This second essay is not about describing the horror we went through nor any pleasure to expose our personal laundry to the rest of the world. No, it is a hand to everyone it reaches that everything we are going through in our life’s experience makes us who we are today. We CAN heal we do not have to repeat family patterns.
As a young child I do recall that one of my sisters taught me to read and write. I didn’t want to learn but I did it for her. I was always painting in black, I never used colors. Life wasn’t a fairy tale. As a six sensory and a sensitive child it was even harder on my soul. The harsh environment was difficult, I was extremely shy. I felt all alone, almost like in a small box. We lived in a small town that wasn’t extremely welcoming. We were pretty much isolated from everyone. We only had a few friends, our social life was pretty much non-existent.
At home we grew up under strict rules, it felt like a prison at times. What I loved the most was the street I grew up on. It was a narrow street surrounded on one side by apple trees, the other side had a few houses with a lot of trees. It was an extremely quiet street. In spring time, we had violets and other flowers blooming along that road, it was just beautiful.
We learned at a very young age the struggles my parents had. Love wasn’t part of our lives. Throughout my parents lives they already had hardships of their own. My father had to flee his country, which was under siege, to safety. A lot of trauma occurs when a young child sees the horrors of war. I will learn many years later from my sister why he was in some way so obsessed about that era. My mother had to survive on her own as well, separated from her family, split from her brothers and sister. She had to live with a family that wasn’t especially friendly. Though my mother tried to give us love she never was able to bring out her nurturing side. When you do not know love, it is hard to give it to someone else.
From their life experiences we didn’t experienced what most people call a happy childhood. We lived modestly, some of our clothes were passed on from one sister to another. I was the youngest and tallest of the three, so just know that none of the clothes my mother was recycling fit me. She had to buy used clothes at the thrifty market. I did feel a bit ashamed of some of the clothes we were wearing.
She also knitted sweaters for us, she was pretty good at it. The bad thing about this was she bought the cheapest yarn, the colors were good, but the feel of the yarn was so bad. I would remember in the summer time when she was making us sweaters, we had to try them on, I used to be like a mummy not even moving an inch. The contact of the sweater was like sandpaper on my skin. It was torture for us every winter to wear those sweaters. To this day I will not wear anything that is not soft on my skin when it comes to a sweater. We told her years later how bad it was. She never realized that yarn was that bad.
We always felt tension at home. If we did mischief, and God knows we did our share in that arena, the punishment was worse than the crime. It was physical, they used to have a martinet. For anyone who has no idea what a martinet is, this is a small wipe with a leather strap used to punished children. You can find images of it on Google. We also had the joy of testing the leather belt and I had the privilege to have experienced the dog leach as well.
The most horrifying memory I had, happened when I was about 10 years old. It was summer time I was playing in our bedroom quietly when my mother showed up with a pan in her hand and proceeded to beat me with it. Then she walked away like nothing happened, to this day I have no idea what came upon her to have done that. It took me, if I recall correctly, about 10 minutes after she left to recovered from that attack. My sisters where outside at the time it all unfolded. She used so much strength I am lucky she didn’t break my ribs or crack my skull. Amazingly I didn’t have any bruises on me.
As I mentioned violence was part of growing up. We had to learn to cope with it and survive. Most of all I didn’t wanted to be part of that world of violence. I knew I would break that pattern somehow, I was already driven by my happy ending.