Something happened to me, as a child, that deeply affected me. Although I knew at the time what was happening was wrong, I was too scared and ashamed to talk to anybody about it, and it wasn’t until over a decade later that I found the courage to speak up, to speak out and to go to the police.
It took so much strength to report what happened to me. I had worked, subconsciously, to push it away, deep down, where it couldn’t hurt me, where I could try and forget it had happened, and reporting it brought it all back to the surface. It was such a difficult process for me, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, after all that bravery, the police were unable to help and the case was dropped.
I may not have found justice for what happened to me in my childhood, but I was determined not to let it break me. I self-referred myself for counselling and recently finished these sessions, over the phone thanks to Covid-19. Something I found interesting, but also unbelievably sad, from my discussions with my counsellor, was that, by pushing away the memories of what had happened to me, I seem to have also lost huge chunks of my childhood. I have always found that I struggle to remember certain aspects of my life between being a toddler and my teens, but I realised that I barely have any memories of that time in my life remaining.
The thing is, alongside the incidents, I know I did have a happy childhood, on the whole. My mum is always taking photos, and she has stacks of photo albums with my childhood years captured in detail. I have seen the holidays, days out and birthday parties but, when I try and actually recount them, I draw a blank. Sometimes I look at the photos and it feels like I’m looking at a stranger’s life, which is really scary. I hate it when people tag me in those challenges which ask you to name the first CD you owned as I can’t remember, no matter how hard I try.
It is something I haven’t admitted to anybody other than my counsellor and Ed before now, as I somehow feel abnormal for my inability to recall a large section of my life, but I have come to realise that it is nothing to be ashamed of. It feels awful to have such a limited memory of my childhood but, by blaming myself, I am once more letting him win and take something from me.
It is possible, my counsellor reassured me, that my memories may at some point return, but for now I am trying not to dwell on it and, instead, focus on creating new memories with my own children, that will last a lifetime.