad and weird. From the pieces I remember I've gotten the impression that my grandfather was sometimes touching me at night but it doesn't make total sense to me for logistical reasons.
And it's like... was it normal little kid "afraid of the dark" stuff? Was I scared because I was anticipating getting raped? Was I just having anxiety at night because of everything that was happening to me and around me? I don't know if I'll ever know.
Either way it's sad though because this was when my lifelong (at least so far) insomnia started And it's like... god, I've been dealing with this for a WHILE and I guess it actually did probably affect me a lot growing up. I wonder what 23 years of inconsistent sleep has done to my brain.
I feel a sense of loss that seems too big to fully take in.
Edited by moop