Stood in my own light

The problems in my mind began when I was much, much younger.
Too young.

You’ve only heard part of a side of a story so far: my memories and perceptions of my experiences. I’ve been as honest as I can and I’ve always admitted it when I haven’t been sure of something. However, there’s always another side to every story, and I’m aware the sides might not match.

Case in point: I have a vague memory of being in a greengrocer’s with my mum when I was very little. I know I personally don’t remember the conversation, but my mum once told me – and I remember her telling other people – that the greengrocer had asked where I had been and I told him I’d had ‘germs and easels’, because I couldn’t say German measles. I mentioned this to my mum one day and she said no, I’d had measles. She was quite adamant. But now the anecdote doesn’t make sense.

Who is more likely to be wrong?

I was described by my mother as being ‘highly strung’. I think this is a Britishism for ‘anxious as fuck’. You see, I’ve been looking back and thinking ‘well, no wonder I’m a wreck – look at what’s happened,’ but I’m thinking back to the very little I remember of my early childhood and maybe I was always like that. Maybe that’s just who I am.


I remember having panic attacks at school. Horribly public ones. They usually peaked in assembly, in front of the entire fucking school, although I think I generally began crying every morning before the teacher had even called the register. I was 7, I think. The reason I was crying is because I thought I wasn’t going to see my mum again. I’d beg the teachers to call her and make her come back to me, they would refuse, and I would bawl my heart out in front of two hundred children.

Did something cause that? I was fine at school until that point, and I remember the rest of my time there to be perfectly normal as well. Just a relatively brief period – weeks, maybe a month or two – where I literally couldn’t cope without my mum.

She used to say horrible things to me, about me being an accident; a mistake. Can you imagine growing up as ‘a mistake’? You’re faulty from the start. You’re not supposed to even exist. You’re a burden on the world and its inhabitants and you’re always wrong, no matter what. What’s the point in doing anything?

I grew conflicted with these thoughts. Perhaps I am a mistake – to her. But perhaps I’m a mistake that was supposed to happen. I grew up a little and learned about genetics and heredity and couldn’t figure out where I fitted in. I’m not adopted – I look too much like both my dad and my mum (except I have normal sized, albeit wonky, teeth) – so how could they create me? It made about as much sense as astrology – maybe I was just born at the right time, in the right place, under the right constellations…

Neither of my parents are particularly bright – you only need to look at how racist my dad is for proof there, and my mum has said some beautifully idiotic things. When I was aged 6 or so, I asked her why AMBULANCE was written backwards on the front of ambulances and she told me it was so that dyslexic people could read it. When I was at her house just before my grandad died, I was trying to work out if Boxing Day was a public holiday in America and she told me that Americans didn’t celebrate Christmas because they had Thanksgiving instead.

She didn’t really know how to handle me. She didn’t know how to answer the millions of questions I had about everything. She didn’t know how to look after me when I was upset – it was just written off as me being ‘highly strung’ and I was left to sob by myself. I think I should have been taken to see a doctor, but that wasn’t something that was even considered in my family: you don’t waste a doctor’s time – you go when you’re sick and that’s all. Mental illness didn’t count. It wasn’t believed in. I just had a nervous temperament, a weak constitution, a jumpy character. It was just written off as part of who I was, and gradually it became that way.

A self-fulfilling prophecy caused by constant reinforcement of the fact that I am, ultimately, a fucking typo.

28 thoughts on “Stood in my own light

  1. Ya know, I believe everyone is here for a reason, whether or not their parents can recognize it or not.
    There is a reason for the anxiety. It may not lie with you. It may even be generational. There is always a reason and that can always be found out. 🙂

    1. I think so too. I don’t really believe in ‘mistakes’ anymore, anyway!
      Yeah, I’m sure there’s a reason. I mentioned in a couple of earlier posts a few things about an abusive boyfriend my mum had when I was a bit younger than this, and also how my memory has weird gaps – so there could be any number of reasons for it. I’m working through it!

      1. The weird gaps are often caused by trauma the brain sections off and blocks out. It is kind of a protective device, but we often find ourselves going back there for healing and changing the energy of these incidents from negative to positive.

        1. Yes! That’s exactly it. I don’t really know how to get back the memories I’ve lost, but by writing this all down I’m finally able to take control and express my feelings properly. I’ve bottled them up for so long that it’s beyond unhealthy.

          1. Definitely. And I don’t think I was ready to try before – it’s so difficult to make sense of current events when your head isn’t in the right place, let alone try to work through the past. Thank you so much for your advice 🙂

  2. My middle daughter used to cry every day at school when she was little – her older sister finally told me. She had a condition related to my pregnancy – I had toxemia – and the toxins got in her brain and affected her in a way that made her over anxious, afraid of risks, and also caused rigidity in her muscles, which affected her sleeping patterns. She is a full functioning mother of two now, but did go through her own struggles, and therapy. I guess what I am saying is that sometimes we are the way we are at no fault of our own – we have to trust the life we’ve been given and make the best of it.
    You are a gifted writer, and I am sure have much to offer others just because of your unique perspective/experience. keep writing!

    1. Oh, it’s so sad that she – and you – had to go through that. I’m glad she’s doing well now. And I agree – I just wish that I’d tried to make the best of it sooner, instead of putting myself through a lot of grief!
      Thank you, that means a lot to me. I really hope the things I write may help someone in some way, so I’ll definitely keep going 🙂

    1. The present is the only place we really exist… I’m very tangled up in my past, but I’m writing all this down so I can move on and finally ‘be here now’.

    1. Thank you – I’m trying to believe that! And I’m inflicting myself upon the world anyway, I figure I shouldn’t wait until I think I’m wonderful because we could be waiting forever!

  3. My heart goes out to that little girl who was stuck struggling alone. I think she’s still in there. Sadly we can’t go back in time and get what we needed when we needed it. To expect that of our parents (and others) is like waiting for the impossible and we will always be stuck. (I didn’t learn that simple truth until I was in my fifties). So when you are ready, let it go. You can’t go back in time, but you do have the power to love that little girl inside now and everyday going forward, to take care of her and make good choices for her, to understand her and nuture her and keep her safe. My best to you. Hugs. <3

    1. You know what…? Me too. I know she’s in there, and she’s still very unhappy – with the world, and probably with me as well. But I’m trying to make things better so I can finally heal her and actually work out where she belongs within my identity. Thank you so much for your kind words, and for your total understanding. All the best to you too 🙂 x

  4. It’s not you – its her! I too had a cold mother – there was no love between us – she tried to sell me to a childless couple when I was a baby – but fortunately I had a father who loved me. I grew up feeling like an outsider and different which brought depression and many dangers. But I ploughed myself into my career and travelled – it made me grow strong and I eventually learned to love myself. When my mother died I felt liberated and happy and never missed her. I have forgiven her now – she made me who I am. I never wanted kids because I thought I would be like her and married an older man who already had kids so there would be no pressure. Then we had a daughter and she is the greatest gift I could ever have hoped for. She is now 20 and we have been a happy family since the day she was born and all the pain I went through in my life has been worth it.
    I have some understanding of the pain you are going through and hope that some day everything will turn out right for you too. You are obviously a good writer – put your love into the things you are good at and do all the things you feel passionately about – it won’t be wasted – it will make you look back and be proud.
    Take care and learn to love yourself.

    1. Bloody hell… I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad one of your parents was good to you, although it’s still not easy, is it? I am so very glad to hear that everything worked out for you, and it does give me hope that one day I’ll be more at peace with myself. I’m a long way away from loving myself, but I’m at a point where I find it so sad that I’ve hated myself for so long.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I’ve written and post such a thoughtful and personal response. I truly appreciate your kindness.

        1. Oh, you definitely have. Thank you so much 🙂 Fortunately I’m not in contact with her anymore – it’s actually been a very long time now, nearly ten years – but I’ve never really dealt with what happened with her. The posts on here titled Ancestry explain the whole back story (there’s three parts, and I would link them but I’m on my phone and I don’t know how to do it – sorry!) and it’s all pretty tragic, unfortunately.

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